Primary Production

Primary Production employees grow vines for the production of wine.

People that are working on a farm to grow and produce grapes to make wine specialise in viticulture. They are generally responsible for the following main functions to produce the grapes used to make wine:

  • Establishment of vineyards and soil preparation
  • Maintenance and development of the vineyards
  • Monitoring and managing pests and diseases
  • Harvesting of grapes
  • Maintaining the infrastructure and natural resources to sustain the vineyards.

The following are some of the aspects people need to understand and abilities required to work in this sub sector of the Wine Industry:

  • Understand what needs to be considered to establish and cultivate vineyards
  • Maintaining vineyards to ensure optimum performance of the vines.
  • Understanding what terroir is and the impact it has on production.
  • Identify and manage diseases and pests that could impact vineyards and production
  • Know how to manage natural resources such as soil and water.

The following pathway outlines the occupations available for people that want to pursue a career in producing the grapes that are used to make wine. The pathway for primary production are linked to designations that could be registered for as mentioned before. Click on the occupation to view the occupation details and related development opportunities:


Main responsibilities: Vineyard workers perform tasks related to vineyard establishment, maintenance and harvesting. Specific duties include spraying, pruning, trellis work, soil preparation and maintaining irrigation systems.

Experience Required: People working in the vineyard are usually trained by the Vineyard Supervisor on what they are required to do. No previous experience is thus required, but people with references and previous vineyard work experience are preferred by employers.

Qualifications and Training: Formal qualifications are not compulsory to be employed as Vineyard Worker. The following learning opportunities are available to Vineyard Workers:

Programmes and Short Courses Qualification Provider Contact Details Support Offered
Viticulture Farm Worker Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute Elsenburg - Website Learnership is being developed
Viticulture Farm Worker Private Training Service Provider SA Wine & Brandy - Website Learnership is being developed
Vineyard Practices for Vineyard Workers Vinpro VinePro - Register for online programme Course offered online as Modules, supported by trained onsite Foremen designated by Vinpro
Tractor Operator Global Learning Services Globaltraining - Plant, Machinery and other training providers

Designation: The Viticulture Worker Designation is intended to help vineyard workers to improve their employability. People with this designation have worked in vineyards for more than 3 years and have their foreman complete the online competence survey for Vineyard Workers. Vineyard workers need to register on the SAWIPB website and complete all the fields to gather information. The completed registration will also enable the generation and export of a Curriculum Vitae. People registered on the system could also consider giving SAWIPB permission to avail their information to employers looking to employ Vineyard Workers.

Support Offered: Vinpro is offering the online Vineyard Practices for Vineyard Workers to all employees free of charge, on condition that the Foreman the person works for has done the Vinpro Train-the-Trainer programme. (Link to this course)

Main responsibilities: Vineyard Foremen assist vineyard workers in specific tasks, making sure tasks/jobs are carried out correctly to the standards of the Vineyard Manager. Duties include supervise pruning, suckering, positioning, tucking, tying, hedging, tipping, leafing, fruit thinning, harvesting, soil preparation and managing harvesting process. Specialised functions such as irrigation management and pest and disease control could also be assigned to Vineyard Foremen.

Experience Required: Vineyard Foremen usually have worked in vineyard for more than five years. In addition to being knowable in vineyard maintenance they also have to have experience in maintaining interpersonal and healthy team member relations.

Qualifications and Training: Formal qualifications are not compulsory to be employed as Vineyard Foreman. The following learning opportunities are available to better equip Vineyard Foremen for their work and more importantly provide access to the Vineyard Manager qualification:

Programmes and Short Courses Qualification Provider Contact Details Support Offered
Viticulture Farm Worker Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute Elsenburg - Website Learnership is being developed
Occupational Certificate: Horticultural Farm Foreman Construction and Civil Partners CC Partners - Website Online learning being developed, which will also offer RPL options
Vineyard Practices for Vineyard Workers Vinpro VinePro - Register for online programme Course offered online as Modules, supported by trained onsite Foremen designated by Vinpro
Tractor Operator Global Learning Services Globaltraining - Plant, Machinery and other training providers

Designation The Viticulture Production Technician Designation is intended to help vineyard foremen/supervisors to improve their employability and keep them up to date with developments in vineyard maintenance. People with this designation have completed at least four seasonal cycles as foreman overseeing all aspects of vineyard maintenance. A Farm Manager of a producer that is affiliated with SAWIPB has to sign-off the experience the applicant claims to have and complete a survey that is based on the SAWIPB Competency framework. The framework addresses Safety, Ethics, Supervisory and Leadership related skills and knowledge that were defined by the industry as vital for Vineyard Foremen. Vineyard Foremen need to register on the SAWIPB website and complete all the tabs. The completed registration will also enable the generation and export of a Curriculum Vitae. People registered on the system could also consider giving SAWIPB permission to avail their information to employers looking to employ Vineyard Workers.

Support offered SAWIPB is will avail opportunities for Recognition for Prior Learning for the Occupational Certificate: Horticultural Farm Foreman qualification. The availability of such support will be communicated to registered SAWIPB members.

Main responsibilities: Vineyard Managers are responsible for all viticulture operations, which includes the quality production of grapes, overseeing the tasks assigned to staff and ensuring compliance with applicable guidelines for effective grape production. Vineyard managers estimate harvest equipment needed; provide accurate harvest estimates and work within assigned budgets. They need to train and develop people to ensure a productive team and a safe work environment.

Experience Required: Vineyard Managers usually have worked in an assistant managerial role for two to three years or as Vineyard Foreman for more than five years. The experience is usually in addition to a formal qualification. In addition to being knowledgeable in all aspects of vineyard management they also have to have experience in managing people and processes and maintaining interpersonal relations.

Qualifications and Training: A formal qualifications is usually a requirement for Vineyard Managers. The following learning opportunities are available, which are usually offered as work integrated learning programmes:

Registered Qualification Provider Contact Details
B Agric (Plant Production / Cellar Technology)
Higher Certificate: Plant Production (Viticulture)
Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute Elsenburg - Website
National Diploma: Agriculture (Viticulture and Oenology)
National Diploma: Agricultural Management
BTech Agriculture: (Crop Production)
Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) CPUT - Website
BSc Agric in Grapevine and Wine Sciences University of Stellenbosch University of Stellenbosch - Website
Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip): Wine Business Management University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business - Website

Designation The Viticulture Production Technician Designation is intended to help vineyard foremen/supervisors to improve their employability and keep them up to date with developments in vineyard maintenance. People with this designation have completed at least four seasonal cycles as foreman overseeing all aspects of vineyard maintenance. A Farm Manager of a producer that is affiliated with SAWIPB has to sign-off the experience the applicant claims to have and complete a survey that is based on the SAWIPB Competency framework. The framework addresses Safety, Ethics, Supervisory and Leadership related skills and knowledge that were defined by the industry as vital for Vineyard Foremen. Vineyard Foremen need to register on the SAWIPB website and complete all the tabs. The completed registration will also enable the generation and export of a Curriculum Vitae. People registered on the system could also consider giving SAWIPB permission to avail their information to employers looking to employ Vineyard Workers.

Support offered SAWIPB is will avail opportunities for Recognition for Prior Learning for the Occupational Certificate: Horticultural Farm Foreman qualification. The availability of such support will be communicated to registered SAWIPB members.

Main responsibilities: Vineyard Specialist advise producers on all aspects of vineyard establishment and management. Their services cover aspects such as preparation of the soil, planting, trellising, pruning, monitoring and controlling of pests and diseases, fertilising, irrigation and canopy management. They are also responsible for research and as such collect, organise and report viticulture data to support farming and marketing decisions. Vineyard Specialists are consulted to help diagnose and solve viticulture problems.

Experience Required: Vineyard Specialist usually have worked and conducted research in the viticulture industry for a number of years. They usually have experience in supervising and informing viticulture producers. Vineyard Specialists often broaden their expertise by gained experience in viticulture practices abroad.

Qualifications and Training: A post graduate qualification is usually a requirement for Vineyard Specialists. The following learning opportunities are available, which are usually offered as work integrated learning programmes:

Registered Qualification Provider Contact Details
M Tech Agriculture National Diploma: Agricultural Management Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) CPUT - Website
M ScAgric / PhD in Viticulture University of Stellenbosch University of Stellenbosch - Website
Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip): Wine Business Management University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business - Website

Designation The Viticulture Specialist Designation is intended to acknowledge Vineyard Specialists for their expertise. People with this designation usually have eight years’ consecutive experience in conducting viticulture research, viticulture consultation or management with a clear indication of the oversight or supervision that formed part of the candidate’s career path (mentor). People that want to be designated as Viticulture Specialist could apply to SAWIPB. Applications will be considered based on the contribution the applicant has made or is making to the advancement of the industry.

Support offered SAWIPB will notify members of bursaries that are offered for post graduate studies.