Vineyards for producing wine consist of approximately 95 000 ha, while those used to produce export table grapes as well as dried grapes make up a further 20 000 ha, approximately. These industries provide work for almost 500 000 people. The success of these industries is based on the successful cultivation of vines, ensuring the best possible yields of quality grapes to give South Africa a competitive edge in international markets.
Successful cultivation of grapes is a direct result of how well the behaviour and reaction of the vine is understood. In this regard, the diversity of the natural environments in which viticulture is practiced plays a determining role. Viticulture is a living and changing science, designed to meet existing and future challenges to ensure the long term viability of total grape production in the South African agricultural industry.
Students will meet the huge natural diversity in which viticulture is practiced. They will study the basic morphology and physiological functioning of the different vine organs and of the plant as a whole, and learn how to use this knowledge in applying different cultural practices successfully. These include site selection, soil amelioration, planting and vine spacing, trellising systems, vine training, pruning and canopy management.
MSA Competency based short learning programme
Any person managing and/or working with the vine in all sectors of the grape industry will benefit. The programme will improve their knowledge and sharpen their skills, thereby increasing their chances for further advances in their careers.
Prof Eben Archer holds a PhD (Agriculture) in Viticulture and has 48 years of experience in research (ARC Viticulture and Oenology Research Institute, Nietvoorbij, teaching Department of Viticulture, Stellenbosch University) and production viticulturist (Lusan Premium Wines). After widely consulting internationally, he currently consults in viticulture nationally.