Cape Town, South Africa – Dr Erna Blancquaert, lecturer in Grapevine and Wine Sciences at Stellenbosch University, was awarded the prestigious Viti- and Viniculture award at the annual Wine Harvest Commemorative Event. The event was hosted at Groot Constantia, South Africa’s oldest wine-producing farm, located in Cape Town.
The Wine Harvest Commemorative Event is a well-established custom in the South African wine industry that encourages all participants to strive for new heights of excellence. This year the event was held to honour the beginning of South Africa’s wine industry 364 years ago, and to pay tribute to four people who have paved the way for future generations.
Dr Blancquaert’s ground-breaking research in the field of viticulture has earned her this well-deserved recognition. Her dedication to the science of wine production and her contributions to the industry have been instrumental in advancing the field.
She made significant contributions to the winemaking industry through the development of novel concepts, technologies, and methodologies as well as the implementation and dissemination of those concepts, methodologies, and practises.
As a trailblazer in her field, Dr Blancquaert has achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first woman of colour to earn a PhD in Viticulture and Oenology. She has paved the way for future generations of women and people of colour in the industry.
“I am deeply honoured to receive this award and grateful for the support of my colleagues and mentors,” said Dr Blancquaert. “My passion for viticulture is rooted in a deep appreciation for the beauty and complexity of grapevines and the role they play in producing one of the world’s most beloved beverages.”
Dr Blancquaert also supervises Master’s and PhD students in Viticulture and Oenology, Sustainable Agriculture, and Wine Biotechnology. She enjoys transferring ideas to students and altering mindsets from all walks of life and is devoted to addressing persistent bias in the wine industry and in academia in a positive way.
According to the South African Wine Harvest the recipient of the Viti- and Viniculture award is someone who has developed new ideas, technologies, and methods within the wine-making industry, and also implemented and transferred these ideas and methodologies, changing mindsets and benefiting the South African wine industry as a whole.
The Viti- and Viniculture award recognises excellence in the study of grapevines and wine production. It is a testament to Dr Blancquaert’s hard work and dedication to advancing the field.