Waitrose Foundation At Work

Leadership potential and support for career advancement evident at Cederberg Wines

July 2023

Introducing Jerome van Rooi, Junior Assistant Winemaker at our grower partner Cederberg Wines. Early in June we shared a few photos of Cederberg Wines's worker committee training that was facilitated by Hilda Links, our Waitrose Foundation Manager: Education and Training Support. During the two training days, Hilda also connected with Jerome van Rooi who was elected as the committee chairperson. The committee was democratically elected by the worker community and now moving forward with enthusiasm for the task at hand and looking after the interests of their coworkers.

Since that visit we also found out more about Jerome that we felt has a truly inspiring story of personal growth and development. He is currently working as Junior Assistant Winemaker at Cederberg, living on the farm for the past four years, and he grew up in nearby Algeria. Jerome's passion was nature conservation and he also studied in Wellington initially. But then in 2015 his father met Cederberg's David Nieuwoudt, fifth generation winemaker, and Jerome got the opportunity to work in the cellar. He gradually developed his skills, learning the craft of winemaking and developing a passion for it as part of the Cederberg team.

Then came fantastic news for Jerome in 2022. He was nominated and won the Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year Award (Red Wines category) for the 2020 Cederberg Five Generations Cabernet Sauvignon. In his own words: "A nomination I never thought about. Seven years ago I didn't know about the wine industry, but thanks to Cederberg Wines, they introduced me to winemaking. It is a privilege to be part of this amazing wine farm. Today I stand proudly as the young winemaker of the year nominated by DINERS CLUB SA."

We wish Jerome well with the coming season, his responsibility as member and chairperson of the worker committee, and all the best for his travels to Portugal this month. He will be spending 6 weeks working a harvest in the Setubal peninsula wine region, located south of Lisbon. We look forward to checking in with Jerome again after a busy harvest season!

Watch this YouTube video featuring Jerome's work at Cederberg Wines.