The Department of Viticulture and Oenology at Stellenbosch University is deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Prof Piet Goussard, one of the stalwarts of the South African wine industry. Prof Goussard passed away on Monday morning (15 July 2019) at his home in Stellenbosch. He devoted his professional career to teaching viticulture and sharing his passion for ampelography, the identification and classification of grapevines. Despite retiring in 2010, he remained involved until 2018 with the department that he chaired for 14 years.
Born in Prieska, Prof Goussard grew up in Agter Paarl and matriculated from Paarl Boys' High School in 1963. He studied at Stellenbosch University. He started his career as a lecturer in viticulture in 1971 before obtaining his doctorate in 1984. During the course of his academic career, he published over 100 scientific and popular articles and received several awards, including the South African Society of Enology and Viticulture merit medal in 2001 and the prestigious 1659 Medal of Honour at Groot Constantia in 2019.
A significant part of his research aimed at ensuring that the local grapevine nurseries produce virus-free plant material through in vitro culturing methods which had a very positive impact on the South African wine industry.
Prof Goussard was known as a modest person with a genuine passion for photography. Indeed, he established a collection of photographs depicting both abiotic and biotic stressors of grapevines in South African vineyards. He also used this collection to illustrate his books. These books describe the grape cultivars planted in South Africa, the growth cycle of a grapevine and grapevine abnormalities, diseases and pests. Examples of his beautiful photographs have been framed and are displayed on the walls of Stellenbosch University's Paul van der Byl building.
Prof Goussard leaves behind his wife, Laetitia, three children and one grandson. The Department of Viticulture and Oenology extends their sincere condolences to his family and friends.