Situated in the heart of the Cape Winelands, Stellenbosch University has a long history of engagement with the sciences of the vine and the wine and is in close association with the South African grape and wine industry. Training in Viticulture and Oenology was already offered in the 1880s, at what was then called; the Stellenbosch Gymnasium. Formal teaching in the Department of Viticulture and Oenology (DVO) of the Faculty of Agriculture was initiated by Professor AI Perold (father of Pinotage). Over the years, this Department underwent several significant organisational changes, including the separation of Viticulture and Oenology into two departments. In 1995 these two departments amalgamated again and a new research institute the Institute for Wine Biotechnology (IWBT) was established. These initiatives led to the establishment of a new team of academics and researchers, and a new vision of integrated and multidisciplinary research that covers the full research value chain, from the generation of fundamental knowledge to the application of this knowledge. The DVO and IWBT have recently embarked on a renewal and optimisation plan that serve our current needs and opportunities better and were granted permission to launch a new research intensive, post-graduate research institute that will replace the IWBT and consolidate and coordinate the post-graduate training and research in the Integrated Grape and Wine Sciences at Stellenbosch university. The South African Grape and Wine Research Institute (SAGWRI) has therefore been established in the Faculty of AgriSciences (from 2020), alongside and in support of DVO and other departments that conduct grape and wine-related training and research. The DVO and SAGWRI are the only University-based environments in South Africa that offer under graduate and postgraduate courses in Viticulture and Oenology.
For more information on SAGWRI and its activities, please click here.
The department has at its disposal well-equipped facilities, including experimental and commercial vineyards, a small-scale teaching experimental cellar and an industry-scale research and training cellar.