PYDA – Mariska Witbooi’s Story

We are absolutely delighted to be working with the Pinotage Youth Development Academy. The academy develops the capacity of young, disadvantaged South Africans to prepare them for employment within the wine industry and related sectors.

PYDA - Picture 1My name is Mariska Witbooi . I was born in Paarl in the Western Cape. I passed my matric in 2012 and because I was very passionate about health care I wanted to be a social worker and then a paramedic. This didn’t work out and someone suggested civil engineering which I realised was not possible for me .

One day my friend came to me with the newspaper and she told me to apply to the advert at PYDA. I was excited but I didn’t know at all what the wine industry was all about. After I was chosen to be a student at Pinotage I was excited because I knew it was my time to shine.

We have learned all about hospitality and there my love for the tasting room started! I really like to present the wines to people and just be myself and build a relationship with the customers. My love for the tasting room got even bigger when I got placed at Kanonkop Wine Estate. I felt that this is what I want to do and I finally found my true self but it didn’t end there.

I worked at Rickety Bridge Wine Estate the whole December holiday and I now show how much I have improved in the tasting room. If there is one thing that I’m good at then it is being a host. My passion is all about people and I’m the most happy if I’m surrounded by people who are positive and give me something to take with me to plan my future ahead.

PYDA Picture 2

I also realised in the tasting room that people are very different from each other and I can learn every day. PYDA is the most awesome blessing I have ever received in my life because now I see my future in a positive way. I have found myself now and I’m positive about my future. I`ve learned that I’m a very strong person and that I’m very caring but also a very hard working. I’m a go getter and I love a good challenge and for me the tasting room and Marketing side are the career I want to follow.

I am driven to make a better life for my brothers and my family.  As a family we have experienced real hardship and have struggled but I have hope to be successful and bring change to my family.


Virgin Wines

Hey! Thanks for checking out the Virgin Wines blog. This is the nest for all you wine enthusiasts! We’ll be bringing you the latest news from Virgin HQ, as well as all the sights and sounds of the wine world.

Leave a Reply