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  • Writer's pictureRuth First Trust

The Business of Wine

Updated: Sep 30, 2021

Ivana Garvanski always knew what she wanted to do. Back in 2017, in her career counselling session, Professor Zac Nel identified a BSc in Viticulture and Oenology at Stellenbosch as the perfect match for her profile. A quiet and reserved student, Ivana’s response was that she planned to study a BSc in International Wine Business at Hochschule Geisenheim University in Germany.

Undeterred by the prospect of learning to speak German, living 10 000kms away from her parents and family, raising finance for her studies and the challenges of being a student in the time of the Covid pandemic, this is exactly what she is doing. Entering her third and final year of study with a class of fifteen students this October, Ivana is making her dream come true.

She is currently doing an internship with winePOND, a start-up online wine retailer based in Frankfurt, where her role includes managing their social media presence. Landing this role was not easy – she reflects with pride that her competitive advantage was her knowledge of wine, which enabled her to muscle out contenders from the nearby European Business School. Her passion is wine tourism and the role which wine can play in stimulating the economy, and her dream is to demystify wine and make it more accessible to a wider range of people. She has spent 26 weeks working in vineyards in Bulgaria and Germany, (the practical component of her degree) and she works at a local winery and helps out at wine tasting events to earn pocket money.

Ivana was recently recognised as a top international student at her university when she was awarded the DAAD prize for her involvement in her community. The commendations we wrote for her reflected her commitment to the Jeppe ethos of helping others as well as her involvement as a mentor and role model to all our Ruthies. This prize will go a long way towards sponsoring her final year of

under-graduate study.

And she is not yet done – plans of travel to Argentina (for the Malbec harvest) and to perhaps complete a Masters in Wine Tourism in Europe are also on her radar. She also looks forward to a trip home to South Africa to visit family and friends. We wish our first international Ruth First ambassador well as she follows her passion – and hope that one day, she might bring her knowledge back home.

Ivana is pictured above defoliating leaves in a Riesling vineyard in Rüdesheim, in the Rheingau Region.

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