Year Qualified : 2021
In 2004, René joined South African Breweries (SAB) before moving to retailer Woolworths in 2007, where she specialises in product development. Her areas of expertise include wine and beverages, horticulture, and specialty cheese.
René studied Consumer Science at the University of Pretoria (TUKS); Culinary Arts at Hallman’s; Advanced Sensory Evaluation at the University of Stellenbosch. She is a member of the South African Sommeliers Association (SASA) and a Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy graduate.
René Groenewald’s 2021 research paper on environmental sustainability unpacks concerns, responses, and opportunities for South African producers to safeguard the wine industry’s long-term survival, particularly its resilience to climate change. Groenewald hones in on improving biodiversity and reducing pollution and carbon emissions. The research finds that while well-established practices like planting crop covers, building the organic carbon content of the soil, and integrated pest management are restoring biodiversity in the vineyard, there is phenomenal potential to better capture, analyse and share data and enable more efficient applications of water, energy, and agrochemicals across the value chain.
René better known as “Rengroen” is passionate about sustainability and making wine both relevant and accessible to all.
Environmental Sustainability in the South African Wine Industry