South Australian vineyard hand recognised as young leader in agriculture

The Department of Primary Industries & Regions SA, Dr Hannah Brown, Acting Executive Director SARDI, congratulating 2023 Rural Youth Bursary winner Lourens Coetzee (Angaston). Image courtesy the Agricultural Bureau of South Australia 

Lourens Coetzee, a vineyard hand at Kaesler Wines in the Barossa Valley, has been awarded the $5,000 2023 Rural Youth Bursary at an awards dinner last week.

The Agricultural Bureau of South Australia (Ag Bureau) celebrated the achievements of young leaders in agriculture at the 2023 Spirit of Excellence in Agriculture Awards Dinner on Friday 22 September, bringing together over 110 dignitaries, guests, and Ag Bureau branch members.

Coetzee has always had an interest in agriculture and after graduating from Urrbrae High School he secured employment at Kaesler Wines. His role has allowed him to immerse himself in sustainable farming practices under the guidance of viticulturist/general manager Nigel van der Zander, an advocate for sustainable viticulture.

He is currently studying a Bachelor of Viticulture with Charles Sturt University (CSU) online and plans to utilise the bursary to cover university fees and travel expenses to the CSU Wagga Wagga campus, where he aims to expand his knowledge. The Rural Youth Bursary is a grant for young people (aged 18-30) working in a rural community to undertake further study in their chosen career, and is sponsored by Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA).

After completing his degree, Coetzee plans to travel to Chateau Maris in France, a winery that embraces sustainable viticulture. With his future in the Barossa region, he plans to demonstrate and share his knowledge with other wine grape professionals and hopes to see an uptake in sustainable practices and businesses in the region.

“Before I started implementing sustainable practices myself, I didn’t know that there was anything wrong with some traditional farming practices,” said Coetzee. “I have realised that there needs to be major changes in the way that we farm today.”

“I want to become an industry leader by showing the importance and benefits of farming sustainably; preservation is key, I believe.”

Janette Ridgway, chair of the Ag Bureau, said, “Lourens journey into viticulture has inspired him to learn more about how to modify management practices to be more sustainable for the long term.”

“Lourens’ passion is exactly what we need in South Australian agriculture. Focussing on a drive to sustainability and commitment to learning, he will undoubtedly make a lasting impact on the industry.”

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