Upskilling and hard work escalated cellar controller Marshall Arendorff’s career

Although working in the wine industry was not a first choice for Marshall Arendorff (38), cellar controller and wine blender at Drostdy Hof, one could say the industry found him!

Whilst studying towards a BCom Financial Management degree at Stellenbosch University, he decided during his first year to rather find a job and complete his studies later on. However, things didn’t really pan out as he first hoped.


“It wasn’t easy finding a job, especially not in my hometown of McGregor where opportunities are few and far between. At the time my grandmother knew someone that was working at a local winery where they offered me a temporary harvest assistant position. I went back the following year to help out during harvest and was appointed as a cellar assistant. For two years I worked closely with the winemaking team and became fascinated by wine production! I just knew that I had found my career.”

In true Drostdy Hof spirit and mirroring the brand’s latest campaign focussing on ‘blending-up’ – a salute to the unique blend that already exists within all of us and inspires us to be more – Marshall future-proofed his career in the wine industry by gaining invaluable experience in various positions and upskilling through a number of courses.

After McGregor, Marshall was appointed as a cellar assistant in Paarl for two years and it was during this time that he was selected to visit France as part of an agricultural harvest exchange programme.


“Working abroad makes you realise that you should give more respect to South African winemaking, as I believe people work incredibly hard in South Africa to produce top quality wines.   In France, I found that their culture is born and bred on quality and specification as well as old world winemaking style, with little flexibility to newer styles found in South Africa.”

“Our wine brands can easily benchmark against France’s wine regions, as we have in my opinion, better aromas and more robust flavours due to the diversity in vineyards and unique climate.” 

Back home, Marshall was appointed as a trainee winemaker and two years later became cellar supervisor for white wines before joining Distell. His career has taken off at Distell with his appointment as intake cellar controller and four years later to his current position of cellar controller in the blending department.

Marshall has not only grown through his work experience but also completed a number of short courses in wine, including NQF3 qualifications in Advanced Winemaking and Generic Management.

He enjoys sharing his experience and during harvest time, steps in as mentor to budding young winemaking students in need of guidance and a kind word or two of encouragement on the first steps of their own growth journey.

“I can’t thank my grandmother enough for the opportunity all those years ago. Becoming part of the wine industry has been such an enriching journey. I have gained confidence, met so many interesting people and carved a career for myself in an industry that in my early 20s was far from my horizon. I truly believe that the best investment one can make is continuous learning. Even if you change your career mid-way, learning is vital in being fulfilled on a day-to-day basis.”

With their exceptional quality blended wines, Drostdy Hof is committed in supporting those who wish to upskill and #BlendUp in realising their potential. Visit the @drostdyhofsa Facebook or Instagram page and you could win a share of R100 000 in e-learning vouchers towards a course of your choice.

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