improvement association

In 1954, the Department of Agriculture identified the physical and genetic status of plant material as the most important factors contributing to the increase of agricultural production in South Africa. In 1964, the South African Plant Improvement Association was established to pay particular attention to these aspects of plant material for the wine and deciduous fruit industries. The Department of Agriculture's quarantine facility in Stellenbosch initially identified and tested the deciduous fruit and wine grape varieties (many still used today) to identify virus-free clones and make it available to the industry.

The initial Vine Improvement Association (VIA) was founded in 1986. Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture decided in 1988 that they could no longer take responsibility for plant improvement management alone. Following this, the Plant Certification Scheme for Wine Grapes was promulgated under the Plant Improvement Act, 1976 (Act No. 53 of 1976) in 1990. The nurseries and producers became full-fledged members of the VIA in 1993.

Table - and drying grapes initially handled resorted with deciduous fruit within the Deciduous Fruit Plant Certification Scheme. However, in November 2017, the two Boards jointly decided to move the table- and drying grape varieties from the DPA to the VIA in order to manage all vines within the VIA framework.

The Scheme is not compulsory and participation by any organization importing, breeding or selecting new varieties, any nursery or any organization representing producers, is wholly voluntary. However, over 90% of all wine grapes are managed within the scheme, while approximately half of the table - and drying grape vines produced annually are certified.

To promote the interests of members through plant improvement and plant certification of vine propagation material in the interest of the South African Wine-, Table- and Drying Grape Industry.
To exercise the authority, the performance of functions and execution of duties as assigned under the Vine Improvement Scheme in terms of the Plant Improvement Act, 1976 (Act No. 53 of 1976) to the Executive Council as the authority conferred.
Mr Nico Spreeth Vititec (Chairman)
Mr Jannie Bosman Bosman Adama
Mr Fanie Botha Techno-grow
Mr Johan Wiese Voor-groenberg
Me Roleen Carsten SAPO Trust
Mnr Michiel Prins Stargrow
Mr Stuart Amos TopFruit
Mr Willie Laubscher SA Viticultural Nursery Association
Mr Theo Heydenrych SA Viticultural Nursery Association
Mr Niel Nel Vinpro
Mr Francois Viljoen Vinpro
Mr Jacques Ferreira SATGI
Mr Dappie Smit SA Dried Fruit
Mr Jan Booysen Consultant (Co-opted)
Ms Joan Sadie DAFF (Co-opted)
Mr Nolan Africander DAFF (Co-opted)
Ms Rachel Kriel Secretary
Mr Jan Booysen Consultant (Chairman)
Ms Sophia Malan SA Dried Fruit
Mr Dawie Moelich SATGI
Mr Hanno van Schalkwyk Vinpro
Ms Mariëtta Louw Bosman Adama
Mr Divan Venter SAPO Trust
Mr Michiel Prins Stargrow
Mr Fanie Botha Techno-grow
Mr Stephan Nel TopFruit
Mr Tobie Oosthuizen Vititec
Mr Andrew Teubes Voor-groenberg
Mr Theo Heydenrych SA Viticultural Nursery Association
Mr Theo Heydenrych (Jr) SA Viticultural Nursery Association
Mr Hennie Gerber BG Plant Inspection Consultants
Ms Isabel du Toit DAFF – Inspection Services
Ms Lolita Frazenburg DAFF - Diagnostic Services
Ms Phyllis Burger Agricultural Research Council
Ms Rachel Kriel Secretary


"Wine Grape Producers"

Francois Viljoen
021 276 0429


“South African Table Grape Industry”

Jacques Ferreira
021 863 0366


"Dried Fruit Technical Services"

Dappie Smit
021 870 2900


“Invested in potential”

Mariëtta Louw
021 864 1705


“Cultivating future growth”

Burgert W van Dyk
021 888 8463


"Developer of new varieties"

Michiel Prins
021 880 1882


"Plant Improvement Organisation"

Fanie Botha
083 230 3482


"International leaders in cultivar management"

Stuart Amos
021 874 1033


"Setting new standards for vine plant improvement"

Nico Spreeth
021 276 0469


"Growing quality vines successfully"

Johan Wiese
021 864 1018

South African Vine Growers Association

Members are registered nurseries under the SA Plant Certification Scheme for Grape Vines as promulgated in terms of the Plant Improvement Act (Act No. 53 of 1976). SAVGA represents members and make inputs to working groups, committees, boards of VIA and Plant SA as well as the Department of Agriculture on statutory control of certification of plant material and nursery vines.

Theo Heydenrych
083 231 7490