19 February 2018 Photo Danie Nel
Jeanri-Tine respected for her word on wine

Jeanri-Tine van Zyl may have the perfect career – an idyllic lifestyle that most of us only dream of. She is her own boss and is required to drink wine on the job! Jeanri-Tine is a respected wine writer. She obtained a BA Media Studies degree at Kovsies, before completing further qualifications in Stellenbosch and Cape Town. She is the owner/director of Feed That Bird Communication Consultants (Pty) Ltd. – a PR, communications and content marketing agency providing creative communication support to some of South Africa’s major wine brands and companies. 

My favourite career quote is by Charles Bukowski: “If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision … And, you'll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine.” 

“I didn’t realise it at the time,
but those three years at the
UFS were probably some of
my best, most formative years.”

The best career advice I got was probably from well-known wine critic Michael Fridjhon, who told me a story about an exceptionally talented ballerina who gave up ballet when she wasn’t cast as the lead in ‘Giselle’ It might not be what he intended, but I interpreted it as ‘if you can’t be the best in what you do, quit and try something else’.

I didn’t realise it at the time, but those three years at the UFS were probably some of my best, most formative years. I remember the sleepless weekends as IRAWA editor, marching into Ds Kiepie Jaftha’s office armed with demands for better security on campus, the endless wisdom and strength shared by Dr Elsabe Pepler, who was head of Communication at the Department at the time, and sitting on the grass with my friends before a test, knowing that no matter the outcome, we will all be okay…


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