Empowerment Projects

  • Bosman Family Vineyards in Wellington empowered their workers and families through the Adama Appollo Workers Trust, a landmark joint venture through which a 26% BEE transaction includes a shareholding in the land, winery and nursery (ie all facets of the business). A total of 500 hectares of land is part of the transaction, while beneficiaries also share in the profits of the multi-million rand vine nursery. Since restructuring the business they have increased turnover and profitability.
  • Bergendal Estate in the Piekenierskloof mountains near Citrudsal is a Fairtrade-accredited farm, which supplies all the grapes for the Maara label, a Fairtrade brand that is exclusive to Marks and Spencer. The estate also supplies grape to nearby Citrusdal Cellars for the Fairtrade-accredited Goue Vallei range. The Bergendal Workers Trust sees the farm workers owning a 50 percent share in Bergendal Rooibos, its rooibos marketing company Carmién Tea, as well as a 32 percent share in the Bergendal Packhouse and the farm Maanskloof with its 30 ha of vineyards.
  • In 2007, 140 ha of agricultural land was bought by Fynbos Vrugte en Wyn Boerdery, which is 60 percent owned by 116 farm workers and 40 percent by the Lategan family. The workers also own a 15 percent share in the Lategan’s Breedekloof wine estate, Bergsig. In 2008, Fynbos was the first BEE company to sign a 15-year biodiversity stewardship with Cape Nature, conserving 40 ha of land that is home to several species on the Red Data List.
  • The Blocuso Wine Development Initiative outside Keimoes in the Northern Cape is a joint venture between the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Department of Water and Enviromental Affairs, Oranjerivier Wine Cellars and the Blocuso Trust. The latter is a trust of more than 400 beneficiaries representing the communities of Bloemsmond, Curriescamp and Soverby between Keimoes and Upington.
  • Boland Vineyards International, which trades as Boland Kelder, and Boland Basadi Investments reached a groundbreaking BEE agreement in 2005 which led to the entry of high-powered businesswomen, including Dr Namane Magau and Dr Thandi Ndlovu, into the South African wine industry. In terms of the agreement, BBI acquired a 26% stake in a marketing, procurement and service company at present wholly-owned by Boland. Of the remaining shares, 10% were to be allocated to a workers' trust beneficially owned by Boland's cellar workers.
  • Established in 1996, Bouwland was one of the earliest and also one of the largest BEE initiatives. The driving forces behind it were Beyers Truter, owner of Beyerskloof, and Jan Hendriks, founder of the Stellenbosch Farm Workers Association. This Bottelary farm is now 74% owned by Deelnemings Trust – the 60 trustees are workers at Bouwland, Kanonkop or Beyerskloof, which are all located in the Stellenbosch area. The Beyerskloof team, who worked with them on their very first vintage under new ownership, assists them in all aspects, from viticulture to winemaking and marketing.
  • In 2008, Cederberg Private Cellar, with its long-standing social ethic and several established upliftment initiatives, including a primary school, was the first South African wine farm to become a member of the UK-based Waitrose Foundation, a forward-thinking partnership to improve the lives of the farm workers.
  • Citrusdal Wines’ Six Hats was launched in 2009 and is one of a small, but growing number of South African Fairtrade wine ranges in the market. The brand is built around a concept that seeks to highlight the various roles and responsibilities that are assumed by all parties involved in progressive and equitable wine farming. The six ‘hats’ are worn by both the farmer and the community, and the results of these positive collaborations are borne out in the successes that have been seen on the various growers’ farms to date. The Six Hats principles that were identified are partnership, change, potential, equity, dignity and sustainability and these various roles are represented on the labels by six elegantly illustrated hats.
  • Compagniesdrift is a highly successful bottling, storage, labelling and now wine-producing BEE company situated on the R310 just outside Stellenbosch. Opened in time for vintage 2011, they have since grown from having only four clients to handling 2.4 million bottles for 53 clients.
  • De Krans gave ownership of the houses on the farm to their permanent staff (both cellar and farm workers), who have been living in these homes for many years and, in some instances, for generations.
  • In 2005, Distell entered into a transaction with a BEE consortium, WIP Beverages, which acquired an effective 15 percent in SADW, the holding company for all Distell’s operations. The company is at the forefront of transformation via a multi-faceted programme which focuses on Papkuilsfontein and the organic Fairtrade Earthbound brand; Plaisir de Merle, which has established a trout-farming venture; Durbanville Hills, with its skills transfer initiative and workers’ trust; and Uylenkraal, a 75-ha farm, with a BEE venture involving workers on this farm as well as neighbouring farm, Lomond. Distell has also structured an empowerment initiative with several other industry players and the provincial governments of the Northern Cape and Free State, and implemented an owner/driver scheme in 1999 to make it possible for drivers to establish their own enterprises and undertake deliveries on Distell’s behalf.
  • Elethu (which means ‘It is ours’) is a successful 100% black-owned grape farming initiative that benefits Bonnievale Wines workers. In May 2018, the equal shareholding in the Elethu farm initiative comes to an end and 100% management will be transferred to the Bonnievale Workers Empowerment Trust. All the beneficiaries are Bonnievale Wines cellar or farm workers, including the farm manager.
  • The Enaleni project is a true South African story of upliftment. A 32-hectare wine farm just outside Stellenbosch, Enaleni has 23 beneficiaries and owners, all farm workers who together produce quality wine grapes. The farm was part of neighbouring Nagenoeg Estate until one of the owners, Schalk Visser, sold the piece of land to them as part of a BEE and WIETA accredited project. The farm supplies grapes to Stellenbosch Vineyards, along with several other wine cellars in the area.
  • Fairchild in the Breedekloof wine district, one of the largest Fairtrade-certified projects worldwide, is a joint venture between Origin Wine, Du Toitskloof Winery and its worker community of some 800 people. All 22 participating farms belonging to the Du Toitskloof member-producers were Fairtrade accredited in 2005.
  • Established in 1998, Fairvalley Wines is a joint venture between the Fairvalley Workers Association in Paarl, which holds 60% shares, and Piekenierskloof Wine Company in the West Coast region, which holds 40% shares, of the Fair Valley Wine Company (Pty) Ltd. Started out as an empowerment venture, the members of the association undertook the responsibility to uplift their future and that of their fellow farm workers through the production of this range of wines, the fruits of their labour.
  • The Freedom Road project, now completed, was structured to promote home ownership on a 14-ha farm in the Paarl area among wine farm worker households associated with Backsberg Estate for many years. Proceeds from the sale of Freedom Road wines, produced and bottled at Backsberg, were directed to this end. Workers are also taught financing, winemaking and marketing skills.
  • In 2005, Kango Co-op restructured its bottling and marketing plant into a company, Kango Wines, in order to implement a unique empowerment deal for employees and farm workers to the amount of R4.2 million. The transaction marked the first empowerment deal concluded in the Klein Karoo region.
  • Koopmanskloof was established in 1896 as a family-owned business. Since 2007, workers have had a shareholding stake in the company. The biggest and most diverse producer of Fairtrade-certified wines of Stellenbosch origin, Koopmanskloof’s production infrastructure includes 500 hectares of vineyards and a 4 000-ton cellar, producing 2.5 million litres of wine annually from grapes grown in both trellised and bushvine vineyards.
  • KWV signed a deal with Phetogo Investments, a black empowerment consortium that now owns a 25,1 percent stake in the company, in 2004. The KWV Employees Empowerment Trust has as its beneficiaries those employees of KWV who were historically disadvantaged. KWV was also the co-founder and sole financier of SAWIT, and supports various charities and fund-raising events. The Employee Assistance Programme that is in place has assisted KWV’s employees in making remarkable improvements in work life balance. KWV’s Khula Programme focuses on socio-economic development activities in the area of skills development by training unemployed youth in the Paarl and Worcester areas for the hospitality sector. The Miqlat ‘Project First Step’, which is sponsored by KWV as part of this programme, is committed to the restoration, empowerment and development of people to their fullest potential, in order to facilitate them to transform the communities in which they live as well as in the workplace. During training, candidates receive a brief course on basic computer skills, the compilation of a curriculum vitae, interpersonal skills, time management and preparation for prospective interviews. In addition to these professional skills, they are also taught life-skills such as how to communicate and interact with those within the community and workplace, how to set up a budget, how to be positive in their outlook on life and that, without passion, goals are worthless.
  • La Motte has long been involved in the socio-economic upliftment of its workers. As part of the Rupert family initiative, La Motte helped construct Dennegeur, a modern village built for workers on the Rupert family farms, in the town of Franschhoek. The design of the village, a short distance from La Motte, was based on input from the workforce and built to meet the needs of the individuals living there. Key to Dennegeur is the transfer of home ownership to farm workers, some of whom have spent their entire life working at La Motte. Apart from the family homes, Dennegeur has its own day care centre, a training centre, a clinic and sport amenities.
  • The Cape Venture Wine Co., founded by Americans Charles Brain and Walker Brown, launched its Lubanzi label, comprised of two well-crafted, responsibly sourced wines made in collaboration with South African winemakers Bruce Jack and Trizanne Barnard. Fifty percent of the profits of this socially responsible brand will go towards the Pebbles Project, an NGO with its main emphasis on education that works with children and families on South Africa’s wine farms.
  • Lutouw Estate is a pioneering 420-ha farming venture situated near Lutzville along the banks of the Olifants River. It was established by two leading local wine farmers, Truter Lutz and Jan Louw, with SAWIT warehousing shares on behalf of the 30 workers who hold a 40 percent share. Distell, a major supporter of the project, provided surety to finance an additional 37-ha of white-wine variety plantings.
  • Pierre van der Merwe, who owns Merwida, Servede, Pokkraal and Hervil farms in the Breedekloof district, initiated a BEE project to enable his loyal works to become co-owners in their own enterprise – 111 employees were formalised into a trust in 2007, which bought purchased 60 ha of land on Tierkloof, a farm in the area, in mid-2008.
  • Several of the established projects were modelled on the New Beginnings venture, the first black-owned wine-producing farm in the country. Wine farm workers pooled the housing subsidies granted to them by the South African government in order to replant vineyards allocated to them by farm owner Alan Nelson of Nelson’s Creek. In these types of ventures, farm owners also extend the use of their cellars, other production facilities and winemaking expertise to the workers to produce the special label wines. Workers are often actively involved in the marketing and export of the wines. Profits from sales are used to purchase parcels of wine farmland, build housing and facilities, and also for education and community projects. The New Beginnings trademark was taken under custodianship by FMS Food & Beverages SA in 2009.
  • New-entry wine farmers are also assisted in securing capital through a national project called NewFarmers, funded by local private sector investors, as well as foreign organisations, advances agri-business among emergent farmers, while undertaking programmes to promote community development. NewFarmers is currently engaged in two wine farming projects in which workers are stakeholders. The one, Erfdeel (Afrikaans for inheritance) in Piketberg, involves the replanting of some 30 ha to noble red varietals, and the other, near Paarl is a smaller initiative on an olive plantation, where vineyards are also being planted.
  • Old Vines Wine Cellars, South Africa's only women's empowerment winery from ownership through to production, was started in 1995 by mother and daughter team Irina von Holdt and Françoise Botha, and now employs some 16 women who are responsible for the production of wine and running the office.
  • Perdeberg Winery founded PB Liquor Merchants, a BEE initiative with its objective being to establish broad, off-trade distribution nationally.
  • Phambili, Wamakersvallei’s BEE-initiative label, means ‘moving forward’ and is aimed at improving the wellbeing of members of the Phambili Workers Trust.
  • Place in the Sun, a proudly South African brand that is part of the Fairtrade wine farm initiative, aims to uplift communities and actively contribute to social transformation through sustainable development.
  • Riebeek Valley Wine Partners is the largest BEE project in the Swartland winegrowing areas, involving more than 151 farm workers and the purchase of an 83-ha wine farm just outside Malmesbury.
  • Stellenbosch Wine and Logistics, which is 100% owned by Bellevue Farm Workers Trust, was started in 2005 by Bellevue’s management team as a project for the upliftment of the farm workers. Their aim is to produce and sell quality wines under the brand Sizanani, which is the isiXhosa word for helping each other, with the main focus being on exports. They also provide logistical services to the wine industry.
  • Solms-Delta is an ethical wine producer authentically engaged in a dynamic process of social transformation for its 300 strong residents and employees. Solms-Delta is a three-way, equal partnership between Mark Solms, Richard Astor (both resident on the farm) and the Wijn de Caab Trust, established in 2005 with the main objective of breaking the cycle of poverty and dependency among historically disadvantaged tenants and workers of Solms-Delta, who are its sole beneficiaries.
  • Stellar Winery is South Africa’s largest producer of organic fair trade wines. Stellar exports bottled and bulk wine to markets in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. Innovation is one of their strengths and, since their wines first appeared on the market in 2003, they have broken new ground in both winemaking and social development. Stellar Winery has been a certified fair trade producer since 2004.
  • Stellenrust was established in 1928 and comprises some 400 hectares (200 planted), one half in the prime Golden Triangle area of Stellenbosch and the other in the Bottelary Hills with their cooling late afternoon sea breezes. In 2005, the owners decided to reward their 70 permanent farm workers for their hard work and perseverance by empowering them on 100 hectares of the farm. A resounding success story, they are Fairtrade accredited.
  • Established in Elgin in 1995, Thandi – a Xhosa word meaning ‘nurturing love’ – is a wine brand that niches on quality, and uplifts and empowers previously disadvantaged communities. In 2003, Thandi became the first wine brand in the world to receive Fairtrade accreditation. The brand’s name, Thandi, is derived from the name of the daughter of one of the key role players in the community, Trevor Steyn, who was instrumental in bringing the Thandi dream to life.
  • Thokozani means ‘celebration’ and that’s what this wine brand is all about – 75 employees on the Diemersfontein Wine and Country Estate in Wellington own 79% shares in this wine and property company. Thokozani is distinctive in that it is involved in both the wine and hospitality business. Thokozani is a Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) venture committed to the professional training and development of its workers. The wines are currently made at Diemersfontein.
  • Tri-Trade Logistics, the first black-owned specialist wine logistics company in South Africa, is based in Paarl. It collects wine from producers across the Western Cape and delivers it countrywide.
  • Uitzicht (meaning Vista) farm, occupying 20 ha in Stellenbosch, produces wines under the Reyneke label, sold predominantly in Germany and the UK. Wine farm workers are using the government land grant available to them to acquire a 24% stake in the operation and now have their own homes. They are also being given training in winemaking, marketing and business skills.
  • The Van Loveren Winery, situated between Robertson and Bonnievale, purchased a wine farm in 2006, in association with the De Goree Trust with its 116 members, as part of their BEE programme. The 138-ha farm was acquired at a cost of R4,9m, which included implements. The farm has established vineyards, and apricot and peach orchards. The Van Loveren farm workers hold 52 percent shares in the property. Grapes from the De Goree farm go into the Five’s Reserve range. This is a joint venture and the trust has a 25 percent stake in the trademark.
  • Vukani Wines (isiXhosa for ‘wake up’) is an empowerment brand that represents the vision of Peter Thorpe of Bramon Wines for the creation of an empowerment vehicle for the local communities in and around the Plettenberg Bay Wine of Origin region. Established in 2004, Vukani Wines has grown and developed into a recognised brand of quality wines, stocked locally in supermarkets, restaurants, hotels and retail outlets. Through the creation of the Vukani Trust, which receives a percentage of the wine sales, various projects have been enabled, including the training and development of local farmers in viticulture and winemaking, in readiness for the establishment of a community wine farm co-operative. A joint venture with Bramon Wine Estate to build a cellar will facilitate the growth of the Plettenberg Bay wine industry, creating a sustainable income for the local community and expanding job creation.
  • In the late 90s, Weltevrede initiated the first empowerment scheme in the Robertson Valley by establishing a trust for its workers of previously disadvantaged background. This was started by a donation of Naspers Welcome Scheme shares and the establishment of a pinot noir vineyard. Today this vineyard is mature and thriving, and the crop is being bought by Weltevrede while the profit is being shared by the PDI beneficiaries. These pinot noir grapes are being used in what is possibly the first Cap Classique made of grapes bought from black owners, the Weltevrede Philip Jonker Brut.
  • African Terroir’s Winds of Change Fairtrade Organic Range is produced on the Sonop (Afrikaans for ‘sunrise’) wine farm, where nine farm worker households acquired a portion of land, funding their purchase with the government housing subsidy, supported by an interest-free loan from the owners. Owners SAVISA (a Swiss-based operation that forms part of Jacques Germanier’s multi-national negociants) purchase grapes from the farmers at market-related prices to offset the loan. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the Winds of Change wines goes towards upliftment projects which focus on education, health and home improvements. Income is also used for capital investment in the vineyard venture.