For more than 350 years, the cultures of Africa, Europe and the East have mingled in Cape Town, gateway to the South African winelands, a city rich in colourful history and culturally vibrant. It was here that Nelson Mandela, in 1990, took his historic walk to freedom. Today South Africa, a country of enormous diversity, is a peaceful democracy, home to the 'rainbow nation'.

The breaking down of political barriers and the redressing of historical wrongs in South Africa has seen people from disadvantaged communities emerge as winegrowers and winemakers in the Cape winelands for the first time. Historically, they provided the labour on which the industry is based. The South African wine industry currently employs 269 096 people both directly and indirectly, including wine tourism. In the Western Cape, the wine industry supported 166 652 jobs resulting in a total household income of R9.3 billion. Read more here and view an infographic  here.

Part of the process of redressing imbalances is an ongoing education drive, spearheaded by various trusts and initiatives. A number of Cape wine farmers have also established joint ventures with their workers to give them part ownership and to transfer skills in wine farm management as well as winemaking. There have also been a number of private initiatives to extend vineyard ownership to communities living in winemaking regions, where proceeds from wine sales are used to improve the quality of life of residents.

Some 98% of SA wine producers contribute voluntarily to – previously known as the Industry Association for Responsible Alcohol Use (ARA) fund – to which the wine industry currently contributes 25%, the spirits industry 25% and the beer industry 50%. Read more here

Black Economic Empowerment
Read more about BEE

Black-owned Brands
Access a list of black-owned wine brands 

Corporate Social Investment
Download the CSI Infographic

View/download e-books documenting transformation in the winelands

Education Initiatives
Information on education programmes

Empowerment Projects
Read about a number of successful ventures

Ethical Trade in South Africa Q & A
Access Q & A on transformation and labour relations in the South African wine industry

Fairtrade Wines
View a list of South African Fairtrade wines

Related Links
Browse websites related to empowerment & transformation

Social Issues
Access more information on social issues in the winelands

View/download videos documenting transformation in the winelands

Access the Wine and Agricultural Industry Ethical Trade Association's website