Accentuating the positives

Modern life is ruled by an algorithm of some sort. Whether it’s a mundane Google search or a few minutes spent on Instagram, Tik-Tok,Twitter or Facebook there’s an algorithm dictating which searches or posts are best suited to your specific profile. They allegedly keep everyone socially connected but it’s also equally likely that negativity can be entrenched because of something seen online. So, it was heart-warming recently to see a post from Reyneke Wines celebrating something positive for one of their team.

It was a simple one, wishing Andre Jacobs “many happy years in their new home”. Just another tweet in a long line of them on my daily Twitter feed – but the two photos accompanying it showed the pride and delight of a family who now owned their home.

To so many in the markets of Europe or America this might not be a great deal, but to a family in South Africa, in the Polkadraai Hills of Stellenbosch specifically, with the country’s history of apartheid, of Group Areas reserved for specific racial groups – with those designated White getting the prime spots, this is an exceedingly big deal.

“Buying our wine means you directly impact the lives of winery and vineyard workers at Reyneke,” the Tweet read. “This week, Reyneke vineyard worker Andre Jacobs moved into his home, bought with the proceeds from the sale of our wines.” See for yourself, the close-up head and shoulders image of Andre – and the other of his family, arm-in-arm in front of their new home.

No doubt many folks just scrolled on by but it’s been viewed by nearly 2000 people – and while only a handful replied, the responses were positive with one commenter stating: “It’s wonderful to know that the proceeds from the sale of Reyneke Wines played a role in making that happen. Will look for them when shopping next time.”

And while cynics will think to themselves, “great marketing – that’s Reyneke achieving their goal in making another sale” yes, there’s truth to that. But how about stopping for a second and considering the impact of a simple purchasing decision? The entire FairTrade movement is premised on the basis of people doing good while buying merchandise. It forces individuals to interrogate their values. Wouldn’t you rather the profits from the sale of XYZ product go towards making a tangible difference in peoples’ lives than into more record profits for corporate conglomerates?

In a country like South Africa where communities were actively dispossessed of their land or denied the economic freedom to buy homes anywhere they wanted to, owning a brick-and-mortar dwelling is more than just a residence. It’s the first step in generational economic change. There are going to be birthdays and Christmases celebrated under the Jacobs’ roof, braais held with friends and neighbours in the garden, happy, joyful times and no doubt sad or tough ones too, but shared as a family. All because of a simple purchasing decision…

That’s something to be celebrated – so well done to all those Reyneke customers who made this happen.

Johan Reyneke and staffer who owns his house cos of Fairtrade. Twitter pic.

Goederust, Tesselaarsdal physical dirt, Kara Tara, Banele Vakele, BlackElephant Vintners… all happening

But winemakers also a bit beaten down at vinpro stats – 9% making a profit, XX% moderately profitable,

Then you get an outsider’s perspective like Yannis from Vassaltis – stepped in to help REmul rossat HRV, clicked with Chris Alheit, visit Adi and Eben in the Swartland, Bennie Liebenberg of Spier, Sjaak Nelson of Jordan. Now knows that he can pick up the phone and ask for assistance – and vice versa.

Really impressed by Jordan’s Assyrtiko… they can phone him for advice and he’ll freely give it. He’s provided 2 harvest jobs to students from Elsenburg – and wept when the girls left

Wine for good – in its broadest sense.

- Blog by Fiona McDonald