The name Paul Roos is indelibly associated with both rugby and education. Paul Roos, the rugby legend who captained the first South African rugby team to tour Britain in 1906 and named them Die Springbokken (The Springboks), was also an educator and rector of the Stellenbosch boys’ school later named in his honour, Paul Roos Gymnasium.

He was born on Rust en Vrede, the farm on the lower slopes of the Helderberg, now run by fifth generation, Tjuks and Johan Roos, who follow their illustrious ancestor’s belief that only through education can humans uplift themselves and become self-reliant.

They established a crèche for children of farm workers in 1983; today it also takes in others from outside the farm community. To date, 280 children have received their early years of learning there; not one has had to repeat a school year, many have passed matric and a few are at university.

In 2008 a portion of the farm was sub-divided into Paul Roos farming under the ownership of previously disadvantaged members of the farm. Apart from olives and citrus, 70 hectares were given over to vineyards, the grapes being sold to wine producers in the area.  Wishing to increase educational opportunities on the farm, Tjuks and Johan Roos decided to make and bottle wine under the Paul Roos label, with all profits channelled into education. A new and upgraded crèche was earmarked as the first project.

Augustus (Gus) Dale had met the Roos brothers while working for his brother, Alex at the next door winery, Radford Dale, in the 2000s; he went on to run the Roos vineyards and, in 2014 Tjuks Roos asked Gus to help set up the wine project. Less than 1% of grape production goes into making the two wines, which are vinified and oak-matured on the farm. Die Skoolhoof (School Principal) is a Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay blend, while the red, a Shiraz-based blend is named Die Filantroop (The Philanthropist). A one-off Cabernet Sauvignon honours Tjuks Roos’s late wife, Susan.

The wines have received great support from local businesses, with Shirley Muswema, Manager of Chef’s Warehouse acknowledged as selling more Paul Roos wine than anyone else. Her efforts earned her the honour of cutting the ribbon to officially open the crèche. By 2018, sufficient funds had been raised to demolish the old crèche and build a new one.  Thanks to the motivation of Aneleze Roos, Tjuks’ second wife, the building was up and finished in under a year. Appointed to cater not only for the pre-school children, but also for older children still on the farm, there is a designated computer room where they can access the internet for research and schoolwork.

The new crèche is just the start. Future projects to benefit from the sales of Paul Roos wines will help the children’s further education through to university.

- Angela Lloyd