Through continued expansion and development, the South African wine tourism industry encourages responsible tourism, economic empowerment and reinvestment in the community, ensuring a stable and viable economic future for all role-players.
Tourism is a crucial driver of economic growth, especially in under-developed rural areas, and contributes to local upliftment and job creation. Wine tourism also stimulates community development, attracts consumers to rural areas, generates sales of local products and attracts corporate investment in the long term.
We know that tourism is our fastest-growing sector, employing over 200 000 people and generating R17-billion for our economy each year. Through our Project Khulisa growth strategy, we are seeking to add up to a further 100 000 jobs in this sector.
BEE (black economic empowerment) initiatives within a number of wine estates across South Africa contribute to the empowerment and upliftment of local communities and allow visitors an authentic experience. Broader transformation within the industry has also seen a growth in the percentage of black-owned wine brands making inroads in the industry.
The South African wine industry leads the way in terms of sustainable farming, with 90% of the industry certified under the Intergrated Production of Wine scheme (IPW), 70 of them members of Fairtrade, 36 farms are conservation leaders participating in the WWF Conservation Champion programme, 30 with organic certification for their wines and three farming biodynamically.
The various South African wine routes have a responsibility to use the land sustainably, thereby preserving it for future generations, empowering and uplifting its inhabitants, while continuing to promote the wine tourism industry nationally and internationally.
In a country known for the beauty of its landscape and the diversity of its peoples, the winelands of South Africa continue to play their part in the future of the country.
We put the spotlight on four farms this month that do stellar work in the industry:
Delaire Graff Estate, Stellenbosch
Graff Diamonds’ charitable initiative, For Africa’s Children Every Time (FACET), is delighted to announce the expansion of the Graff Mobile Learning Centre fleet in the heart of South Africa’s Cape winelands.
In partnership with the Pebbles Project, three additional mobile units will be joining the mobile library and computer lab which have been in operation since September 2014. Founder and director of the Pebbles Project, Sophia Warner, explains, “The three new Mobile Learning Centres are literally ‘opportunities on wheels’. They’ve taken our after-school programme to a whole new level and will have an even greater impact within the community.”
The centres provide much needed after-school support for scholars between the ages of 6 to 18 years whom attend local public schools throughout the Cape Winelands region from Stellenbosch Valley, home to Delaire Graff Estate, to Citrusdal in the Cederberg Mountains.
The FACET Mobile Learning Centres have grown to include 2 computer labs, 2 travelling libraries and a multi-purpose vehicle for more remote areas. Being able to travel directly to these communities has resulted in the inspiring effects being felt from within the communities themselves. Currently, the units assist 522 students ensuring they attain the best quality educational care and mentorship. In their partnership thus far, the Pebbles Project has received financial support from the FACET Foundation to the amount of R20 million.
Nederburg Wine Estate, Paarl
Nederburg, the exclusive premium wine partner of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, is working closely together with the non-profit organisation Qhubeka to establish their first bicycle assembly facility in the Western Cape, endorsed by the Western Cape Government.
The facility was launched at a recent event held at Nederburg in Paarl, during the Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s training camp in Cape Town. Mr Alan Winde, Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, addressed the audience at the event, and highlighted the province’s commitment to cycling as a sport to stimulate economic growth in the region.
The Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka pro-cycling team, affectionately known as “Africa’s Team”, peddle for a cause. They raise funds and awareness for Qhubeka (which means “to progress”), the organisation that mobilises for socio-economic progress by distributing bicycles to needy South Africans in exchange for work done to improve the environment, community or academic results. Bikes let riders carry more books, more goods for sale, and more medicines and other supplies they can distribute amongst communities. Since its inception in 2005, Qhubeka has distributed bicycles to over 70 000 deserving South Africans.
Qhubeka has an existing bicycle assembly facility located in the North-West province of South Africa. The facility at the Nederburg winery in Paarl is the first in the Western Cape, and is expected to be in full operation by early February 2017.
Eight women from the Paarl East community, which surrounds Nederburg, will be selected to work in and manage the facility. They will receive full training in assembling the bicycles. The majority of the bicycle parts, complying with Qhubeka’s specifications, are all of the highest quality and imported from the United States (US) and Asia, with some components made by manufacturers in South Africa.
“The facility at Nederburg will have the capacity to assemble a minimum of 5 000 robust, purpose-built bicycles, as per prescribed quality levels, per year. The women employed at the facility will each not only receive a bicycle to give them the freedom to move around, but will also be financially remunerated.”
Bosman Family Vineyards, Wellington
A crèche, a day care centre that’s been built for the children of parents who work on the farm.
Social responsibility and sustainability are the cornerstones of the Bosman ethos.
“We’re working hard on positioning ourselves on a global level as the premium ethical wine producer from South Africa,” he explains, walking toward the children’s school. “We truly believe that if you care for the people that do the work, the people care for the work they do for you.”
Not a bad proverb, and as it turns out, the mantra has laid the groundwork for a thriving partnership model. Bosman Family Vineyards employs over 260 people, most of whom live on the farm, and collectively the workers own 30% of the business. “Helen Zille (the Western Cape premier) actually uses this farm as an example of land reform that works,” adds Neil. But back to the crèche; here, the employees’ children spend their days finger-painting and learning liedjies (songs). We’re treated to the latter just before we leave. The singing is melodic and in unison. My only complaint? They keep calling me tannie (auntie).
Far from the only example of the Bosmans’ commitment to growing an enterprise in ways that respect the land and all the people who have tended it, the kids’ care centre is accompanied by an on-site karate club, music school, youth group, neighbourhood watch, women’s club, home for retired staff, library and sports club.
Not to mention, as the recipient of the esteemed 2012 International Wine Challenge (IWC) Fair Trade award, an accolade given to the fair-trade certified winery with the best fair-trade wine in the world, Bosman’s reds and whites are a shining illustration of the belief that if you invest in sustainability, you get an increase in quality.
“Since the first Bosman came to South Africa, there’s always been this common thread that’s run through and connected the family,” Neil tells us, “their community development.”
Du Toitskloof Winery, Breedekloof Valley
The winery, in partnership with DGB Wine Company, funded a mobile library that boasts 5000 children's books and computers that give 1200 children from nine schools in the Breedekloof Valley access to education materials.