#wineforgood: Stellar Winery empowering a workforce

Monday, 22 April, 2019
Stellar Winery
Since its founding in 1998, Stellar has won acclaim for its organic, fair trade, and vegan-friendly wine. Our wine has made footprints all over the globe, from Canada to Madagascar to Japan, but our heart remains back at home.

Our passion lies not only in producing unique and sustainable wine that respects the natural systems and cycles of the land, but also to give acknowledgement to those who help us achieve this.

It is the social responsibility projects that we offer back home that is the driving force behind Stellar Winery.

To improve the living and working conditions of the hands that help us, we established the non-profit organisation, The Stellar Foundation. This initiative involves a number of projects on the farms and in the communities of our roleplayers and their families. These projects range from gardening schemes to primary healthcare, as well as opportunities that allow for personal growth, skills development, and empowerment.

“Empowering a workforce is the surest way to get people invested in the work they do, but to also think about their future,” says Willem Rossouw, managing director of Stellar Winery.

In conjunction, Stellar founded The Stellar Empowerment Trust, where employees of Stellar Winery own 26% of shares in the winery. This is our way of giving back and creating the opportunity for them to invest in their futures.

Being part of the Fair Trade programme since 2004, bringing about change in our communities is essential for the success of Stellar Winery.

The Stellar Winery projects are:

Feeding Scheme:

In the Matzikama region of South Africa, 300km north of Cape Town, Steilhoogte Primary is home to more than 120 young children from surrounding farms.

The children are the offspring of farm workers in the region but also herald from families where unemployment is a way of life, and it’s in these testing conditions that food can be hard to come by when school is closed.

Going hungry, says Steilhoogte Primary principal Manus Spamer, affects children’s physical performance, but severely hampers their mental aptitude too. “Often the children spend the holidays without any food at all. One child lost 5kg over a long holiday,” says Manus.

In a region where farming and education are inextricably linked, the region’s star producer, Stellar Winery, has stepped up in the wake of this food crisis. Stellar Winery is South Africa’s largest producer of fine, organic, fair trade wines.

Willem Rossouw, MD of Stellar Winery, has kickstarted a feeding scheme overseen by the non-profit Stellar Foundation, an entity through which Stellar Winery’s social responsibility activities take place. The scheme aims to help the children of Steilhoogte stay nourished during holiday time. “We believe that education and proper nutrition are two of the most important factors in early childhood development,” Willem says.

The scheme has enabled Steilhoogte to stay open during the school holidays and assist the children. “The monetary support from Stellar Foundation is priceless,” Manus says.

Manus estimates that between 40 and 120 children eat at Steilhoogte daily. “We are extremely grateful that Stellar Foundation recognised our needs and that they want to help in such a practical way. Together with the feeding scheme, many other organisations have also become involved, which means that we can also develop programmes which run concurrently.

Willem is pleased by the progress made. “Steilhoogte gets the combination just right by providing nutritious meals and keeping the children occupied during the school holidays.”

Apart from the holiday feeding scheme, Stellar has also funded the building of an additional classroom at Steilhoogte. “This room will be used to teach life skills and practical skills to children with learning disabilities,” Willem says.

Stellar Agri (Pty) Ltd:

Stellar Agri (Pty) Ltd is the farming arm of Stellar Winery and is a black owned company with 63,74% employee ownership through Stellar Empowerment Trust.
Stellar Agri was created to combat the shortage of organic grapes due to the high market demand.
Stellar Winery supplies high quality organic fair trade wine to an already existing and growing international customer base.
The vision is to establish a sustainable business which delivers a high quality product under ethical and organic practices. By doing this, we will create work for more than 80 workers, empower them and positively influence the lives of their families.


More information about the Stellar Foundation is available here:




There are plenty of good news stories about upliftment and transformation in the South African Wine Industry. This #wineforgood website, launched by wine.co.za in June 2016, hosts all the positive stories from the winelands, of which there are plenty. wine.co.za has made April a focus for #wineforgood stories, being Freedom Month, as South Africa celebrates 25 years of democracy.
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