Klein Goederust and the spirit of neighbourliness in the Franschhoek Wine Valley | #wineforgood

Monday, 18 April, 2022
wine.co.za, Jeanine Malan
One of the biggest lessons we can learn from Paul Siguqa, owner of Klein Goederust in Franschhoek, is the importance of standing together as neighbours.

Paul Siguqa, the owner of Klein Goederust Boutique Wine Farm, defied all odds by becoming the first black man to own a wine farm in Franschhoek.

Coming from humble beginnings, he claims that support from his community played a big part in his journey. Not only his family and childhood friends, but also his neighbours from the Franschhoek wine valley, such as the Rupert family's iconic La Motte wine estate.

From farmworker's child to top wine farm owner

The child of a farmworker, Paul Siguqa grew up with his single mother and sister on Backsberg wine farm in Franschhoek, not too far from Klein Goederust.

“If you grow up on a farm your world is rather small,” Siguqa said. “You’re only exposed to other farmworkers. All I knew and saw was business and farm work. There is this narrative that if you are a child of a farm labourer, you are expected to follow suit and become a farmworker just like your parents.”

But his mother wanted her children to break that notion: “My mother wanted us to do what we wanted to do with our lives and not be automatically forced into becoming farm labourers.”

"She always believed that there’s a bigger world out there, especially for children of farmworkers."

Inspired by his mother, Siguqa started working towards his dream early on. As a teenager, for instance, he sold fruit to raise money for university.

He went on study business at Stellenbosch Business School and then spent a number of years working at media companies in Cape Town and Gauteng. He even started his own communications company.

"But I always wanted to come back," he said. All the while, he held on to his dream of one day buying his own wine farm in the Franschhoek valley.

In 2019, after saving up for 15 years, that day finally came to fruition and he acquired the Klein Goederust farm. 

Although he decided to keep the name due to the heritage value it offered, he added his own legacy to the history of the farm.

He bought the farm with own funds and invested a significant amount to restore and plant vineyards on the dilapidated farm. “We want to compete on an equal footing with similar wine farms,” says Siguqa. "Our aim is to have a 5-star estate with world-class wines."

Together with close friend and winemaker Rodney Zimba – who grew up with him on Backsberg – he transformed the farm into a promising boutique wine farm.

They released a wine range consisting of three wines, a Cap Classique, and a noble late harvest wine.

Zimba was not the only person from Backsberg who he took along on his journey. Klein Goederust’s Chef Linda Abrahams, or Aunty Linda as she’s known on the farm, used to work with Siguqa’s mother on the farm, for example.

Neighbourly support goes a long way

Paul Siguqa attributes much of Klein Goederust's success to support from neighbouring wine farms in the Franschhoek valley. “Our biggest support has been from our neighbours. They have been incredible.”

“When we came here, we were the new guys who had to start from scratch on this broken-down land. So we called the neighbours when we needed help,” he continued. 

"You know, you have a tractor breakdown, who do you call? You call your neighbouring farmer. A fire breaks out, who do you call? You call your neighbour. They have been incredible."

However, Siguqa singled out La Motte as his biggest supporter: "La Motte has been our greatest form of guidance and support, helping us get to the networks and unbottle bottlenecks."

La Motte CEO Hein Koegelenberg steps in as mentor

Right from the start, Hein Koegelenberg, CEO of La Motte, has been a mentor to him. “Hein always said that he is going to make sure that we don’t make the same mistakes he’s made," Siguqa said, "And that's important, because we can’t afford it. Not when we have to start as first-generation farm owners – that comes with its own challenges.”

Speaking to Koegelenberg, it is plain to see that he has a great deal of respect and admiration for Siguqa.

Hein has been guiding Siguqa right from the get-go, from finding his brand identity right through to development of the land.

“Paul had a vision of his own for his farm,” said Koegelenberg. “He only wanted guidance and advice. All I do is help him make the most of the opportunities the farm presents him.”

In one instance, Koegelenberg saved Siguqa significant costs on consulting fees.

When the consulting engineers got wind of Siguqa’s acquisition and his plans to develop the farm, they descended upon him. Overwhelmed, Siguqa turned to Koegelenberg who put him in contact with his own consultant instead.

“I told him that most consulting engineers would charge him around 14% of his revenue. This is a reasonable fee to charge newcomers in the industry, but I could help him get a much lower commission rate.

“So I called the consulting engineer I’ve been working with for many years, Gerhard de Villiers, and asked him to charge Paul the same rate he charges me as a favour. Immediately, Paul spent a lot less – because I have contacts.”

Paul's advice to aspiring wine farm owners? “Get into the industry, find yourself the right mentor, and put in the work. Hard work, honesty, and integrity gets you pretty far.”

There are plenty of good news stories about upliftment and transformation in the South African Wine Industry. The #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. Share them far and wide and spread the good news about South African wine.

 

 

Paul Siguqa, the owner of Klein Goederust Boutique Wine Estate in Franschhoek.
Paul Siguqa, the owner of Klein Goederust Boutique Wine Estate in Franschhoek.













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