The Cape’s biggest wine empowerment venture

Thursday, 20 November, 2003
Marius Labuschagne
Creating true agricultural and economic empowerment for future generations
A total of R9 666 328.00 (almost R10 million) has been invested in Bouwland Estate near Stellenbosch to carry out the biggest agricultural empowerment venture yet in the Cape’s wine industry. Most of the 60 beneficiaries are still employed at the wine farms Beyerskloof, Bouwland and Kanonkop, and therefore the Bouwland Deelnemingstrust is an additional asset to their current jobs.

The inspiration behind the project is to create true agricultural and economic empowerment for future generations of the community who has been part of the Cape’s wine culture since the first vineyard was planted by Jan van Riebeeck in 1659.

The driving forces behind it are South Africa’s internationally renowned wine maker, Beyers Truter, and Jan Hendriks, founder of the Stellenbosch Farm Workers Association (which led to the SA Farm Workers Association). Beyers Truter is co-owner of Beyerskloof and cellar master of Kanonkop Estate, where Jan Hendriks has been working as farm supervisor for more than 10 years. Beyers and Jan are the directors of the new Bouwland Estate and together with the nominated trustees will run the management of this vineyard farm.

The 60 individuals of the empowered 39 families formed the Bouwland Deelnemingstrust and own 74% of the shares in Bouwland Estate. The Government’s Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development Programme, the Land Reform Credit Facility (Khula), Absa Business Banking Services and Beyerskloof (Pty) Ltd, joined forces to invest the R9 666 328 000 in Bouwland Estate to empower the families (amounting to 132 beneficiaries) from the previously disadvantaged community in primary agricultural business.
‘Many of the trustees are people who literally grew up on prime wine farms and are specialists in vineyard cultivation. They have been working in the vineyards all their lives and now are an integral part of creating superior vineyards, wine and a future for their children as co-owners of a wine enterprise,’ says Beyers.

‘Besides the aspect of being co-owners of an established 56 hectares vineyard farm in a prime wine region, the trustees will also benefit from the fact that Bouwland is a well-established brand in Holland, Belgium, England and Denmark. Our aim is to increase our production to at least 225 000 litres of wine per annum within the next five years.’

The Government’s Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development Programme made a cash grant of R3 761 328 to the Bouwland Deelnemingstrust. This amount has already been paid out to Beyerskloof for financing part of the 74% purchase price. Beyerskloof has invested R2 405 000 for their 26% share in Bouwland Estate (Pty) Ltd.

The balance of the purchase price, R3 500 000, was supplied to Absa by the Land Reform Credit Facility (Khula Enterprise Finance Ltd.), which was then lent forward to Bouwland Estate at the rate of BA minus 0,25% over a period of ten years. Khula is a joint empowerment venture established by the European Commission and the Department of Land Affairs. Absa carries the risk and also supplies an overdraft facility of R1 500 000 for normal running costs and buying and bottling of additional wine.

‘When the story of South Africa's successful transformation is told, initiatives such as these will be the milestones. They show the way towards a better South Africa, where people live together as prosperous, good neighbours,’ said Venete Klein, General Manager of Absa AgriBusiness, the project's bankers. Absa is the leading bank in agricultural empowerment.

According to George Mothoa, Business Manager: Land Reform Credit Facility (Khula), the Western Cape has proven to be one of the regions with the most successful partnerships for agricultural empowerment transactions. ‘We could identify the outstanding potential and merits of the Bouwland project immediately’.

This empowerment transaction was celebrated on the estate with the Minister of Agriculture, Tourism and Gambling, Mr Johan Gelderblom, and at the same time the Bouwland Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot red blend (which up till now has been marketed abroad) and Bouwland Chenin Blanc were also launched in the South African market. The next wine to be added to the Bouwland range is the flagship wine, a so-called Cape Blend in which South Africa’s home-grown Pinotage wine variety will be a major component.

Red wine varieties currently cultivated at Bouwland are Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, while Cabernet Franc and Shiraz will also be planted in the near future.

The Bouwland wines are made at the Koelenhof wine cellar from grapes cultivated at Bouwland and sourced in the surrounding areas. Beyers Truter is the winemaker and he has two talented trustees at his right hand to unhurriedly and meticulously be taught all the fine skills of making absolute top quality wines.

Bouwland contracts people to work in the vineyards on the estate and experienced trustees were nominated to serve on the daily management board of Bouwland. Another prominent trustee is Cecil Jaap, who for ten years was the laboratory manager of Stellenbosch Farmers’ Winery’s and now is an independent consultant in wine laboratories.

Because the Bouwland wines will now be marketed extensively in South Africa, their newly appointed national distributor, Somerset Wines International, is working on another empowerment scheme to involve family members and beneficiaries of the Trustees in the nationwide marketing of Bouwland wines.

Issued by: ML Communications on behalf of the Bouwland Deelnemingstrust
Contact: Marius Labuschagne
Tel: +27 (0) 21 981-8546