From farm workers to farm owners

Monday, 16 August, 2004
Victor Titus
South Africa's first black-owned vineyard, New Beginnings has received much prominence as an example of what can be accomplished through empowerment and sharing. 'Adopt-a-vine' is their latest achievement.

After six years of dedication and hard work the owners of New Beginnings are fully aware of the commitment required to eke out a place in the highly competitive wine business.

" It takes three years from the time of preparing the soil until the vines produce a grape crop and a year or two more before the quality of the grapes are such that wine of good quality can be made from them. During all of this time the vines have to be looked after and expenses are incurred... ", says Solly Skippers, one of the co-owners of New Beginnings and the vineyard manager. "We planted our vineyard in 1998 and are only now able to produce wine of good quality from our grapes. In the first three years there was no income at all from the vines and some of our members became a bit impatient. We have thankfully managed to survive the most difficult years by keeping our debt as low as possible and running a roll-on lawn business to generate some cash flow."

As the vineyards have reached maturity the quality of the New Beginnings wine has improved dramatically.

The quality of the wine could be attributed to the fact that the New Beginnings vineyard is located in an area which yield grapes used for the making of red wines that have been judged the best in the world on two occasions at Vinexpo in Bordeaux.

To mark their entry into the world of high quality wine production, New Beginnings have recently launched a new label that incorporates an elegant logo depicting one of the New Beginnings families standing proudly beside their beautifully manicured vineyard.

New Beginnings are incredibly proud of what they have managed to accomplish thus far. We now aspire to our next goal, which is to cultivate the remaining five hectares of our eleven hectare farm by also planting it to the very best vines available in South Africa. To this end we have obtained limited funding from the Department of Agriculture, which unfortunately is only sufficient to cover the preparation of the soil and the installation of an irrigation system.

In line with our conservative approach to debt, New Beginnings are reluctant to borrow money to fund the acquisition and the further development of new vines. "We have heard of too many other farming empowerment projects failing because the farmers borrow lots of money from the bank. We do not want to make the same mistake!" says Danny Hurling, the chairman of New Beginnings.

To source additional funding for this venture New Beginnings are launching an exciting project called 'Adopt-A-Vine'. This initiative gives the public a unique opportunity to get personally involved in New Beginnings, sharing in their pride and success whilst at the same time experiencing the romance of winegrowing.

Essentially, the 'Adopt-A-Vine' project invites private individuals and corporate entities to 'adopt' one of the vines in the beautiful vineyards of New Beginnings, and in the process become a cherished member of the New Beginnings family.

By purchasing an 'Adopt-A-Vine' package, which includes an excellent 'first release' bottle of New Beginnings wine under their new label, the purchaser becomes eligible to 'adopt' a separately numbered and identifiable vine. A photograph of the vine and a 'certificate of adoption' are included entitling the bearer to enter his or her name in an 'adoption register'. Although New Beginnings remain the owner of the vine, entry in the register will entitle the adopter to visit the vine and to participate in each stage of its development.

The 'Adopt A Vine' project is about caring and sharing. The package is contained in a beautiful hand-crafted wooden box that would make the ideal gift for a loved one or the perfect corporate gift to give to special customers and clients.

By supporting the 'Adopt-A-Vine' project, purchasers will of course also make it possible for New Beginnings to cultivate the remainder of their land and so become co-sponsors of this special project.

This is an exciting phase for New Beginnings enabling us to increase production and hopefully one day to reach further goals, such as: the erection of our own cellar and possibly the acquisition of a bottling plant. We also aim to construct our own houses one day and further the education of our community.

Please share in our enthusiasm for this project and support it in any way you can.

For further details:
Victor Titus
Tel: (021) 869 8453
Fax: (021) 869 8424