/ 5 April 2006

SA’s first all-female BEE wine producer launched

The South African wine industry marked a milestone on Wednesday with the launch of Women in Wine, the country’s first wine producing company owned, controlled and managed by women, during the second day of Cape Wine 2006, the industry’s bi-annual international trade exhibition.

Speaking at the launch, founder member and CEO Beverly Farmer said Women in Wine had been formed by a group of 20 professional black women from different backgrounds who shared not only a link to the Cape winelands but also the dream of giving women, especially farm workers and their families, a share in the industry.

The shareholding structure of Women in Wine benefits a large number of women, said Farmer, with around 500 women working on farms gaining stakes through the Farmworkers Women in Wine Trust. The trust focuses on skills development and training of women farm workers. Through its members it also undertook upliftment projects among farm worker communities to improve the quality of life of women and children on farms and to foster the responsible consumption of wine.

“While trusts have been previously used in the establishment of wineland community development projects, this is the first time that participating women will be issued with shareholder certificates,” said Farmer.

Approximately 1 000 tavern owners, traditionally women, also have a significant shareholding in Women in Wine. Fanny Mokoena, president of the National Tourism and Hospitality Association representing shebeeners and taverners, said: “After so many years of struggles, it is good to see recognition and economic benefits for women who labour in the wine and spirits business.”

Women in Wine had identified a number of partners with whom to work to produce, market and sell their wines, which would appear under the label of Eden’s Vineyards.

The company has chosen Boland Kelder as its leading wine supplier, said Farmer.

Boland Kelder’s product development team, with well-known international winemakers on the panel, had made Women in Wine’s first two Eden’s Vineyards wines to their specifications — a Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz 2004 and a Chardonnay-Chenin Blanc 2005.

“We briefed them to over-deliver on price since the Eden’s Vineyards wine label is the company’s major asset and we are establishing a reputation for volume premium wines,” explained Farmer.

Both wines would be sold through the Checkers and Checkers Hyper stores. ‒ I-Net Bridge