Women in Wine
Women in the Cape winelands are standing up to be counted, and are now
producing their own wine, bottled under the label Women in Wine.
A group of 20 women, all with backgrounds in the wine industry, formed the company seven years ago, with "the dream of giving women, especially farm workers and their families, a share in the industry".
With varied skills in marketing, wine analysis, finance, development and training, and social responsibility, the one thing the partners all had in common was that they all "enjoy a glass of quality wine".
Women in Wine is the first South African wine-producing company that is owned, controlled and managed entirely by women.
"To date, women have made a significant contribution to the Cape's wine industry without receiving recognition or benefiting from the industry's business opportunities," says Beverly Farmer, a founder member and the chief executive.
The company has several unique features. "Women in Wine embraces change in an industry which is 365 years old," explains Farmer. "We are the first company owned, controlled and managed by women, and black women in particular."
Skills development through collaboration
The partners are all too aware that seasonal workers, who are often women, are unemployed for the rest of the year.
The company strives to create a second source of income for these women by identifying "skills development and training opportunities in collaboration with other organisations".
A Women's Workers' Trust has been set up, which has shares in the company.
Women in Wine also works closely with organisations like the South African Wine Industry Trust.
This trust aims to restructure the wine industry to represent the interests of all those involved more effectively, in particular the farm workers, by building a shared consciousness through providing information, platforms for dialogue, education and co-ordination, and by promoting ethical trading.
Women in Wine is also a founder member of the African Vintner Alliance, a joint action group established three years ago for the growth of black businesses in the wine industry.
"During this period we have worked hard to establish a foothold in this traditional industry by working in collaboration with each other to enter and develop new markets," Farmer says.
Women in Wine only sources wine from farms that comply with socio-economic legislation with specific reference to ethical and environmental practices, employment conditions, skills development and training, as well as that address aspects of black economic empowerment.
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