News: The Empowerment Of Women In The Wine Industry and Agriculture

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The Empowerment Of Women In The Wine Industry and Agriculture

Transforming the South African Wine Industry

Women in the Cape Winelands are no longer taking a backseat, and they are now producing
their very own wine, bottled under the label Women in Wine.

A group of 20 women formed the company in 2006 with the dream of giving women,
especially farm workers and their families, a share in the wine industry.

The partners involved in Women in Wine have various skills in marketing, wine analysis,
finance, development and training, and social responsibility. The one thing these women
have in common: all of them enjoy a glass of quality wine.

Women in Wine can be proud of being the first South African wine-producing company that
is owned and managed entirely by women. The Cape’s wine industry has not always given
recognition or benefits to women in the industry, even though their contribution has been

“Women in Wine embraces change in an industry which is 365 years old,” explains Beverley
Farmer, a founder member and the chief executive.

The wine industry in South Africa has long been regarded as one of the last preserves of
Afrikaner privilege and paternalism. A sudden circulation of black-owned ventures has
highlighted the changing face of South Africa, this more than a decade after the end of

Women in Wine strive to create an additional source of income for seasonal workers by
identifying skills development and training opportunities in collaboration with other
organisations. The company also works closely with organisations like the South African
Wine Industry Trust and Women’s Workers’ Trust.

The South African Wine Industry Trust aims to restructure the wine industry to represent the
interests of all those involved more effectively, in particular the farm workers. The trust aims
to build a shared consciousness through providing information, platforms for dialogue,
education and coordination, and by promoting ethical trading.

“In order to achieve our vision of contributing to the transformation of the South African wine
industry, we have had to come up with creative solutions that break with traditional
perceptions that to produce excellent wines you have to have land, vineyards, cellars and a
big company for exports.

Instead we have invested in the building of the Women in Wine brand,” explains Farmer,
who has a journalism degree and worked on wine farms, representing farm workers and
their families, before she became chief executive of Women in Wine.

Women in Wine only sources wine from farms that observe socio-economic legislation with
specific reference to ethical and environmental practices, employment conditions, skills
development and training, as well as that which addresses aspects of black economic