A Thandi wine tasting evening on Monday, 27 February in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, was a sell-out and a great success. It was held in the stone-arched caverns of The Fair Traders Cooperative. Vernon Henn, Managing Director of South African Thandi wines, led the wine tasting, and talked with great passion about the development of this first agricultural Black Empowerment Project.
In 2003 Thandi became the first ever Fairtrade certified wine brand in the world!
Established in 1995, with the help of the Paul Cluver family, the farmers battled to cultivate the land that was then covered in blue gum and pine trees. Vernon’s story charted the progress of the 250 producer families – from the euphoria and high levels of expectation surrounding the release of Nelson Mandela – to a gradual realisation of the slow rate of change within South Africa. The farms are unusual, in that the farm worker families own 55% of the wine company, and between 55% and 100% of the three farm vineyards.
When you buy this wine, the Fairtrade Premium is used to raise the living standards of the farming community, and to develop educational facilities for both the farm workers and their children. Many have never had the opportunity to attend school. The money from the Fairtrade Premium has also been used to fund the building of a medical facility and nurse training, and to improve transport for children and the elderly.
With vineyards at Stellenbosch, Elgin and Botrivier, the current production is 600 tons. The sun looks to always shine in stunningly beautiful countryside, and in fact, one of the challenges is to protect the grapes from the most intense heat.
The reality for many South Africans is that they have no access to participate in the formal economy. Thandi has bucked the trend and created a sustainable model based on partnership and mentoring.
The Fair Traders Cooperative is now stocking online and in its Holmfirth shop – a range of Thandi wines – so you can both enjoy the fantastic wine and also know that you are contributing to the well-being and future success of the South African farmers and their families.
TAKE A STEP with a Thandi Fairtrade wine. Enjoy the fantastic wine and also know that you are contributing to the lives of the South African farmers and their families.