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How Wine Farms Have Responded During SA’s COVID-19 Lockdown and Restrictions

Although South Africa’s wine farms have been unable to operate or deliver wines during the nation’s lockdown, they have found ways to offer support and upliftment to the people and communities around them. In true South African spirit, their generosity and kindness has been a joy to see.

Since the national lockdown was first implemented on midnight of 26 March 2020, wine farms have been unable to keep their doors and cellars open to the public.

An alcohol ban/restriction remains firmly in effect for the foreseeable future – so, while estates can still take online orders – no one is able to deliver or receive alcohol at this time.

Giving Back When It Matters Most

But I have found it so inspirational to see how many Cape wine farms have found ways to give back, offer some light and comfort or even provide a much-needed online distraction in this time.

There have been virtual wine tastings and discussions; community food drives and even online recipes for the public’s benefit, served up by some of our country’s finest wine farms.

In a time when they themselves are battling, our wine farms have still found a way to reach out and touch the lives of their customers and communities.

In this post, I share what some of these estates are doing to give back:

Spier’s Generosity: Hosting Stranded Families and Distributing Food Boxes

 

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Arguably one of the estates helping most in this time, both prior to and during lockdown, has been Stellenbosch wine estate, Spier.

I adore Spier for many reasons but particularly because they are always one of the most earth-conscious, community-driven wine farms. I really have so much respect for them and the good they do every day, pandemic or no.

But I have been especially touched to see how – week in, week out – they have found ways to give back to their customers, communities and staff in this global pandemic and nationwide lockdown, which has sadly seen many families struggling to put food on the table.

What they did to give back:

  • One of the first things they did prior to the nationwide lockdown’s commencement was package and distribute food parcels to 450 vulnerable families in the Lynedoch Valley and Vlottenberg community. This they did in partnership with Sustainability Institute and farmers from the Living Soils Community Learning Farm. This act of kindness surely ensured many families were tided over during lockdown.

 

  • As lockdown commenced, five guests found themselves stranded at Spier’s Hotel. Unable to secure a flight home in time, these families must have felt extremely anxious, as all flights were grounded. But cue Spier – and their incredible act of goodwill. They not only allowed the stranded guests to stay on free of charge… They also found ways to safely cater for and entertain them, all while practicing social distancing and health precautions. This is one of the more beautiful stories to arise from the lockdown.

 

  • Spier also started delivering eggs from Farmer Angus; vegetables grown by Living Soils Community Farm and seedlings from their vegetable garden to 132 vulnerable families, based in the Lynedoch area. The seedlings were given to encourage the community to grow their own food at home.

 

How they are still helping:

 

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Aside from virtual pairings and other forms of upliftment, Spier keeps assisting needy families during this difficult time. Each week, they continue to deliver 400 boxes loaded with veggies, eggs, homemade soup, dry goods, soaps and seedlings to local families.

To see more about Spier’s acts of kindness, follow their blog or check out their Instagram or Facebook feeds.

 

Fairview’s Soup Drive and Live Goat Cam

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Fairview is another wine farm that always shows an exemplary level of commitment not only to their customers – but to their staff as well.

So it comes as no surprise to learn that this forward-thinking Paarl estate has once again turned up when it matters most – and in significant ways too!

Fairview – and their goats – have long held a special place in my heart but they have nudged even deeper with their acts of thoughtfulness and kindness of late…

What they did to give back:

 

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  • Fairview made sure that, even though their wines could not be sold in-store, their excellent array of cheeses are still available in our local stores… I have a weakness for their cheese, especially their feta, so it was definitely one of my lockdown essentials! 🙂

 

  • Fairview kept the Easter fun alive by hosting a virtual easter egg hunt on their website. Here’s what that meant for the lucky winners: “Find all 9 and win a 15% discount coupon to be used on our online shop! As an added bonus, the first person to use their coupon will receive a 6 bottle Fairview Mystery Box that will be sent with their order. All orders to be shipped as soon as the lockdown is lifted.

 

  • Finally, this past week, the butchery and Goatshed Restaurant launched a soup kitchen for neighouring informal settlements. Chef SJ Nel utilised meat and vegetables from the farm to make some hearty soup for the local residents to enjoy. The Fairview team’s willingness to put others first and assist in a time like this is truly inspiring.

 

How they are still helping:

This is perhaps one of the cutest things that any estate has done during the lockdown period… Because Fairview’s famous goats are one of the estate’s biggest attraction for adults and children alike, Fairview found a way to keep us connected to the goats.

They have set up a live webcam, streamed via their website, for your enjoyment. The live cam is available daily between 07:00 am and 19:00 pm. It features a great view of the Goat Tower and Sky Bridge, as you will see from my screenshot taken while compiling this post. (I envy that goat on the bridge…)

If you are missing seeing the goats, then invite them into your home and enjoy watching them in their goat haven. You can find the live cam linked here.

To keep up to speed with all of Fairview’s activities, follow them on Facebook and Instagram. Or, subscribe to their newsletter for estate news straight to your Inbox.

Oak Valley: Virtual Winemaker’s Tastings and Flower Gifts

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Oak Valley is a gem tucked away in Elgin Valley like so many other local treasures.

This Elgin estate’s wines and people are some of the best you will encounter and the farm is a pleasure to visit. I briefly visited the estate in 2019 – but I will definitely be back to explore it more in time.

They were one of the first estates I noticed doing virtual tastings, hosted by winemaker Jacques Du Plessis – but let’s look at what else they have done to make our lives a bit lighter lately.

What they did to give back:

 

 

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  • Perhaps one of the most touching things they did was give some of their gorgeous estate-produced flowers to both local, unsung heroes/essential workers in Grabouw and the elderly. It was a beautiful gesture of thanks and thoughtfulness.

 

  • Winemaker Jacques Du Plessis – who also self-isolated in the cellar, ensuring the 2020 vintage is of “uncompromising quality” – hosted virtual tastings to keep Oak Valley fans keyed in about the wines.

How they are helping:

 

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If you missed winemaker Jacques’s virtual tastings, you can view the videos on their Facebook and Instagram feeds. In the clips, he shares some interesting insights into some of their wines.

De Grendel’s #TogetherWithWine Series and Food Recipe Ideas

 

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De Grendel is one of the Cape’s most beloved restaurant and wine farms. This is unsurprising as they are an exemplary estate and team of staff.

I have enjoyed visiting and collaborating with De Grendel in the past year and I have learnt that this level of excellence is something that remains consistent throughout.

This Durbanville estate is passionate and concerned about their customers, staff and products – that much is clear.

What they did to give back:

  • De Grendel’s #TogetherWithWine has provided an escape from our ‘four walls’ at home. Cellar master Charles Hopkins has hosted a series of videos where he discusses De Grendel’s wines and the history behind the wines too. These sessions are interesting and informative.

 

  • Meanwhile, Chef Ian Bergh has provided some ‘quarantine cooking’ inspiration with a host of food and wine pairings shared on De Grendel’s feeds, as well as his own Instagram feed.

How they are helping:

 

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If you missed tuning in live to the #TogetherWithWine, you can watch the videos on their Facebook page.

And if you need some cooking inspiration before lockdown ends or simply wish to salivate through your screen, be sure to check out Chef Ian’s food and wine pairings.

Follow De Grendel on Facebook and Instagram or subscribe to their newsletter for new updates.

From the Heart

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Each of these estates has shown us that, during a crisis, their customers, staff and local communities remain the most important thing to them – and that is a true testament to the greatness of each estate.

Disclaimer: No featured estate collaborated with me on this post. I simply picked estates I personally love from experience or which I have featured on my blog because I wanted to share another aspect of these stellar wine farms with my readers. 🙂

It isn’t much – but I hope to offer my support for and admiration to these estates in some small way, while also exposing new online fans to them too. So one day when we can visit these estates again, we will hold them in even higher esteem than before.

I am sure many other local wine farms are also doing wonderfully selfless things to help and give back. These are just the stories I have personally stumbled across and earmarked recently. 

If you know of any other estates who have done or continue to do incredible work to help their customers, staff or communities in this time, please comment below and share this news with us.

Support Local Wine Farms By Ordering Now, Receiving Later

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Although none of us can yet visit our favourite wine farms for an outing, wine tasting or cellar tour, we can still offer support by ordering wine online during this time. 

Remember: you will have to wait for the wines to be delivered – and we don’t yet know when that will be permitted – but the best things in life, like wine, are surely worth the wait…

Please consider supporting these and many other estates during this time by following and supporting them online; sharing your past memories; and ordering wine to enjoy in time when the alcohol restrictions lift. 

Author: Tamlyn Ryan

Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. And, despite a national diploma in Journalism, in her free time, Tamlyn’s preferred niche remains travel writing.

Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.

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