Nurturing the Next Generation: How Agulhas Wine Farms Support Youth and Future Winemakers

By Letitia Charles | 27th June 2024

Nestled in the southernmost tip of Africa, the Agulhas Wine Triangle in the Western Cape is not only home to some of the most breathtaking landscapes and unique terroirs but also to a community of wine farms dedicated to fostering the next generation of winemakers. These wine farms understand that the future of their craft lies in the hands of today’s youth and have taken proactive steps to support and nurture young talent. Here, we delve into five exceptional Cape Agulhas wine farms that are paving the way for the winemakers of tomorrow.

Nurturing the Next Generation: How Agulhas Wine Farms Support Youth and Future Winemakers

1. Strandveld Vineyards

Strandveld Vineyards, situated near the windswept coast of the Agulhas region, is renowned for its distinctive wines and its commitment to education and mentorship. As part of their commitment to giving back, Strandveld Vineyards initiated a project to support education. One of their notable wines is the “Little Friends” Syrah 2017, which contributes to this cause. The vineyard offers internship programs that provide young aspiring winemakers with hands-on experience in viticulture and oenology. Through partnerships with local schools and universities, Strandveld Vineyards also facilitates educational workshops and vineyard tours, allowing students to learn about the intricacies of winemaking. In March 2017, twenty Grade 4 learners from the Elim Primary School joined the Strandveld Vineyards team for a fun and educational day at the winery hand harvesting and foot stomping the grapes which created one 300 litre barrel of Syrah. By engaging the youth in practical and theoretical learning, Strandveld Vineyards ensures that the passion for winemaking is passed down to future generations.

A wine farm definitely worth the visit!

2. Black Oystercatcher

Black Oystercatcher is more than just a wine farm in the Agulhas Wine Triangle; it’s a hub of innovation and sustainability. This family-owned estate prioritizes environmental stewardship while also investing in the community’s youth. A notable story to tell is one of their Assistant Winemaker, Willem Pietersen, who started 12 years ago as a cellar hand and is now not only crafting Black Oystercatcher wine but also making his own Malbec.
No visit is complete without a wine-tasting experience along with their delicious platters and a relaxing stay in their self-catering cottages overlooking the Nuwejaars Wetlands.

3. The Berrio

If you make a journey out to the southernmost tip of Africa’s wine region, then make sure you stop by and enjoy a wine tasting (by appointment) of the unique and unusual wines at The Berrio. Giving back to the community is priority for the wonderful team at The Berrio - The Headstart Trust was established in memory of winemaker Bruce Jack’s mother, Elspeth. This registered charitable trust focuses on social upliftment through educational outreach programs. Elspeth’s keen interest in the local community left an indelible mark on her son Bruce, who continues her work through the trust. A wonderful legacy for a wonderful wine.

4. Zoetendal Vineyards

Zoetendal Vineyards offers a delightful experience in the heart of the Agulhas Plain - Explore their premium vineyards and savour their fine wines. Stay in the gracious old Manor House for a touch of elegance and be sure to include an invigorating hiking or biking experience along the scenic trails. Birdwatching and Game Drives are also available where you can leisurely observe the local wildlife. The area is renowned for its fynbos kingdom, making it a unique and biodiverse environment that the Zoetendal take particular care of.

5. Sijnn Wines

Sijnn Wine Farm  - a beautiful pioneering wine estate located in Malgas, at the southern tip of Africa in the Agulhas Wine Triangle - offers a unique escape for wine enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Visitors can embark on guided tours through the picturesque vineyards, savouring tastings of their distinctive wines. Additionally, the farm provides an immersive experience with opportunities for picnics by the Breede River, hikes through the surrounding fynbos, and stays in charming, rustic accommodations that allow you to fully absorb the tranquility and charm of this hidden gem. Sijnn Wine Farm is dedicated to outreach work that includes supporting local communities through sustainable farming practices, ensuring both social and environmental well-being.

The wine farms in the Agulhas region are more than just producers of exceptional wines; they are custodians of knowledge, tradition, and innovation. Next time you sip on a fine Agulhas wine, remember that you’re tasting the fruits of a region that values and nurtures its future generation as well as the earth it thrives upon!