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Producer Profiles

Du Toitskloof Cooperative

Du Toitskloof Wines is a prominent South African producer of a wide range of white and red cultivar and blended wines, in addition to noble late harvest and fortified wines. It is located near the town of Rawsonville in the Breede River Valley, at the entrance of the Du Toitskloof Mountain Pass.

Du Toitskloof Wines was established by six wine farmers as a cooperative in 1962. Today, it has an estimated 22 members, many of them second-generation descendants of the founders. They live in a close-knit community within a 10 kilometers radius from the cellar and take much pride and interest in their work.

In April 2005, Du Toitskloof Wines joined forces with Origin Wine to collectively work on improving workers’ and families’ standards of life. Du Toitskloof’s farms became Fair Trade Certified™ in September this same year, and a Joint Body was formed consisting of forty farm workers, two farm owner representatives and one exporter representative. The collaboration was registered nationally as a legal entity and was named the Fairhills Association. Du Toitskloof is funded by the sales of their quarter-ownership of the Fairhills Wine brand and the Fair Trade premium.

Du Toitskloof has the capacity to make fifteen million liters of wine, which allows the Fairhills Wine brand ample room to grow. In 2005 alone, 1.2 million liters were exported to the UK under the Fair Trade logo, with an estimated 10 million liters of certified Fair Trade wine available at this moment.

The ultimate goal of the Fairhills Association is to purchase and cultivate its own farmland and become entirely self-sustainable. They also plan to turn parts of their land into an eco-tourism haven.
 

Quotable

I can now say that with the assistance of Fair Trade, all farms participating in the Fairhills initiative count on valid employment contracts and access to many disciplinary and grievance systems helping employees receive social and medical benefits, salary bonuses, retirement funds and even access to a housing improvement program.  

Jan Vermeulen

With the assistance and guidance of our contributors, we as a community can move mountains in improving the conditions of our community and shaping the future for the next generation of the Fairhills Community.  

Cynthia Pieterson

This initiative has given us a better understanding of our relationship with our employer and has brought farmers closer together as a working community.  

Jan Vermeulen

Programs

A Community Library

The Fair Trade premium has helped build a fully equipped library at the association headquarters for community and member use.

After School Tutoring

With Fair Trade premiums, the Fairhills Association introduced an aftercare and tutoring program for students and young children.

Craft Shop and Employment Opportunities

The Fairhills Association established a hand craft shop with a fully equipped coffee shop, co-owned by employees and community members. The business employed 14 individuals, three of which were born with alcohol syndrome but could still work. Most workers at the Craft Shop are women.

Day Care and Training for Facilitators

In 2007, three day care facilities were established by the Fairhills Association servicing an estimated 210 infants and toddlers. Several community members, with potential and interest in helping manage the daycare center, were trained to become facilitators. These individuals, about 24 in total, continued their studies via distant learning while they worked.