Vineyard workers become owners of own brand

22 May 2023

by Joy January

Twenty Akkedisberg vineyard workers recently launched their first wine, Southern Treasure Pinotage 2021, at the Raka wine estate.

This group of workers has been cultivating soil and vineyards in the Overberg wine region for decades. The Akkedisberg farm, which is a company with a trust as shareholders and beneficiaries, was established in 2013 and leases 16 hectares of land from the Raka wine estate with a 30-year agreement.

“This is a story about a respected family business, the Dreyer family and a committed mentor who went on a journey with their workers to create and build a dream,” says Wendy Petersen, executive manager of the South African Wine Industry Transformation Unit (SAWITU).

“The story behind the new brand is about how this community lives together as one with what nature offers them and how there is a mutual appreciation. Now a hidden treasure from the Kleinriviervallei is bottled for everyone to enjoy and appreciate.”

Mentorship and capital for quality wine

Through the guidance of their mentor, Josef Dreyer, and their two directors, Mariette Moos and Christel Moses, Akkedisberg was able to make its first barrel-aged Southern Treasures Pinotage 2021 from grapes from its own vineyards. This wine has aromas of ripe cherry, blackberry, plum and a little bit of oak which, according to the farm, indicates a promise of ageing potential.

Since his childhood, Josef has experienced how his father sometimes adjusted his farming. He replaced citrus with vineyards, built a cellar and started an empowerment project in the fishing industry. The Dreyers supported Akkedisberg to apply for a vineyard planting project from Vinpro in 2014, as well as investing capital in a fishing business. The first vineyards were planted in 2015 and included Sangiovese, Pinotage, and Malbec. The grapes were initially sold to the Raka wine farm, but by 2019 the members were very eager to establish their own label.

According to Josef, the aim of the project is to empower the workers by imparting skills to them. “I would not be able to afford to do a project like this on my own. Capital is important, and that is where the Western Cape and national government comes in, having given most of the money. SAWITU also made financial contributions and provided mentorship and leadership. My contribution is my time and my love for our community.”

Mariëtte Moos says she never dreamed that she would ever grow her own vineyard or launch her own wine. “The project and the people I have met over the past eight years are very inspiring to me. Now I know that I can do something, not just for myself but also for people around me.”

Christel Moses emphasises the role of SAWITU. “If it weren’t for Wendy Petersen, SAWITU and the government, we would not have gotten to this point. We as workers are proud to have been chosen for this project. The money is used for our vineyards, which includes the purchasing of sticks and poles, planting, spraying, water and electricity, tractors, fuel and more, as well as for our wine, from the bottles to the labels and marketing materials.”

“Come experience the most northern point of the most southern mountain range in Africa,” invites Josef. There is only a limited supply of about 5 000 bottles of the Southern Treasures Pinotage 2021 available. It can be purchased for R300 per bottle at Raka Wines between Caledon and Stanford. 

Send an email to or dial +27(0)283410676 for more information.

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