The Buyer
South Africa’s wine trade rallies support for the vulnerable

South Africa’s wine trade rallies support for the vulnerable

At a time when we are looking to help others not only in our own communities but around the country and the world, our minds turn to the situation in South Africa where the impact on the country’s on-going lockdown is having a dire impact on already vulnerable communities who are now running out of food and supplies and desperately need help. Here’s how you can get involved and show your support.

Richard Siddle
17th April 2020by Richard Siddle
posted in People,People: Producer,

The South African wine community is coming together to galvanise international support to help vulnerable communities caught up in the country’s national lockdown with two key initiatives championed by the wine industry’s, Bruce Jack and Ross Sleet.

South African wine producer Bruce Jack has a way with words that make you sit up and take notice. So when he says many communities in South Africa face a “socio-economic disaster” as a result of the country’s national lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19 it puts many of the issues we are tackling with in our own communities in stark contrast.

“Already poor, the shutdown has completely shut off all financial in-flows and people here are desperately hungry,” Jack told The Buyer this week.

He is looking to play his part by working with local government bodies to help raise money through his existing Headstart Charitable Trust, that he already runs to support families in his local community.

He is also now calling on the wider wine industry to see what they can also do to help support and donate much needed money to help the poor of South Africa at this time.

He explained: “There are a myriad issues which have led to this situation, including our area being previously disregarded in terms of relief measures and the unusually high level of piecemeal workers that live hand-to-mouth of a daily and weekly basis. These workers have had no income since the shutdown. The promised government relief packages are incredibly difficult to access for these people.

He added: “Farmers are coming to the rescue. Soup kitchens have been established in rural villages and storage facilities made available…but we need food. Our Charitable Trust has been asked by elected representatives, farmers and religious leaders to help coordinate financial donations and food collections and food donations.”

Stellenbosch Unite

Fellow South African wine producer, Ross Sleet of Rascallion Wines, is also looking to do what he can to help raise awareness of the situation in and around Stellenbosch, the centre and heart beat of the South African wine industry.

Sleet says a number of Stellenbosch organisations have come together to try and help the most vulnerable members of its community, by creating the Stellenbosch Unite initiative.

It is a joint collaboration between Stellenbosch Municipality, Stellenbosch University, tourism organisation Visit Stellenbosch, the Stellenbosch Civil Advocacy Network which represents non-profit community action groups, Ranyaka, and the Greater Stellenbosch Development Trust.

Stellenbosch Unite is looking to provide food aid to those families that have lost all their incomes due to the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

Jeanneret Momberg, general manager of Visit Stellenbosch, explains: “These most vulnerable members of our community are the people that we used to see every day on the streets and in the restaurants and bars of our town, or who work in the homes of Stellenbosch residents. They have lost their entire income and we have to help and alleviate their situation wherever we can.”

The most pressing need is money. “We desperately need donations of any size. The cost to feed the 3,300 families we support is approximately R270,000 per week. So far through the immense generosity of visitors to Stellenbosch, local residents and companies based in the town, we have raised approximately R915,000, but we need more. We are appealing to the greater wine community around the world who have enjoyed and continue to enjoy Stellenbosch wines to please assist us. Wine links run deep within our community. Wine and wine tourism is the life blood of our town, and our community needs your help please, urgently.”

As well as the money that has been raised, local farmers have donated over 15 tons of food to the appeal in the last two weeks.

The initiative is looking to raise R80 per parcel of food. “Eighty Rand is less than $5.00, so if you are in the UK, US, Germany, Canada, Japan, or Johannesburg, please consider how you can help the community that you have enjoyed visiting, staying in, or studying in,” added Momberg.

A food parcel consists of: 1kg Maize Meal, 1 kg Rice, 500g Soup Mix, 500gof dry beans, 2 x Packets Soup Powder, 2 x Tins of Baked Beans, 1 x Packet of Salt, 1 x Sunlight Soap

To make a donation to Stellenbosch Unite please visit
GivenGain cause 22307

To offer support for Bruce Jack please contact him at and you can make a donation directly to:

The HeadStart Trust, at the RMB (Rand Merchant Bank).

Branch code: 202709
Account: 62845089110

Swift Code: FIRNZAJJ.
Please include the word RELIEF with your donation and the The HeadStart Trust Charitable Trust Number is IT 721/2019(C).