The farm is a family established, boutique wine estate that has successfully grown in size and reputation since its humble beginnings in 2008 when the first pioneering hectare of Sauvignon Blanc was planted. In the intervening years, the estate has developed further vineyards and introduced additional grape cultivar varietals.
|Location||The Crags, Plettenberg Bay, South Africa|
|Duration||From 2 - 12 weeks|
|Dates||All year round|
|Documents required||Enrolment form, curriculum vitae, letter of motivation, passport copy, proof of medical insurance|
|Day of arrival||Sunday|
|Day of departure||Sunday|
The farm is a family established, boutique wine estate that has successfully grown in size and reputation since its humble beginnings in 2008 when the first pioneering hectare of Sauvignon Blanc was planted. In the intervening years, the estate has developed further vineyards and introduced additional grape cultivar varietals. The wine farm produces both white and red wines plus traditional bottle-fermented champagne known in South Africa as MCC – Method Cap Classique. Cultivars include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. These wines are available at tasting sessions as well as a standard menu feature of their lunch-time-only restaurant offering ‘uncomplicated farm-style cuisine’ where guests are advised to arrive hungry. The open setting adjacent to a small dam quickly lets one shrug off the routine pressures of urban living and lose track of time.
The managers are justifiably proud of what they have achieved to date, for in every phase they have not only envisaged and planned what was required but have had a direct involvement in its very implementation while working alongside their small team of core staff to direct their training and development. If a water system needed fitting, they did it; if meal menus had to be prepared and tested, they did it. So virtually all aspects of the estate, their produce and the hospitality on offer, have been typified by direct contributions from the managers who have a deep-rooted practical knowledge of what works – something the typical volunteer can draw on to add to their personal set of skills and experience.
In addition, they are positively directed towards the strategic objective of further empowering members of the historically disadvantaged local community by constantly exploring means of broadening their economic participation through adding to their skills via crafts, cash crop cultivation and other means. Volunteers will be expected to contribute of their skills and time to further these activities.
Volunteers are involved in a wide range of wine-specific agricultural activities including initial ground-breaking and preparation of new vineyards, trellis construction, irrigation network installation, planting, care of existing and new vines, the busy harvest period, pruning and wine maturation.
The general farming activities are on the go seven days a week while restaurant hospitality activities tend to peak from Fridays through to Sundays but are closed on Mondays. By arrangement, you may be requested to work in hospitality for part or all of the weekend and receive other days of the week off in lieu of this.
However, the general routine programme for Mondays to Fridays could look like this:
Any public holidays, whether falling on weekdays or weekends, will follow the Saturday/Sunday routine.
Please note that the seasonal nature of the vine and wine cycle PLUS the heightened hospitality demands from October to Easter as well as the peak year-end summer season will result in a different focus on activities at different times of the year, so a placement during the South African summer will be substantially different to one during the more dormant mid-year.
It is important to note that this description serves as an example only. The daily tasks and challenges depend on the volunteer, the time of year and the work that needs to be done. The final job description can therefore vary substantially from the above.
You will stay in a backpackers’ based in The Crags, a rural suburb of greater Plettenberg Bay. The backpackers’ is set in a 5-hectare small-holding amidst indigenous forest and open grazing pastures. You are accommodated in shared dorm rooms and/or in under-cover luxury Safari bow-tents that come fully equipped with carpets, beds, linen, electric blankets, lights etc. You will, where required, be sharing with one or up to three other volunteers. There are numerous bathrooms for communal access and use. The main homestead is equipped with an office, TV lounge, two kitchens plus a large verandah, with a residents’ bar, and two fire-hearths for those chilly nights. It is here that guests and hosts gather for social interaction and where evening meals are served for all to enjoy. Immediately adjacent is an outdoor braai (BBQ) area, while close by, is a combination plunge pool/hot-tub (the latter fired up for Fridays) plus a golf practice putting green and a proper boule/petanque track where guests soon get to know their co-guests. Bedding and towels are provided and your laundry will be regularly done on a wash-and-fold basis by the housekeeper. Free WiFi is available at the main homestead area only.
Raissa from Brazil ()
"The wine farm project is a complete experience with wine, food and people. You learn everything about growing grapes, tasting wine and food and how this combination can make people feel happy! This was an unforgettable experience!"