Research supported thinking that the cooler sea breezes against the nearby coastal mountain range were ideal for the production of quality white wines. The pioneering work done on the now established estate resulted in primarily plantings of the Sauvignon Blanc cultivar, processed as a still white wine but then also the first in the country to undergo traditional bottle-fermentation to produce a sparkling champagne known in South Africa as MCC – Method Cap Classique. This was soon reaping awards. Subsequently other cultivars, both white and red, have been introduced to expand operations.
|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 region’s innovative but expanding wine industry owes its beginnings to the vision and determination of the then land-owner of the general farming land whose research supported thinking that the cooler sea breezes against the nearby coastal mountain range were ideal for the production of quality white wines. The pioneering work done on the now established estate spurred the development of other vineyards in the area, some of which share the cellar maturation and bottling facilities on the property.
The initial plantings were primarily the Sauvignon Blanc cultivar, processed as a still white wine but then also the first in the country to undergo traditional bottle-fermentation to produce a sparkling champagne known in South Africa as MCC – Method Cap Classique. This enjoyed a most favourable reception at presentations and was soon reaping awards. Subsequently other cultivars, both white and red, have been introduced to expand operations.
The wines are available for tasting at their dedicated centre and as a standard feature of their restaurant menu. The restaurant is famed for its home-baked breads as an accompaniment to an easy ‘pick & choose’ meze-style menu of cheeses, meats, pate’s & preserves to be enjoyed at tables set amidst the vineyards or under cover in the main building should weather play its hand. The restaurant is mainly a lunchtime and early-afternoon venue but for special functions and during peak year-end summer season, will extend hours into the evening. Over season they also offer picnic hampers.
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 usually a Monday to Friday cycle but could include weekends during the busy harvest and pressing time. Outside of the summer year-end peak-season, when hospitality operates seven days a week, the restaurant and tasting activities tend to peak from Fridays through to Sundays so are closed on Mondays. By arrangement, you may be requested to work in hospitality for part or all of the weekend, taking time off on 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 unless prior arrangements have been mutually agreed for you to participate in activities and take time off during the week in lieu of the weekend or holiday time worked.
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 an accommodation venue based in The Crags, a rural suburb of greater Plettenberg Bay, about 25 minutes away from the main town of Plettenberg Bay. The property is set in a 5-hectare small-holding amidst indigenous forest and open grazing pastures.
You are accommodated in fully equipped shared double and/or dorm rooms and, where required, will 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 (frequently fired up for the Friday evening meal), while close by is a golf practice putting green and a proper boule/petanque track where guests soon get to know their co-guests.
Bedding is provided and you are free to use the washing machine when you wish to launder your clothing. 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!"