The South African vineyard where all workers are co-owners


At the Bosman Family Vineyards, harvesters, wine makers and workers all have a stake in the business which operates as a sustainable farming community.


The Bosman Family Vineyards has recently won the latest in a series of accolades: Ethical Company of the Year in the Drinks Business Green Awards 2016. The family-run South African vineyards became Fairtrade certified in 2007, enabling them to deliver significant, award-winning impact to peoples’ lives. The company is driven by helping their community, particularly through the Adama Apollo Workers Trust, which has given a share of 430 hectares of prime vineyard land to 260 permanent workers. It means that workers all have a strong stake in the business. They are co-owners, with a powerful incentive to improve the quality of their produce, and the quality of life for employees.

Rita Andreas, whose family has worked the land for generations, proudly says: “I never thought I would be a co-owner of a big farm that my ancestors were part of.”

Fairtrade’s driving force is to empower farmers and workers. As Rita’s story shows, in the context of South Africa the transfer of ownership to the Adama Trust is motivated by empowering black people in a country where the history of the apartheid continues to have an impact on their socio and economic development. The Adama Trust, of which Rita is the chair, takes ownership by deciding how to invest the Fairtrade Premium, generated by Bosman Family Vineyards’ Fairtrade wine sales.

Lucy Warner, national account and business manager at Bosman, says this amounts to approximately 5p in every bottle: “It doesn’t sound like much but that really makes a huge difference. Before Fairtrade, there were benefits to the workers but the reach is much bigger now that we can generate a budget through the sales of Fairtrade wines. Fairtrade standards also empower workers to negotiate with employees.”

Read more on The Guardian.