This Women’s Month, Spier Wine Farm will be celebrating the women entrepreneurs it has worked with over the past two decades. Women play a pivotal role not only within Spier’s business, but also in the businesses it has helped to incubate.
Through financial support, mentoring and purchasing guarantees, Spier has long assisted former employees to develop their own thriving independent micro-enterprises. Several of them — including a wine analysis laboratory, laundry service and staff restaurant, are fully women- owned.
“We are proud to be associated with these dynamic, hard-working and talented women,” says Mariota Enthoven, Spier’s Owner.
Merecia Smith and WAS Laboratory
Smith joined Spier in 1998 as a general worker and first started working in the wine analysis laboratory four years later. Her hard work and accuracy saw her rise through the ranks, from being an assistant to ultimately becoming the lab’s manager in 2018. With Spier’s support, Merecia launched her business, Wine Analytical Services (WASLab) in July 2019. This is the Western Cape’s first black-owned wine analysis laboratory.
The results of nearly 20 tests performed routinely on wine samples provide vital scientific information that enables the winemakers to make informed decisions on whether they should make adjustments during the winemaking process.
“It’s satisfying knowing that I’m helping to make good wine even better. The winemakers know they can sleep soundly because the analysis is in good hands,” explains Smith.
Spier provides WAS Laboratory with accounting and administrative services, allowing Merecia to focus on her lab work. The farm is also providing free rent, electricity, water and internet for her first two years of operations and a loan that has gone towards new equipment and startup costs. Now that she’s hit her stride with Spier as her main client, Merecia is already looking to grow her business by bringing on new customers.
Roseline Samuel and the Klein Begin On-site Laundry
Instead of outsourcing laundry, Spier set up the infrastructure and equipment for one on-site, before asking for tenders from the community to run it. The tender was awarded Bernie Samuel, who launched it in 2004 with a staff of three. Roseline Samuel, his wife, took over the business when he sadly passed away. Klein Begin’s daily laundry load includes tablecloths, towels, serviettes and pillowcases from the Spier Hotel and Restaurant, as well as from the Spier Spa and other restaurants on the estate.
With an interest-free loan from Spier, Samuel recently purchased a near-waterless Xeros machine. This uses revolutionary technology to drastically reduce the amount of water and electricity required for each wash.
Noviwe Lubisi and the Spier Staff Canteen
Noviwe Lubisi joined Spier in April 1998 as a cleaner in the former Spier Bakery. She worked her way up within the company, ultimately becoming a Sous Chef in the Banqueting Kitchen. In the last year of her employment with Spier, she often spoke about her dream of wanting to be her own boss and open a catering business.
“Seeing so much potential in her dream, we offered to back her and be her first client – thus giving her the support she needed to launch her own business,” says Hotel Manager, Debbie-Lee Godfrey.
Spier provides Lubisi with the space and all the necessary equipment and crockery to run a canteen. The company also gave her a loan to assist with start-up costs. She offers staff a delicious, warm cooked lunch and dinner as well as miscellaneous items and snacks.
Growing for Good
The support of micro-enterprises forms part of Spier Growing for Good, where the wine farm invests in learning initiatives that empower communities to create positive social and environmental change.
All Spier wines and offerings display the Growing for Good icon – a heart in a vine leaf that represents both the community and environment.
“Our focus on learning is because of its ability to unleash the potential of people. These catalyses a ripple effect of positive change that goes far beyond Spier,” says Enthoven. “The Growing for Good icon reminds consumers that, by choosing Spier, they are contributing to a positive social and environmental impact. Their valued support ensures we can continue to invest in projects that make a meaningful difference.”By choosing Spier, you are supporting Spier’s Growing for Good learning initiatives that empower communities to create positive social and environmental change