South Africa’s world-renowned wine industry has been one of the industries that has been hit the hardest by the past year’s COVID-19 regulations. According to Vinpro, we’re looking at an overall loss of over R8 billion in direct sales revenue for the wine industry alone. As traditional business models and revenue streams literally dried up over night, wine farms have had to reinvent the wheel in a bid to survive. Avondale Wine Estate is a case in point.
Situated on the slopes of the Klein Drakenstein Mountains just outside of Paarl in the Western Cape, the family owned and run wine estate is well-known for its award-winning wines. Johnathan Grieve, proprietor of Avondale Wine Estate says that had it not been for their export component, they wouldn’t have made it. Avondale employs at least 70 full-time and seasonal workers and the majority of these workers come from the surrounding areas. They also operate a community centre, including a well-resourced creche and aftercare facilities for children that live on the farm.
Although they had the export business, it was not enough to ensure their sustainability. The wine estate is home to FABER Restaurant, which has been named as one of the Top 30 Restaurants in South Africa, the Best Garden Restaurant in Africa, the Most Unique Experience in Africa and Best Restaurant View in South Africa. During lockdown, Chef Dale and his team turned FABER into a community outreach programme that provided at least 1000 meals to HEART NPO five days of the week for three months.
“It gave us the opportunity to support an immediate need in our community, whilst we formulated our thinking and plans moving forward.”
Over the past twelve months, Avondale has diversified its offering across several areas in addition to its award-winning food and organic and biodynamic wines. Being so close to nature, they’ve found new inspiration from what Mother Nature has to offer and a visit to Avondale is now not just a visit, but a true experience. They now offer access to their home, their gardens and the farm’s natural beauty.
So, next time you visit Avondale, don’t just taste and buy their exquisite wines or dine at FABER. Go ahead and experience all their new outdoor and other activities (all compliant to the COVID-19 regulations and protocols, of course) too. Here are your options:
Avondale Eco Wine Safari
You can taste Avondale‘s wine in the actual vineyards while learning more about the origin of their organic and biodynamic ‘slow wine’ process and the crafted detail that comes with every bottle of wine (from origin of the soil to its specially chosen name and label design).
Avondale Garden Bar
Surrounded by breathtaking scenery, end off your week with the perfect glass of Avondale wine (or even a gin cocktail) in Avondale’s gardens.
You’ll kick yourself if you don’t at least take a peek inside. At Avondale‘s OCHRA Deli you’ll find produce from local like-minded suppliers, ready-made meals from FABER and the full range of Avondale wines. The deli also serves breakfast and lunch on Saturdays and Sundays, using fresh produce from surrounding farms and suppliers and of course, Avondale‘s organic eggs.
Avondale has six private picnic tables in their gardens, either overlooking the mountains or located under large, oak trees next to a stream. They fill their picnic baskets with delectable treats from both FABER Restaurant and OCHRA Deli.
Avondale farm walks
Without nature’s inspiration, things would have been much different at Avondale I would imagine. That’s why a walk on the farm is such a good idea – to see where their inspiration comes from. Visit on a Saturday and explore the farm’s natural fauna and flora on one of their many walking routes.
Avondale venue hire
As if the above is not enough, you also get to use Avondale exclusively for your own events – whether it’s a birthday celebration or a corporate meeting. Couple your event with a private wine tasting and a lovely lunch and Bob’s your uncle!
If you’re not in the area, but you’d still like to experience a bit of Avondale, consider signing up for their Member’s Club, which sees up to 20% discount, free delivery and complimentary wine tastings.
Grieve says: “It’s been an extraordinary couple of months. Unprecedented times call for determination and resilience, and an open mindedness to look at things differently. We are cautiously optimistic that the expansion of our offering will help us continue to navigate the challenges of these times – both for our own sustainability and the resulting continued delivery of a positive impact on the community and surrounding areas in which we operate.”
I love it when challenges bring positive change.
Image credits: Claire Gunn