The judges were unanimous in their praise for Journey’s End Vineyards genuine commitment to supporting its local community, which led to the creation of a foundation aiming to tackle worsening hunger and poverty within South Africa by providing 10,000 free meals a week via nine soup kitchens.
Western Cape, South Africa (23 January 2021) – Journey’s End Vineyards, the boutique winery and vineyard, owned by the Gabb family, and situated on the mountain slopes above Sir Lowry’s Pass Village in the Helderberg basin, are delighted to have been awarded ‘Ethical Company of the Year’ at The Drinks Business Green Awards 2020.
The Drinks Business, the leading European drinks trade publication, launched their annual Green Awards in 2010. These Awards are dedicated exclusively to green-minded drinks companies, celebrating the eco-conscious and ethical, and drawing attention to green leaders who are benefitting their surroundings socially, ethically, and environmentally, in the hope that it will encourage others to follow in their sustainable footsteps.
On awarding the 2020 Ethical Award to Journey’s End Vineyards, Lucy Shaw, editor of The Drinks Business said, “Our judges were unanimous in their praise for this company’s genuine commitment to supporting its local community, which led to the creation of a foundation aiming to tackle worsening hunger and poverty within South Africa by providing 10,000 free meals a week via nine soup kitchens.” One of the judges described this feat as “extraordinary – they are doing something desperately needed right now in providing food for their local community that has been devastated by the pandemic – it’s a little bit of magic.”
“We are absolutely thrilled to have been awarded Ethical Company of the Year by The Drinks Business. This is a real testament to our dynamic Journey’s End team and our efforts to really help those most at need in our local Helderberg region of South Africa. Having committed ourselves initially to providing 8,000 meals per week for 52 weeks, we set an ambitious target of 10,000 meals a week by the end of October 2020. With the commitment and dedication of our team – we are now cooking and providing over 13,000 meals weekly – with the weekly numbers growing! This is making a real difference in people’s lives who really need help. Aside from our focus on high quality, sustainable wine production – we remain absolutely committed as Journeys End to supporting the community and those most at need through thick and thin – even during what was an incredibly challenging year for the South African wine industry at large.” says managing director, Rollo Gabb.
Journey’s End submission statement to the drinks business!
Journey’s End (JE), founded in 1996 when the Gabb family took over the estate, has always been wholly committed to farming sustainably and ethically.
JE was the second wine farm in South Africa to convert to solar energy, doing so in 2014. It became Fairtrade certified in 2017 and are on track to achieve BWI Champion Status by the end of 2020, having initially been BWI accredited in 2013, along with WIETA and IPW accreditations the same year. JE this year, continues to sponsor underprivileged candidates with their WSET courses through PIWOSA Women in Wine Initiative.
In 2020 the NGO, Journey’s End Foundation-funded entirely by Journey’s End, was established to support the local community in response to the worsening poverty and hunger as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. The goal was to provide 10,000 meals a week by the end of October 2020 via nine soup kitchens. This target was reached ahead of schedule in mid-October. These meals are produced and distributed by the Foundation free of charge to those most in need in the Helderberg region. Journey’s End Foundation has committed to continue this community support over the next 12 months, with the target to provide a total of over 520,000 meals.
JE has also been funding the food for the local Mila’s Angels creche every month and will continue to do so through the Journey’s End Foundation initiative going forward.
Elsewhere in the community, JE completed building works on a new school hall in Sir Lowry’s Pass in 2018, home to two assemblies a day for 1500 children, and it continues to fund Hettie Orffer’s ‘Beat the Bully’ initiative (now part of the curriculum), helping to eradicate bullying in township schools through education, support, and programme ambassadors.
In regard to the environment, as JE is the most southerly planted vineyard in Stellenbosch and closest to the sea, this unique location gives the farm its own micro-climate resulting in minimal intervention wine practices, producing wines that are unique while remaining true to their terroir.
In the cellar, winemakers Leon Esterhuizen and Mike Dawson use processes such as carbonic maceration, push boundaries with amphorae pots and concrete eggs and have adopted a philosophy of minimal intervention, both in the cellar and in the vineyards.
15ha of land on the estate has been set aside for a re-wilding and conservation project protecting plants and animals, and similar respect for the environment can be seen across the whole winery.
Journey’s End has over 40 beehives on the farm that encourage pollination, promote biodiversity, and provide delicious honey. The presence of bees on a farm also indicates a healthy and clean vineyard, helped too by Egyptian Geese which eat insects along with the vines. Similarly, a pair of resident Spotted Eagle Owls are responsible for rodent management.
JE is extremely vigilant with water conservation and supply. The vineyard has drip irrigation in place, and rainwater is pulled from three catchment dams, as well as a borehole. All dirty water from the cellar is cleaned on the farm through JE’s treatment plant and filtered back into the dams.
Within the workplace, Journey’s End ensures that all workers have access to training in HR, compliance, export and logistics, finance and wine training. This year there are currently seven employees finishing off their training courses.