Letter from the CEO
February marks the heart of harvest for us. We are finishing off bringing in the whites, and we will be harvesting the majority of our red grapes during this month. The harvest marks the beginning of the year for me, the beginning of a cycle.
A cycle is characterised by a beginning and an end. This harvest sees the end of the multi-decade cycle of Eron and Maria. Eron and Maria are two of our senior supervisors. They are leaving Backsberg. And, actually, I’m thrilled.
Eron and Maria are a husband and wife duo who have acted as a vital supervisor layer between farm management and workers. They have been a fundamental part of operations.
Eron has, amongst other tasks, managed irrigation across many of our farm properties. He has also been in charge of the transport of our teams.
Maria has led teams of workers through critical parts of the season, be it harvest or pruning. She has always kept a beady eye on the clock, motivating and cajoling workers to get the most out of the day. She has never been shy to use her signature rallying cry, ‘khawuleza’! (The word means ‘hurry’ in isiXhosa.)
They have worked at Backsberg for close on twenty years. Now they are leaving to form a labour and fruit brokering business. Whilst on the short term this is going to be a blow to our operations, it is really a fantastic result. That they feel comfortable taking this bold step is great.
Technical knowledge in agriculture is obviously critical, but if you can’t get the job done in the field, that knowledge counts for naught. Eron and Maria have played a large role in translating the technical knowledge from management into practice in the field.
The 2017 vintage will be Eron and Maria’s last one at Backsberg. From everyone at the farm, we wish them everything of the best on their new adventure.
That’s it for now; time to khawuleza.
~ Simon ~