The 6th of August is Farmworkers Appreciation Day, an annual day to give thanks for the efforts of the many people who work so hard to help keep the world fed, and in our case – keep the wine flowing!

We undoubtedly could not do what we do at Groot Constantia without the valuable efforts of our team of farmworkers, who keep the estate productive and beautiful throughout the year – and in fact have been doing so for 334 years!

One day is not enough

At Groot Constantia we have taken the approach of not only appreciating and looking after our staff for one day of the year – but rather we strive to continuously ensure their lives are bettered, that they, and their families, are safe and happy.

The Estate has a range of programmes and initiatives in place to nurture employee well-being. These include long service awards and loyalty rewards, life skills, personal development and wellness programmes (such as our athletics club), early childhood development and after-school care – to name a few.

Education is key

We look long-term, and are striving to foster the next generation through an early childhood development (ECD) programme and have set up a crèche on the farm (with a fully qualified crèche teacher and Educare teacher assistant) where our resident farmworkers’ babies and young children are cared for, free of charge. This also allows our employees to relax knowing their children are safe and cared for in a nurturing environment while they are at work.

In addition to the crèche, we offer free after-school care and homework assistance through the Anna Foundation After-School Class programme. During the term we transport our employees’ children to various schools in the area in our 37-seater school bus, and also transport them to sports events and school activities. During the school holidays we run holiday programmes and take the children out on regular educational excursions.

Groot Constantia was instrumental in generating funds for the upgrading of the technology room at Constantia Primary as well as for painting parts of the school. We contribute to the salary of one of the teachers at the school on an ongoing basis.

A place to call home

Further examples of measures in place to foster employee well-being include fee accommodation on the estate to employees – in housing which we maintain rigorously through our housing committee, free electricity and water, and free wi-fi to all the staff houses.

When it comes to the day-to-day working conditions of our employees Groot Constantia is committed to the highest Health and Safety standards and endeavours to comply to every aspect of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, with risk assessments taking place regularly. We also use health and safety consultants to advise us where we can improve, if required, and further look after our valuable team.

Groot Constantia has pledged our commitment to looking after our employees on an ongoing basis, to treating them with respect at all times and upholding the human dignity of each and every employee, whilst at the same time doing everything within our means to improve their lives and the lives of their children.

We urge the general public to stop and give some thought to the farmworkers who made their plate of food and glass of wine possible – and on the 6th of August, raise a glass of Groot Constantia wine and say cheers to these men and women who work so hard under the African sun.