AN INITIATIVE started by the Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) in 2012 with the planting of five hectares of grapes at the Shiloh Irrigation Scheme in Whittlesea has come to fruition with the first community wine ever produced in the province a result, CHDM communications manager Thobeka Mqamelo said.
She said the vineyard was run by Mayime Cooperative which had 395 beneficiaries. Mqamelo said CHDM executive mayor Koliswa Vimbayo recently led a high powered delegation to the Western Cape in Stellenbosch in a bid to explore possible avenues for the winery to become a success. The delegation visited Lategaanskop, Bergsig and Botha Kelder wineries to draw experience from knowledgeable growers and wine producers in the area.
“An additional seven hectares of grapes was planted in 2015 through an investment led by the Chris Hani Development Agency. This also included procurement of tractors and equipment for the vineyard.
The Shiloh Vineyard currently provides employment to 20 people for general maintenance which includes weeding, prunning and spraying.”
The scheme produces a Chardonnay, which is white wine, and a Pinotage, a red wine.
Through a partnership with Farm Vision the plan was to plant about 100 hectares over a five–year period. Vimbayo said the district municipality, through the CHDA, has developed a business plan to raise funding for the establishment of the winery.
“Approximately R10,5-million investment is required to build a winery in the Shilo Vineyard and a further investment to build the primary agriculture in those areas. The intention is to ensure that the complete value chain which leads up to bottling and labeling happens within the precinct. This will also give a major boost to the local economy.”
Vimabyo said the Shiloh Vineyard would be launched on Wednesday.