In 2004, FTTSA-certified Spier Wine Farm began to overhaul its procurement in order to shift a significant share of its spend to local and black-empowered businesses as a way of creating jobs and helping to curb unemployment, while saving the business money in the process. Since then a few small businesses have been created: the first was a laundry called Klein Begin which services the restaurants and hotel, next was a transport joint venture and lastly a wine bottle reworking company. More ventures are in the pipeline.
Spier had previously outsourced its laundry requirement, but decided to build the laundry infrastructure and ask for tenders to run it. Bernie Samuels, an unemployed father of four, won the tender. Retrenched twice, Samuels had been unemployed since 1999, doing piecemeal jobs to keep up payments on his home and put food on the table – at times only bread. The laundry has been a turning point for him.He is now in a position to pay for his children’s studies and offer them a brighter future. “It is hard work running the laundry,” he says. “Sometimes I work 16 hours a day. I have to ensure the staff and bills are paid, and that I have money in the bank in case I need to buy another machine.” Samuels employs five people from the local community and his wife works with him in the business. In addition to running the business, Samuels has to ensure that his operation delivers on Spier’s environmental aims. Spier also saves approximately 25% on its laundry bill by using Samuels’ laundry.
Spier, located in Stellenbosch outside Cape Town, is one of South Africa’s oldest wine farms, with a heritage dating back to 1692.