How we see it. A real place where magic happens
Twenty years ago Johan and I decided to leave the city for a quiet and beautiful place in the country. We planned to grow and sell grapes and make a few bottles of wine for fun. But if we thought we could sit on our veranda and watch the grapes grow, life had other plans for us, and we have participated with delight, in a journey towards not only increased sustainability, but into a hive of activities involving many new spaces and a wide range of people.
Thus currently we make natural hand-crafted wines in the old style of the 1900s as well as organic olive and lemon products. We host guests for getaways, retreats, workshops, fairs, music festivals, weddings and other celebrations, and we cook up a storm of seasonal homemade country food using seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Perhaps most exciting has been turning the wonderful wild mountain land of the farm into a gazetted nature reserve.
The journey has had its challenges - with twists and turns that have included hailstorms and mudslides, fearsome fires and fickle market forces, not to mention complex community politics and brain numbing bureaucracies. Part of the farm process has been setting up a farm worker crèche in Jourbertskloof - sadly with only partial success. Another is a determined pursuit to reduce our footprint and to use the farm to encourage conservation and wilderness education.
But whatever events or processes happen at Fynbos it is always at heart a 'real' place – where real things happen to real people. As a result, and greatly heart-warming, is the growth of a community of past guests, friends, staff and volunteers who love the farm and have contributed to it – in whatever way.
Most of all these eighteen years have been a great adventure for Johan and me, and however demanding, we would not have exchanged it for anything. What do we wish for, looking forward? That the adventure continues. That Johan, and Andy our annually visiting UK winemaker, have many harvests from which to make delicious wine. That we get to restock the reserve with indigenous animals. And that we get a bit more time off. But most of all we wish that the abundance of Fynbos and its beauty and peace will continue into the future to inspire people in positive and different ways.
Johan & Diana
By training a molecular biologist, Johan has realised a life-long ambition to farm and make wine.
Diana has always dreamed of living in a nature reserve and of having a small farmyard of animals. She trained, practised and taught as a clinical psychotherapist.
Diana and Johan have also been involved in community development in the area and work on various conservation projects.
Our Home Team
Living and working on the farm are Charles and Priscilla Chigwedere, Doubt Chivasa, Virginia Nyamayedenga. Rose and Arlington Mubani and our longest working employee, Basil Majaja. There is currently one child living on the farm, Nadia Majaja.
Romayne Midgeley runs the office, does the farm books and deals with hospitality bookings. She brings her dog Wobbles, who has made friends with everyone, including the cats.
The Events Team
And then there is a group of lively people who add to the permanent staff to form our Events Team. Volunteers are often roped in to help, and many consider this one of the highlights of their stay at Fynbos.
The Support Team
Johann Human has created and maintains both of our beautiful websites, as well as helping us with label design, and more latterly, marketing. Arnelle from Cape Nature Conservation, was central in getting the nature reserve set up and now helps us maintain it. Finally Andy, our co-winemaker, together with his wife Becky, come each year from the UK to help us make our wine. They then sell their wine made here, and our wine, in the UK through our joint company Rose and Protea.
Fynbos is a member of WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) and we have found this to be a hugely rewarding experience. We have had more than a hundred volunteers over the years, from all over the globe, and we value their contributions enormously. We have made many friends amongst the WWOOFers some of whom keep returning as part of Fynbos family.