Western Cape, South Africa
An 18th century adventure into the heart of Africa
Rouxvale’s origin dates back to 1761 when the Van Zyl family left the Netherlands and arrived at the Western Cape. While most new settlers established their homes and businesses in the coastal areas, growing food and raising livestock to supply the busy flow of passing ships, the Van Zyls decided to risk their luck and venture inland. It was in the heart of the region that they would find the large expanse of land that would become their home.
Location: Western Cape, South Africa
Working with us since: 2019
Interesting fact: Rouxvale’s workers live onsite in housing provided by the estate. Each of them is given a small piece of land to grow their own fruit and vegetables. Schooling and after-school care is also provided to their children. An ongoing training programme covering subjects on personal and professional growth and well-being is also offered, as part of an integrated focus on social sustainability and community-building.
Venturing into the wild of Western Cape was not, back in the 1700s, a light-hearted decision to make: the area was sparsely populated, Nature wild and thick and white settlers not necessarily welcome. Hence why, when settling on the land that would become their vast estate, the Van Zyls named it Goedemoed, meaning ‘good courage’ or ‘courageous’. After being recognised by the Dutch East India Company, Goedemoed turned into a prosperous agricultural venture providing good livelihood for the Van Zyls eleven children.
Eventually the land was divided among the five daughters and six sons so that each could have a holding of their own. The eighth child, Martha Van Zyl, married a young man of French Huguenot descent called David Roux in 1791. So as to give proper landowner status to her new husband, Martha named her (their) farm Rouxvale – i.e. “Roux Valley”. Together they developed the vineyards and orchards the estate is still known for today. The wines made using the estate’s fruit are currently sold all over the world and express pure varietal character with great technical precision, showing the quality of the work done on the land.
Rouxvale works with a fully integrated social sustainability model, providing its workers lodging, growing plots, child support & education, healthcare and ongoing training. More than an employer Rouxvale has become a community of people working and caring for the land.