Earth Day: A Reflective Walk At Haut Espoir

It’s #EarthDay today.

What a day to be alive.

Our son, James and I took a walk around the farm yesterday, I could see and feel something was troubling him and I think he was needing to talk a few things through. As the walk progressed, we started chatting about the history of the farm, what we did 16 years ago, and why we aren’t doing certain things anymore, and I had a long time to reflect on where we have come from.

At the end of the excursion, James and I talked about how the only constant seems to be change. And I had a chance to go further down the rabbit hole myself and reflect on my last 16 years here at Haut Espoir. And because its Earth day today, I  thought I would share my reflections.

The family farm was purchased and developed from a pine and blue gum forest on the steep slopes of Scherpheuwelberg, in the Franschhoek wine valley in South  Africa in 1999. Alien vegetation was removed, the top half of the land was replanted with 7000 indigenous protea seedlings and we reseeded ericas and restios to encourage the return of natural species and boost biodiversity.  Vineyards of noble reds were planted on the bottom portion of the farm, and a shed, houses and winery were built up. 2004 was our first year in the wine game.

A lot has changed since then. We had High Hopes ( a literal translation of Haut  Espoir). The future was very clearly laid out in front of us, business plans were set in motion, we were developing the farm from scratch,  and a young and motivated team to take our brand into the stratosphere was developing. And we had all the unbounded passion in the world to grow as a brand, making distinctive,  handcrafted wines in harmony with nature.