Ovation, the Thokozani fine wine range produced exclusively for Woolworths South Africa

Thokozani Wines was born from Diemersfontein almost ten years ago. What started out as many would have said “just another BEE project” has turned into one of South Africa’s most sensational true life stories of a real breakthrough in the development of a BBBEE business. It is a story of generosity, hope, inspiration, dedication – and at the end of the day human development.

Thokozani started from a 30% ownership to being officially the proud shareholders of 80% of the company, and with Diemersfontein Wines owning the remaining 20%. Thokozani also owns the conferencing business on Diemersfontein, and this also includes accommodation facilities. (4 Star)

Thokozani is owned by the staff of Diemersfontein, and each and every person is not only involved as a staff member of this venture, but also as a family member in a massively passionate endeavour.

Ovation wine range launch
Sue Sonnenberg, Denise Stubbs, Francois Roode, Ivan Oertle, Rebecca, David Sonnenberg, Dian Joubert, marketing manager (Photo by John Ford)

Thokozani proudly spread its wings when they launched their new wine label, Ovation – a collection of 3 wines, exclusively produced for Woolworths. At this celebration, held at home on Diemersfontein Wine Estate, Thokozani welcomed (amongst many dignitaries) the Minister of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde, Me Joyene Isaacs, the Head of Department of Western Cape Agriculture, Mrs Grace Davies, wife of our Minister of Trade and Industry, Ivan Oertle, Woolworths Wine specialist, to mention but a few. The grand occasion was met with tremendous respect by their guests, who were delighted by the story of Thokozani, and enjoyed the marvellous arrange of dishes paired specially to the new wines. The wines include a Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and a Pinotage.

Denise Stubbs (Director) spoke from the heart when she told the guests the phenomenal story of how Thokozani began, the obstacles and criticisms they overcame, and also how the people of Diemersfontein are the pillars of the business. She shared with guests how the staff team within the business have been transformed and uplifted to become not only shareholders, but business owners in their own right. “The success story of standing here today, and launching this new and beautiful brand is evidence of the pride and passion our people have.” said Denise Stubbs. Special mention and thanks were given to David & Sue Sonnenberg (owners of Diemersfontein) who were the founders of this initiative and have invested not only their time and efforts in the creation of Thokozani, but continue to support the growth and development of their people therein.

Woolworths South Africa is not only thrilled about their new acquisition to their wine range, but feel proud to be involved with such a dynamic team of people – those from the vineyards to the tasting room – the heart that beats in Thokozani. Stubbs says “We have gone through a rigorous selection process, and have finally picked the fruit (not only those from the vine, she jokes) but we were certainly not granted any special favours in this process, and thus we know that our wines have found a place upon a shelf – because it deserves to be there!”

Ovation wines is available in all national Woolworths stores as of 12 October 2015.