Social Development

Contribution to Nation Building


Contribution to Nation Building

With its Black Empowerment programme rooted in idealism yet driven by pragmatism, Solms-Delta is known as one of the country's most progressive wine estates - and one that generates real results.

When Mark Solms took over the Delta farm, he began by convincing the farm's virtually indentured tenants that his intentions to institute land reforms were genuine. In 2005, the Solms family established the Wijn de Caab Trust to benefit the 200 historically disadvantaged residents and employees of the Solms-Delta wine estate. He then persuaded long-time friend, philanthropist Richard Astor, scion of a celebrated Anglo-American family, to buy the neighbouring farm, in order to increase the estate's development capital. Solms and Astor, in an unprecedented move, then both put their farms up as collateral so that a third, adjoining farm could be purchased by the workers.

The Wijn de Caab Trust now has a 33% equity stake in Solms-Delta, and the profit from wine sales has been used to build and refurbish decent and comfortable homes for the workers and their families, create recreational facilities, and provide myriad other social services (including private education and healthcare) that benefit all. Every employee now has an interest in making Solms-Delta a success.

With the Wijn de Caab Trust solely benefiting their employees and farm residents, Solms and Astor then turned to the Franschhoek Valley and broader Cape Winelands district. In 2007, the two families established the privately funded Delta Trust, which seeks to facilitate an inclusive sense of community through educational, cultural, sporting and social programmes.

Delta Trust - Social Investment by Solms-Delta

The founders of the Delta Trust believe that what happens on local Franschhoek farms could have a ripple effect throughout their valley, the winelands, the country and even beyond.

Established in 2007 by the Astor and Solms families, the privately-funded Delta Trust aims to contribute to nation-building on a local scale, focusing first on the Franschhoek Valley, and more broadly, the Cape Winelands. Its mission is to contribute to greater social cohesion and inclusiveness in South African communities (which for obvious historical reasons were unhealthily divided) through careful, patient and creative local cultural work.

The trust supports a broad range of projects, including education, cultural heritage, social upliftment, sport and recreation. Its best known beneficiaries are The Franschhoek Literary Festival, an annual celebration of books and writers, and The Franschhoek Oesfees, an annual harvest festival for local farm workers that features the traditional, vernacular music and cuisine of the Cape Winelands.

Many local research projects that focus on previously ignored areas of study receive sponsorship from the Trust. Two of these are the Museum van de Caab, which explores the history of the ordinary people of the Franschhoek Valley, and Music van de Caab, a cultural centre currently in development which will frame and explore the colourful musical heritage of the Cape.

Some of the other programmes that have recently been supported by the Delta Trust are: the Ke Moja (Say No to Drugs) Campaign, the President’s Award Programme, Paarl Heemkring, Franschhoek FM Community Radio, Allandale Rugby Club, local Ladies’ Cricket Club, Cape Winelands Basketball League, and Spes Bona Football Club.


The Wijn de Caab Trust: three-way partnership

The mission of the Wijn de Caab Trust, established in 2005, is to break the cycle of poverty and dependency among historically disadvantaged tenants and employees on the Solms-Delta estate. In South Africa’s rural agricultural areas, the children of farm workers have been all but obliged to become farm workers themselves. The Trust aims to broaden their horizons by creating educational opportunities and minimizing the burdens on their parents, while simultaneously improving the quality of life on the farm.
Since 2007, The Wijn de Caab Trust has been a one-third owner of the three adjacent farms that comprise Solms-Delta, and receives 33% of the profits from Solms-Delta wine sales.

The trust has engaged in a major drive to improve the quality of accommodation on the Solms-Delta farms. New, attractive houses for workers and residents have been built, and existing houses have been renovated and upgraded, all fitted with satellite television.

While primary and secondary education is virtually subsidized by the government, the Trust covers the additional costs of ‘model C’ education, as well as vital remedial help and other forms of educational assistance. Crèche facilities and an after-school Educational Centre are currently being established. Financial support for tertiary education is available to qualified learners, and an active adult education programme is also supported.

High quality medical care is an important component of the Trust, which covers 85% of its beneficiaries’ medical and dental bills. In addition, a variety of sporting and recreational facilities, along with coaching, are supported.

These programmes are overseen by a full-time social worker.

Solms-Delta Wine Estate