Family-owned wine business helps stem South Africa crisis

A family that owns a vineyard in South Africa has launched a foundation to help feed thousands who are going hungry due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A team of volunteers running soup kitchens, with help from a Bridgnorth-based firm
A team of volunteers running soup kitchens, with help from a Bridgnorth-based firm

Journey’s End Wines is owned by the Gabb family, who live near Bridgnorth and were behind Telford-based Western Wines before selling the company in a £130 million deal.

The Journey’s End Foundation was set up as a non-government organisation by Journey’s End’s managing director Rollo Gabb to tackle hunger and extreme poverty via a network of soup kitchens in the Helderberg region of Stellenbosch.

It has initially committed to providing 8,000 meals per week for 52 weeks, with a target of achieving 10,000 meals per week by the end of October.

Rollo Gabb

“The South African economy continues to be very badly affected by Covid-19, with the Western Cape in particular hit by a devastated tourism sector,” said Mr Gabb, the son of Roger Gabb who founded Western Wines from his kitchen at Glazeley in 1980.

“This, coupled with a recent ban on domestic wine sales, has severely impacted the wine industry, and a 10pm curfew is killing the restaurant sector.

“With very little government support many families are now unable to bring any food to the table. It has been reported some 20,000 people in Stellenbosch alone are at risk of hunger.”

Mr Gabb said corporate social responsibility has always been a key of Journey’s End since his family bought the vineyard in the 1990s. It has supported the winery’s local community, Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, including the building of a new hall for the local school.

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