THE BLACK OYSTERCATCHER STORY
Pioneers to establish vineyards in the Elim Wine Ward.
Wine producer, Dirk Human, is the owner, winemaker and viticulturist of the Black Oystercatcher boutique wines.
The Human Family has farmed successfully on the Moddervlei farm, where the Black Oyster catcher winery and restaurant are housed, for generations. The farm is situated between the small towns of Elim, Bredasdorp and Agulhas, in the Overberg region in South Africa. In 1998, Dirk and his family decided to live their dream – by planting vineyards on the property.
Dirk’s knowledge of the land with its sand plains, wetlands, extensive limestone and calcareous dunes enabled him to select the perfect location for the Black Oystercatcher’s vineyards.
In so doing, Dirk became one of the pioneers to establish vineyards in the maritime ward of Elim in 1998.
By 2003, the first boutique wines were bottled. Dirk named the new wines after the rare Black Oystercatcher birds, which, like the grapes, thrive along the coastline around the cool tip of Africa.
Today, around 80 000 bottles of Black Oyster catcher boutique wines are produced a year – making the wines truly exclusive.
It was time to extend the Black Oystercatcher wine range. So over the years, Dirk has added a host of reserve wines to the selection. Like the Reserve Sauvignon blanc, the Blanc Fumé, the Wild Ferment, the Noble Late and the Méthode Cap Classique – all only available at the Black Oystercatcher Tasting Room, or to Wine Club members.
A time to grow
– 2008 –
In 2008, Dirk again lived his dream, opening the Black Oystercatcher Restaurant. The restaurant follows Dirk’s own motto: to live by the season.
– 2013 –
And then in 2013, he added 4 self-catering cottages – so visitors could enjoy a time-out on a working wine farm.
– 2014 –
In 2014, Black Oystercatcher launched our new logo, to showcase the region’s unique geology and climate – in particular, the Agulhas Plain’s coastal shelf, formed more than 900 million years ago.
– 2016 –
The Overberg – and the Black Oystercatcher in particular – became an increasingly popular destination for visitors. And Dirk loved showing the region he grew up in and loved to others. So he devised a new plan: to build a new, bigger restaurant – with even better views than before. The new venue was finished in 2016, with the former restaurant building now serving as the Tasting Room.
– 2016 –
But he wasn’t done just yet: Dirk has always enjoyed craft beer – in particular, Fraser’s Folly Craft Beer (based in Struisbaai). In 2016, talks with Fraser’s Folly founder, Fraser Crighton, started – to see how the Black Oystercatcher could team up with the craft brewery.
The deal was signed later in 2016: with the Black Oystercatcher buying Fraser’s Folly.
And the brewery moving to the Black Oystercatcher Wine Farm, and Fraser remaining as Brewmaster (and the face of the beer).
Dirk’s next goal?
To bring the world to his doorstep in the Elim wine ward, and show them the uniqueness of this southernmost wine-producing region.
The Black Oystercatcher Team
Dirk & Sandra Human
Owner and winemaker
Often helping out in the cellar and restaurant, Dirk and Sandra’s children, John and Jeanette, are as much part of the team as any of the staff. The Human household also includes Oscar (Waimaraner) and Coco (Yorkshire terrier) and they are definitely counted as part of the family and team. Oscar and Coco make sure that there is never a dull moment and supply us with many laughs along the way. Email Dirk. Email Sandra
Wine Tasting Manager
Liezel has worked in the sales sector for nearly a decade, working for Avis Van Rental and Mr Farmer Workwear, among others. She recently moved to Bredasdorp – but has worked in the Cape Town area and London throughout her career. She now brings this sales experience and her enthusiasm to the Black Oystercatcher team, taking on the role of Wine Tasting Manager. She says she’s having fun working with the Black Oystercatcher team, and is quickly becoming a wine connoisseur. Email Liezel
Founder & Brewmaster: Fraser’s Folly
British-born Fraser moved to South Africa in 2010: armed with a winemaking degree from Plumpton College, and years of fun making beer at home. But when he arrived in South Africa, he found there simply wasn’t that much great craft beer around at the time. So he decided to change that: launching Fraser’s Folly craft beer in the seaside town of Struisbaai. In 2016, Fraser joined the Black Oystercatcher team, when Dirk bought Fraser’s Folly Craft Beer. Today Fraser remains the creative genius and Brewmaster of Fraser’s Folly, operating from his Brewhouse based on the wine farm. Email Fraser
Sales and Marketing Cape Town
Paarl-born and raised Annemie was fortunate enough to grow up in the wine industry. Annemie has a wealth of experience in many facets of the industry; from wine production, management of sales both locally and internationally, right down to tasting room management and one-on-one customer interaction. Her passion and belief in the product is her greatest sales and marketing tool. Email Annemie
Sales and Marketing Johannesburg
Owen’s love for wine started when he had the pleasure of tasting a Richebourg from Henry Jayer. At that moment, he knew that the wine industry was where he wanted to be and completed his Diploma at the Cape Wine Academy, before taking on the wholesale side of the trade. “My preference for wines varies just like that for art and music, so don’t be scared to go out and explore, discover and experiment.” Email Owen
Sales and Marketing Durban
Matthew Draper grew up in the Natal midlands, in a family where a bottle of wine was always present on the dinner table. As a result, from a young age he learned to respect wine. This respect quickly turned into a passion. Email Matt
Annemarie has been working in the hospitality industry for over 10 years. Her journey started by earning a Diploma in Hospitality and Catering services after which she gained experience in the management of small family owned businesses. “I developed a passion for the finer things in life and the management of a young vibrant wine farm’s office was the perfect opportunity to explore a new facet of an industry I love. The perfect combination of good food, great friends and even better wine!” Email Annemarie
Elmarie joined the Black Oystercatcher Wines with a wealth of experience in the tourism industry. She received a Diploma in Tourism from the South Cape College in Oudtshoorn in 2002. She then spent two years in England, working for the Bristol Plaza Hotel as Assistant Restaurant Manager, and as Front of House Manager at the Ramada in Gloucester. Once back in South Africa, she worked as a travel agent in Worcester and Malmesbury. Before joining the Black Oystercatcher Wines, Elmarie had been working for Bon Cap Cellar in Robertson, taking on an administration and functions coordinator role. Now at the Black Oystercatcher, Elmarie is excited to be learning a new set of administration skills – not to mention working in the most beautiful setting in the Overberg. Email Elmarie
Willem joined the Black Oystercatcher cellar team in 2012. He is a dedicated cellar worker and takes great pride in his work in the cellar. He is always eager to learn something new and he shows great interest in understanding why certain activities take place in the cellar. Once part of our vineyard team, Willem now oversees the day-to-day running of the cellar. He has completed his Cellar Worker Training Programme (SKOP) 3 course and we are very proud of his rapid growth.
Cellar assistant and maintenance
Werner grew up not too far from the Black Oystercatcher, in Caledon. After Matric, Werner worked as a painter and carpenter in Caledon and Gansbaai. And so, in 2012, he joined the Black Oystercatcher team as a painter. A year later he decided to get into nature a little more, and became part of Kanna’s vineyard team, responsible for maintaining the vineyards. And one year after that, he took on the opportunity to get to know the cellar better, working as a cellar assistant, while still supporting any maintenance work needed. Werner says he’s learnt a lot in the cellar, and still learns something new everyday. “It’s a big experience working here; it’s exciting.”
Alfred Williams (Kanna)
Vineyard Manager (Contractor)
Kanna has been part of the Black Oystercatcher since the very beginning. He helped plant the first Black Oystercatcher vineyards in 1998, and worked on Dirk’s farm, Moddervlei, as a foreman for many years. Today Kanna has his own business, called Strandveld Agri Landboudienste. He employs a team of 16 people, and looks after the Black Oystercatcher’s vineyards – maintaining them, picking grapes during harvest season and pruning during winter. Kanna’s dream is now to have his own vineyards, a process the Black Oystercatcher is actively supporting and pursuing.
Front of House Manager
Salmon has brought his flair for the creative to the Black Oystercatcher’s Restaurant – taking on the role of Front of House Manager. He completed a BA Languages and Literature degree at Potchefstroom University, graduating in 2013. He worked as an assistant at the Journalism Department at the University for a year, and completed a Diploma in Photography at the Potchefstroom Academy the following year. So with his great eye for detail, his love in meeting new people, and his respect for the Black Oystercatcher’s values, Salmon is the perfect fit for the Black Oystercatcher team. Email Salmon
Platters & Plating
Candice is a true Overberger – having lived in the small missionary town of Elim her whole life. Now aged 27, Candice joined the Black Oystercatcher team in 2015. She is responsible for the delicious Black Oystercatcher platters, as well as the plating in the kitchen. Prior to this, Candice honed her skills in the kitchen at a restaurant in Napier, called The Suntouched Inn. She started her working career as a flower harvester, also in the Overberg. She’s now found the career for her, and loves working in the kitchen, making up the platters from scratch. She continues to live in Elim (just down the road from the Black Oystercatcher), raising her two young children.
Ashley (Tatenda) Hwizah
Ashley helps to keep the facilities and grounds neat and tidy – this is a vital job and we could not do without Ashley. It’s thanks to his green fingers that we have the freshest and most delicious vegetables and herbs growing in our country garden.
There’s one major wetland on the Black Oystercatcher Farm. But the wetland is particularly special …
This poem, Waskraal, is included in his book, Piet se Stories – a book capturing some of the amazing untold stories of the Strandveld, and the colourful …
Who would have thought – members of the Africa’s big 5 on the Agulhas Plain? And for the first time, you can now see these animals here.
#Waterscapes: The natural wonder of the Agulhas Plain
You depend on water – it’s the basis of life. The same goes for the Black Oystercatcher. But – because of our unique setting, we depend on an intricate water network. We don’t just turn on a tap. We connect with a vast water system that must function fully.
Because our #waterscapes are at the heart of our existence, we’re highlighting these natural wonders of the Agulhas Plain. It’s a tribute to our corner of earth in the Overberg – and the life-giving systems you’ll find here.
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