What if we told you that you could contribute to something great just by enjoying some wine?
Wine that gives back
Wine, philanthropy and Cape Town have long intermingled in ANNA HART’S world. It’s true now more than ever after her relocation with her children to the “Mother City”, starting the Rhino Ridge Wine Company and this year’s launch of her Anna-carin Méthode Cap Classique wine.
Anna first visited Cape Town more than 20 years ago while based in Hong Kong. The beauty of the area, friends and family, the culture and, of course, the wine, kept Anna coming back year after year. Fast forward to June 2016 and, after nine years of living in Singapore, circumstances presented the opportunity to move to Cape Town. She chose the small beach suburb of Noordhoek to set up home.
During her first year in Noordhoek, Anna was introduced to several vineyards and winemakers while at events to promote non-profit organisation Room to Read. “I’ve had many discussions over the years with wine lovers in Asia about South African wines and why they weren’t more prominently available in Asian markets.”
Then, at a neighbour’s birthday party, Anna was treated to some lovely Méthode Cap Classique wine (South African sparkling wine made using the French champagne method). Her host told her about his own label that he exported to China. An introduction and visit to his winemaker followed, and Anna-carin Méthode Cap Classique was born. “It came together very quickly and organically. I decided to create the Rhino Ridge Wine Company to distribute my own label, but also to find the hidden gems from South Africa’s 400-year-old wine industry and bring them to Asia.”
It was important for Anna to integrate her commitment to and passion for Room to Read into her business. Donating five percent of each bottle sold, regardless of wholesale or retail pricing, to support literacy and gender equality initiatives in South Africa allowed her to do this. “I believe in conscious capitalism,” she says. “We can build brands by incorporating a purpose into our product, which helps bond with our customers and create an environment where cause and profitability can go hand in hand.”
Room to Read
In our August 2009 issue of Expat Living, we featured a story about Room to Read, and the global NGO’S Singapore volunteer chapter that was founded by Anna, together with Ann Rowell. The organisation was built on the premise that all children can pursue a quality education that enables them to reach their full potential and contribute to their communities and the world. To date, it has benefitted 12.4 million children in seven countries in Asia and three in Africa.
Anna and Ann co-chaired the Singapore chapter’s first two wine galas in 2009 and 2010, and Anna subsequently chaired countless functions and fundraisers; in April this year, the tenth-anniversary gala was held at the St. Regis Hotel. Millions of dollars have been raised by the generous Singapore community; in fact, it’s one of the organisation’s top giving cities. “It’s been an exceptional honour to be a small part of the incredible story of Room to Read,” says Anna. “I’ve worked with hundreds of dedicated volunteers over the years. Not being able to be directly involved with the Asia chapters anymore, but being able to sell my wines to support them is incredible for me.”