Avontuur management and staff celebrated the many years of loyal service by farm and office personnel at a Long Service Awards Ceremony on Monday 4 April at the farm.
Owners Michael Taberer and Philip Taberer with GM Pippa Mickleburgh were on hand to congratulate the people without whom Avontuur would not be able to achieve what it does every year.
Hennie Bunding was born on the farm and is the Assistant General Manager and is Pippa’s right hand man, responsible for everything from the vineyards to the stables, and quite a bit more inbetween. “He’s been around for 30 years, and is still going strong,” says Michael.
Over 30 years later and Japie Hartzenberg is our vineyard expert, who started out by being primarily responsible for fencing, and is now in charge of nurthering the young vineyards, but is still called out when any advice is needed on putting up a fence or paddock. “I don’t understand how he does it, but Japie just seems to get younger by the day,” commented Mike when he handed over the certificate and gift.
Jeremy Fortuin has been employed at Avontuur for around 18 years, and is our tractor driver, who can handle any implement behind his tractor with a flourish, from plows to bin trailers to rippers.
Essie Isaacs works closely with Hennie and is the go-to person during the grape harvest period. She is responsible for checking each “kissie” for quality and weight as they are brought in off the vines. She controls the pickers and keeps the grapes flowing into the cellar. “Essie is one of those people who work long hours behind the scenes and is an example to us all when it comes to dedication,” said Mike.
Always smiling, Jannie Jafta is our driver and the man who has to make sure all deliveries are on time. Jannie is one of the most patient and relaxed guys around and is a regular at our trade partners and many of the stud operations around.
Berthwell Arosi, Stud Foreman is a well-known face at all the yearling sales and so it should be after 27 years of being employed at the Stud Farm. Berthwell is especially responsible with looking after our two stallions Var and Oratorio and is an absolute star!
William Xego has been with the stud farm for 24 years and is second in command to Berthwell. He is fantastic with the yearlings, and is also responsible for the upkeep of the stables and the beautiful gardens around them.
Jacob Yacobi is an exellent stockman, with a gentle hand when it comes to the mares and their needs. Over and above that, he also has a magic touch with our roses which form such an integral part of the farm’s aesthetic and can be said to have the proverbial “green fingers”. “His work is immaculate and we know that we can always rely on him,” said Mike.
Many times visitors have thought Wilfred Ntanjana was a jockey, and he is not known as Avontuur’s “Little Boy” for nothing. However his small stature has no impact on his big heart and he is always in the thick of things and keen to help. He’s a great asset when it comes to the Yearling Sales as he communicates well and can present a horse to a buyer with confidence.
Hugo van Vuuren is our financial manager and general tech whizzkid, who has the patience of Job with everyone’s problems and ideas, and does his best to accommodate them within the budget! He is a great wine lover and expert taster, and always keen to discuss new ways to market the Estate.
Moerieda Carolus is the admin backbone of the Stud Farm and Pippa’s PA, who also handles wine exports and queries efficiently – always with a smile and a joke! “Her communication skills especially is outstanding, and her professionalism is an asset to the Estate,” said Michael.
Melanie Paltoglou and Zunia Boucher-Myers are the owner-chefs of the popular Avontuur Estate Restaurant, which for the last 13 years has formed such an integral part of the tourism experience to the farm. Wonderful food, excellent staff and close co-operation with the Stud and Wine Farm, make a visit to Avontuur without a meal, just not possible!
When thanking Pippa Mickleburgh, both Michael and Philip Taberer said that the farm was a testament to her loyalty and that they all learnt so much from her over the years. “She leads the way and sets new benchmarks all the time,” Michael commented before handing over her certificate and gift with Philip.