Esona: Developing individuals to reach their full potential

by | Jun 1, 2022 | Practical in the cellar, Winetech Technical

Esona encourages individuals to continuously grow to reach their full potential. Owners Rowan and Caryl Beattie are passionate about developing individuals who do not have access to opportunities.

Rowan and Caryl Beattie often visited the countryside for Rowan to participate in half-marathon races and so their appreciation for the rural towns and farms in the Western Cape countryside developed.

Robertson Valley was the one region which made an impression and when a small farm, located between Robertson and Bonnievale, came on the market in 2003, they decided to buy it. Groenland, a 19-hectare vegetable farm, was renamed Esona, which translated from Xhosa means “the very one”.

The old wine tanks in the cellar confirm that wine was made on the farm long ago and since 2004 new vineyards were established, which include cultivars such as Sangiovese, Barbera, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Pinot noir and Shiraz, as well as Colombar, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Viognier and Chenin Blanc.



Jovina Arendse, Shandre Standaar and Eldine Julius (Caryl’s Bistro).


Ten hectares were planted under vines, all certified as single vineyards. The first wines were bottled in 2010 and in 2018 Esona Boutique Wine Estate was certified as an estate. Everything is done by hand and the cellar assistants are also involved in other activities on the farm.

Esona encourages individuals to continuously grow to reach their full potential. Rowan and Caryl are passionate about developing individuals who do not have access to opportunities.

This is not always an easy task, because it is part of human nature that individuals, who are promoted, are not necessarily willing to support other people.

A resistance to provide support can be attributed to a fear that the subordinate person may undermine or eventually replace him or her. The process of individual development of Esona employees is therefore considered a long-term commitment.

Rowan is convinced that individual background, as well as personal circumstances, may play a role in the development and capture of knowledge. When a child is told what to do and not allowed to fail, it will ultimately have a negative impact on individual development.



Charles Cilliers, Charmaine Arendse, Ricardo Hendricks, Christopher Arendse, Johnelee Pieterse, Magiel Sauls, Loretta Alexander and Mietjie van der Merwe (vineyard and winery staff).


Esona: focused on knowledge transfer

Esona Boutique Wine Estate focuses on all aspects of knowledge transfer and training to ensure that employees are empowered with knowledge. Informal mentoring relationships and involvement with the Esona farmworker community ensure that there is a continuous transfer of knowledge. For example, Caryl offered cooking classes to employees so that they could prepare the dishes served in the Bistro.

Rowan and Caryl Beattie are passionate about the development of individuals and their skills development fund provide opportunities to more than 345 individuals, many from the Robertson Valley, to receive funding for training in winemaking, including management and culinary classes to further individual careers.

Esona Boutique Wine Estate is a regular participant in the Winetech cellar assistant programme. During a discussion with Charmaine Arendse, Esona’s winemaker, and the cellar team, they confirmed that the Winetech programme increased their knowledge and the knowledge gained, can be applied in the cellar. Participation in the Winetech study groups provides them with the essential knowledge to present wine tastings and to be able to answer questions with confidence.

Rowan Beattie believes that happy employees deliver quality work. This is clearly visible on Esona Boutique Wine Estate and can certainly be attributed to the involvement of the owners with employees and the farmworker community.

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Photo credit: Esona

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