The historic farm Lammershoek, which literally means Lamb’s Corner, is situated against the Paardeberg in the sheltered Aprilskloof. According to legend ewes sought cover, with their lambs, in the valley against the predatory Black Eagles, also known as lammervangers. The farm, which was early known as Lammershoek, was awarded in 1718 to Adriaan van Jaarsveld, who established the first vineyards on the farm in 1719.
The family farm is home to 60 people, senior citizens and children, and some families have lived on the 177-hectare farm for generations. The owners and management have a close involvement with the farm worker community and a registered crèche, as well as an aftercare, accommodate 50 children of neighbouring farms the area. The crèche is considered vital for the transfer of knowledge to empower the entire Lammershoek community. Lammershoek also focuses on cultural activities, such as the music school where children are taught to learn to play the guitar, harmonica, and drums. The organic vegetable garden is well established and products which are not used are sold. Lammershoek has a holistic approach to empowering its employees and the Goedgedacht Training Centre in Malmesbury provides additional social support, as well as life skills training, to develop and encourage a quality community life.
Lammershoek, with 50 hectares of vineyards, participates in the wine industry’s Old Vineyard Project. The farm concentrates on old vineyards, of which the most recent block of Chenin blanc was planted in 1983 and the oldest block, also Chenin blanc, was established in 1966. Lammershoek also produces wine from rare cultivars such as Carrignan and Hárslevelu, which were planted in 1976 and 1980, respectively.
The cellar team, Pedro Hendricks and Stemmet Hendricks, are regular participants in the Winetech study groups and the workshops for senior cellar assistants. According to Jorrie Du Plessis, winemaker of Lammershoek, cellar assistants will often receive assignments, but do not necessarily know why they should carry out the assignments. Jorrie believes that the Winetech projects provide valuable perspective to cellar assistants. Therefore, initiative is taken with greater confidence when the cellar team is alone in the cellar. According to Jorrie, the Winetech study groups provide excellent background and cellar assistants experience that they are an integral part of the cellar team, which in turn, leads to further informal training within the cellar. Jorrie considers it important that cellar assistants can identify errors and provide feedback. Apart from the exposure to wine faults cellar assistants receive in the Winetech study groups, Jorrie also regularly prepare fault wines to develop Pedro and Stemmet’s knowledge. According to Jorrie, exercises in identifying wines faults have a positive influence on confidence. He describes the Lammershoek cellar team as a strong team.
There are well-established mentoring relations in place between Jorrie and the Lammershoek cellar team. Pedro, who is the more senior cellar assistant, is in turn a mentor to Stemmet and conveys his knowledge to Stemmet. The Winetech study groups played a significant role in Stemmet’s decision to permanently join the Lammershoek cellar team. According to Jorrie it is real a challenge for most cellar assistants to complete Grade 12 should they have left school earlier, which has a negative effect on further training. Therefore strong, mentoring relationships play an important role in supporting cellar assistants to successfully complete Grade 12 and reach their full potential. The Lammershoek’s cellar team takes immense pride in their work and the holistic approach to transfer of knowledge, as well as mentoring relationships, are used with great success to develop personal growth and knowledge of the cellar assistants.
Lammershoek’s cellar team, Pedro and Stemmet Hendricks, and winemaker, Jorrie du Plessis.