Mooigezicht Estates is predominantly a family business. In 1928 Fanie Rossouw bought his first farm in the Hex River Valley. He was a pioneer in distributing fruit into Africa, marketing his own table grapes as well as other deciduous fruit varieties as far north as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. When World War II started in 1939 all fruit exports were suspended and Fanie’s distribution channels proved immensely valuable. Through these efforts and the acquisition of additional farms he became the largest South African exporter of table grapes when trade was resumed in the late forties.
Stephanus continued the family tradition after completing his studies at the University of Cape Town in 1965. Confidence in the people and opportunities created by a developing South Africa, influenced the family to acquire more land in the Hex River Valley. Stephanus and his wife Laetitia have five children, two sons and three daughters.
Francois Rossouw is the company’s Managing Director and is the eldest son of Stephanus and Laetitia. He joined the family business in 1991 after graduation from Stellenbosch University and working in the fruit industry in the UK for a while. After deregulation of the single channel marketing system of South Africa’s fruit during the late nineties, Francois grasped the opportunity to develop Mooigezicht Estates’ own export capacity. Francois and his wife Gerda have two sons who are both currently completing their university education.
Stephan, Francois’ younger brother joined the family business in 2007 after completing a 10 year contract as a helicoptor pilot with the South African Air Force. He now divides his time between Mooigezicht Estates and flying for Red Cross Emergency services. He and his wife Helene-Mari have young two daughters and a young son.
The eleven production units are owned by the Rossouw Family trusts and are run by the private company, Mooigezicht Estates (Pty.) Ltd. At present Stephanus is Chairman and Francois is Managing Director.
Hex River Valley
The Hex Valley, home of Mooigezicht Estates, is South Africa’s largest grape growing region and the traditional home of South African table grapes. The economy of the area is based almost entirely on the production of table grapes for the export market. Table grapes have been cultivated in the valley for over 100 years and the Rossouw family of Mooigezicht has been producing table grapes on their family farms for generations since 1928.
The Hex River enjoys a Mediterranean climate, receiving rain from the Atlantic Ocean during the winter months. It is adjacent to the semi-desert plains of the Karoo, and the warm, dry summer air ripens the grapes to sweet perfection.
This climate is thus ideal for a long production season and wide range of varieties. This enables Mooigezicht Estates to have a 18 week production season, probably the longest grape harvesting season in the world. Over the next few years, Mooigezicht Estates is set to expand its production to over 1.6 million cartons annually.