SAT 24TH AUG 2019


Bringing the family business community together

South African Wine Is At Their Heart

Paul Cluver

Position: Managing Director

Company: Paul Cluver Wines

Sector: Food & Drink



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Company Description

Paul Cluver Wines is a family owned wine business located in the cool-climate Elgin Valley in South Africa. The wine business forms part of a larger holistic family farming business called De Rust Estate.  Paul Cluver spoke to Paul Andrews.

Question & Answers with Paul Cluver

What Does Your Family Business Do?

Our family business is involved int he production of wine and cider.  The wider business includes apple and pear orchards, a craft cider, a Hereford stud and eco-tourism activities, including amphitheatre concerts, on the farm. The 2000+ hectare estate forms part of the UNESCO world heritage site, the Kogelberg Biosphere. Half of the estate has been set aside for conservation into perpetuity. The winery has received many awards and accolades, including being rated 6th on the Grape Top 20 Wineries Poll of 2014. 

How Did You Get Involved?

I joined the family business straight after university in 1997.

What Did You Want To Be When You Grew Up?

A doctor.

What Are Your First Memories Of The Family Business?

Learning to drive a tractor at the age of 6.

What Values Are Important In Your Family/Family Business?

Honesty, Teamwork, Compassion and forming win-win relationships.

What Is The Best Thing About Being A Family Business?

Patience and trust.  Family businesses tends to have a long term view and accordingly will drive business activities to achieve long term sustainability. It is great that you can pursue projects with a long term view and not being beholden to impatient capital.

And The Worst?

Patience and trust. The flip side of the above is that family businesses do not drive hard enough for the results to ensure success. We should be less tolerant when it comes to non-performance.  

What Is The Best Thing About Your Working Day?

Working in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

What Is Your Proudest Family Business Achievement?

Our family care deeply both about our natural environment and also the society we live in and it is important that we play a positive role in order to drive sustainability. So as a family we are extremely proud for being recognised as a leader in our industry when it comes to sustainability.

Is There A Next Generation Waiting In The Wings To Take Over?

Hopefully, although they are way too young to even think about it.

What Do You See As The Biggest Challenge Facing Family Businesses?

A lack of family values and coherence within the family.

What Words Do You Associate With Family Businesses?

Caring, compassionate, value driven.

Words Of Wisdom – What Piece Of Advice Would You Pass On To Someone Thinking about Joining The Family Business?

One of the major lessons I've picked up from my involvement in YPO, the Young Presidents Organization - is how important and beneficial it is to get a broad view of the business world and expose yourself to different types of businesses and leadership. One of the best things I ever did was to get experience of working and managing a third party business, before joining my own family business. So I would recommend this to anybody ahead of becoming involved in their family business - you will  be doing yourself and your family business a favour. 


Paul Clüver is a member of the YPO (Young Presidents’ Organisation), the world’s premier peer network of chief executives and business leaders, providing 22,000 peers and their families in more than 125 countries with access to unique educational and networking experiences designed to support their business, community and personal leadership. This interview was conducted in association with YPO.  

Find out more about YPO by visiting their website


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