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Our Story - From Provence to Pokolbin.


How Gauch became Gouws



When Stephan & Karen settled in Pokolbin, the heart of Hunter Valley wine country, they brought with them a wealth of experience, service and care. For this Cape-French husband and wife team, this move completes a full circle for the family. They continue the traditions and dreams of their ancestors who lived in the valleys and wine regions of South-Western France and the Western Cape in South Africa.


History has it that the surname Gouws originated from the Gauch family. Gauch meaning "Joy, cheerful or happy" in Occitan, a Provencal dialect found in the Languedoc-Provence region in South-Western France. Members of the Gauch family were primary producers who lived in the area of Le-Pont-de-Montvert, a town located in the beautiful Tarn Valley.


As a result of serious religious conflict way back in 1690 the Gauch family migrated to the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa via Switzerland and Amsterdam. After these pioneers arrived with the boat Spierdijk in the Cape of Good Hope, they collaborated with the predominantely Dutch population to produce fresh produce and wine. The replenishment station supplied food and fresh water to the VOC ships on their journey between Europe and East Asia - the very important and lucrative spice route. The French migrants brought viticulture and other complementary primary producer skills to the region. They shared common values with the Dutch and it came to no surprize that a new culture and language evolved in the Cape of Good Hope: Afrikaans. Afrikaans is a Dutch based language blended with French, German, Malayan and colourful words from English and indigenous people. By then Gauch became Gous or Gouws.


In 1990, three hundred years after Andre Gauch and his family left Le-Pont-de-Montvert, the young Gouws family visited the Occitania region for the first time. This historical moment created new memories and explained many of the customs and traditions they have unknowingly inherited from previous generations. Stephan, inspired by this historical visit, decided to pair the best of the past with the modern now.


During the turn of the century in 2000, the Gouws family migrated to Sydney to make the most of this new chapter in life. Soon after the best ever Olympic Games, they found opportunity to employ their skills in health care, business and education.


Their Australian careers evolved as they spent most of their time in health care and education, caring mostly for children. Stephan, a pharmacist, is a marketer and business developer. Karen is a scientist and teacher to senior school education. She develops innovative projects and work to make science a real life experience for students. Her ultimate goal is to narrow the gap between school and the real world of industry and tertiary education for students.


The Hunter Valley offers Stephan & Karen a new chapter in the premier wine region of Australia. The region offers a great lifestyle with mountains, valley, lakes and the attractive beaches of the east coast close by. Modern technology, potential employees, easy access to the domestic airport and access to the East Coast markets enable the family to relocate their family business to the Hunter Valley. They are looking forward to serve the greater community in Australia.




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