SA's first black-owned winery wins Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year

Monday, 9 September, 2019
IOL, Business Report
Carmen Stevens is petite-sized. But this wine-making barrel-wielding dynamo does not let obstacles stop her. This past week she walked away with Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year.

The single mother of two is the owner of the first black-owned winery in South Africa.  The winery, Carmen Stevens Wines, processed 150 tons per last year with a turnover of R8.1 million.

She says the art of wine making includes selecting the right fruit and putting the right combinations together.

"You know every winemaker puts their personal touch on their wine.  My  wines are very big -big tannins, big colours - but elegant. When you put it into your mouth you know there is concentration and depth. Although it is that big, it is so palatable."
The business is a long way from Delhar where she grew up.  She describes the area as a gangsters’ paradise with no greenery.  Regular shootings in the neighbourhood forced her to stay inside and read.
The books opened her mind to new worlds and changed her life's trajectory.  A Mills and Boon depicting a California winemaker which led to the proverbial light bulb moment.
Having never tasted wine, Stevens decided to become a winemaker.
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