A collective in Salt River is putting the balance back into wine

Monday, 7 February, 2022
Daily Maverick, Bianca Coleman
Cultivate Collective in Salt River is a wine bar, collaborative retail store, tasting room and events space. What makes it special is that all its members are people of colour, a move to address the historical imbalance in the South African wine industry.

For centuries, the wine industry – on the face of it at least – was predominantly white, and largely ignored the significant contribution of black and brown people. There was the notorious dop system, implemented by the European settlers in the 17th century – outlawed in 1960 but the ban was not enforced until the 1990s – and outlawed again in 2003. Simultaneously, outside of this abuse of farmworkers which created all manner of social damage and alcoholism, for the longest time wine was not the favoured tipple of people of colour.

This has changed dramatically; the top sommeliers at the best restaurants and hotels in our country are black, and there’s a slew of winemakers, farmers, entrepreneurs, analysts, consultants and yes, consumers, who are driving the wine industry from a black and brown perspective.

Cultivate member Nomhle Zondani, who founded Wine Shaq in Langa where she curated private tastings of black-owned wine brands, says Cultivate is a platform for black/brown winemakers to shine and showcase their own products in an environment in which they feel safe and proud of.

“Cultivate will take the current wines into a broader market that could never have been reached by any individual but could be reached by combining resources and skills thus benefiting all,” she said.

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A collective in Salt River is putting the balance back into wine
A collective in Salt River is putting the balance back into wine



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