Your local guide to people of colour wine brands

Monday, 11 April, 2022
Dominique Solomon
A list of proudly South African people of colour wine brands and platforms that you should be supporting.

Shining a spotlight on black-owned wine brands and entrepreneurs has always been a great passion of mine. With plenty more brands given the opportunity to develop and get a footing in the door of the industry, it is high time that we begin to see some recognition given to stalwarts and trailblazers who have paved the way for many a POC (people of colour) winemaker/wine brand.

According to VinPro, of the more than 2 800 wine farmers in South Africa, only 60 of them are black. Less than 2% of them own their land. To help bring about change and give due recognition, wine.co.za is dedicating April to their #wineforgood campaign and raising their profiles as part of the campaign

In this article, I list a few of the 60 POC (people of colour) wine brands that you should be stocking in your wine cellar and supporting. In no particular order:

People of colour wine brands

Aslina Wines

One of South Africa’s most iconic winemakers, Ntsiki Biyela has forged a path to become a highly respected and widely admired name in the world of wine. In 2016, she established Aslina Wines, inspired by the strength and determination of the biggest influence in her life, her grandmother. Ntsiki grew up in Mahlabathini, a rural village in KwaZulu-Natal. Having spent a year as a domestic worker, she was awarded a scholarship to study winemaking at Stellenbosch University in 1999. She graduated in 2003 with a BSc in Agriculture (Viticulture and Oenology) and joined boutique winery Stellekaya as their winemaker the following year.

Ntsiki’s ambition to create her wines grew following a collaboration with Californian winemaker, Helen Kiplinger, as part of Mika Bulmash’s Wine for the World initiative.

Today Aslina is renowned for its range of premium wines and is the realisation of Ntsiki’s dream to create an exceptional world-class wine brand.

Where to buy:

You can shop Aslina Wines online; run by wine.co.za’s very own CellarDirect. They're also available at selected Ultra Liquor stores, and Norman Goodfellows.

Ntsiki Biyela, owner and winemaker of Aslina Wines.


Carmen Stevens Wines

Many words come to mind when describing Carmen Stevens: tenacious, bold, ambitious and of course legendary. Carmen Stevens has been in the South African Wine Industry since 1995, becoming a trailblazer when she graduated from Elsenburg as the first black South African to study winemaking in South Africa. As recently as January 2019, Carmen registered the first 100% black-owned winery in South Africa in Stellenbosch. Established in 2011 with its maiden vintage in 2014, the Carmen Stevens Wines brand continues to break barriers and stigma to the incorrect perception that black-owned wines are inferior.

Where to buy:

You can shop Carmen Stevens Wines online.

Tesselaarsdal Wines

Founded in 2015 by Berene Sauls a long-time employee of Hamilton Russell in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Berene’s flair for winemaking and immense talent has taken the industry by storm winning numerous awards. In 2019 Tesselaarsdal acquired 16 hectares which will be planted with Pinot noir and Chardonnay exclusively.

I had the pleasure of studying my WSET Level 2 alongside this maestro of wine. Berene is incredibly passionate about winemaking and the science behind it all. A single mum of two and business owner, she continues to not only set an exemplary example for her two boys but for her community in which she partakes in regular local upliftment.

Where to buy:

You can shop Tesselaarsdal Wines online.

Berene Sauls, owner and winemaker of Tesselaarsdal Wines.


Siwela Wines

Known by the moniker “the lady born to inspire”, Siwela Masoga is a force to be reckoned with. She was born in Soweto, Gauteng, and raised in Marulaneng-Ga-Mphahlele, a small village in Limpopo. Biotechnologist, winemaker and CEO of her own wine brand Siwela Wines, Masoga started her business in 2018 after working for five years in the quality department at Distell. Before that, she was an intern at a winery in Stellenbosch after graduating with a degree in biotechnology from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

Siwela plays host to many a wine aficionado or enthusiastic beginner palate at The Urban Winery just a stone’s throw away from O.R international Airport in Johannesburg. Designed to offer exclusive pairings and tastings. It's a sophisticated Winelands experience in a concrete jungle.

Where to buy:

You can shop Siwela Wines online or at her tasting room in Kempton Park: 50 Electron Avenue, Isando, Kempton Park, 1600.


Kumusha Wines

Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Tinashe Nyamudoka moved to South Africa in 2008 for better economic prospects. Without any prior experience with wine, his journey took him from waiter to head sommelier of Africa’s most lauded restaurant, The Test Kitchen, and most notably respected wine judge in international competitions. Tinashe’s introduction to wine came through the hospitality industry when he found work at The Roundhouse Restaurant in Camps Bay as a waiter.

The name ‘Kumusha’ (which is Shona) comes from his childhood village where Nyamudoka spent many a school holiday at. Kumusha wines came about through a friendship with Attie Louw, a winemaker from the family estate Opstal in the Slanghoek Valley, which led to the opportunity for Tinashe to blend his wines in 2017 when Kumusha Wines was founded.

Tinashe was in TeamZIM which participated in the World Blind Wine Tasting Championships in 2017 and again in 2018. Learn more about his and TeamZim’s journey by watching the documentary Blind Ambition.

Where to buy:

You can shop Kumusha Wines via their online store or Somm on Call.

Tinashe Nyamudoka, owner and winemaker of Kumusha Wines.


MOSI Wines and Spirits

Started by sommelier and spirits judge Joseph Dhafana, his meteoric rise to one of the most recognisable young figures in the South African wine industry is nothing short of remarkable. Joseph’s brand MOSI Wines and Spirits produces not only wines but gin too. The wines are produced from 100% South African grapes and have a low intervention so that they are made with minimal chemical additives. Dhafana describes his method for greatness: “Low or minimal intervention wines are the best for me because they usually reflect the true terroir or origin and that usually leads to quality. I can only make or sell what I drink.”

Where to buy:

You can shop MOSI Wines and Spirits Wines via online store or Together Store.

Son of the Soil

Son of the Soil Wines is a wine range developed by Denzel Swarts, to share his experiences being a 3rd Generation farmworker and how the wine industry has influenced his vision for a better tomorrow. His father was a foreman on Simonsig estate and his mother a domestic worker, so there was no money for agricultural college or tertiary education. But through sport, Denzel took part in events around the province and began to realise that there was a vast world out there with exciting opportunities that were just waiting within his grasp. After matriculating, he secured a job in the Simonsig Tasting Room. His time at Simonsig initially was cut short after realising the lack of progress people of colour face in the wine industry. Swarts left to pursue a youth leader and mentor role at an organisation involved in youth development. Denzel’s mentor at Simonsig throughout the time kept tabs on him and convinced him to rejoin their tasting room which resulted in skills upliftment and training courses.

Denzel is determined to make an impact on the wine industry. He is a director on the board of the VinPro Foundation and also a mentor at the Pinotage Youth Development Academy (PYDA). He feels that while there are more opportunities than when he started, people of colour are not moving up the ladder as fast as he would like. But instead of being critical, Denzel decided to make a difference and keep the momentum of change going.

Run by a husband and wife team, the Son of the Soil Foundation’s mission is to inspire, empower, and strengthen communities through Authentic Leadership. Denzel and Nadae Swarts strive to create an environment where previously disadvantaged youth of the Western Cape can become active citizens and participate in building better communities. They are breaking the cycle of poverty by minimizing school dropouts among youth.

Where to buy:

You can buy Son of the Soil's wine via their online store, run by wine.co.za’s very own CellarDirect.

Platforms for people of colour wine brands

Cultivate Collective Wine Bar

Cultivate Collective in Salt River, Cape Town is a wine bar, collaborative retail store, tasting room, and events space. What makes it special is that all of its members are people of colour, a move to address the historical imbalance in the South African wine industry. Dubbed the meeting place of like minds, but not like wines, the Cultivate Collective was established by Zahira Asmal in 2020. Their membership is drawn from across the South African wine industry including winemakers; wine producers; wine analysts; wine consultants in export, marketing, tourism and innovation; and sommeliers. The Collective is here to promote and amplify the participation of black and brown talent in one of this country’s flagship enterprises.

Cultivate in essence is a platform for black/brown winemakers to shine and showcase their products in an environment in which they feel safe and proud.

Visit Cultivate wine bar to experience their extensive range of black-owned wine brands, including Aslina Wines and Son of the Soil Wines, in an opulent environment. Find them at Salt Orchard, 45 Yew Street, Salt River, Cape Town.

The Wine Arc

Home to 13 people of colour wine brands, The Wine Arc is a brand home for black-owned wine brands and entrepreneurs and a symbol of South Africa’s wine industry transformation. The Wine Arc is a vehicle for the wine brands to grow a strong business platform and gives greater access to markets and e-commerce facilities and a differentiated consumer sector. It also serves as a creative innovation hub for entrepreneurs and young winemakers to grow and become more sustainable. The name emphasizes the strong character and values of the SA Wine Industry Transformation Unit (SAWITU) and the wine brands that are participating in this initiative. The Wine Arc demonstrates unity, strength, quality and consistency, brings together people of all cultures and is a symbol of hope and revival for wine brands.

Find their wines at the ARC Nietvoorbij Wine Tasting building on the corner of Helshoogte Road and R44 in Stellenbosch.

The ARC Nietvoorbij Wine Tasting building, home of The Wine Arc.

 

If you know of other brands we can highlight and support, please email editor@wine.co.za to let us know.

There are plenty of good news stories about upliftment and transformation in the South African Wine Industry. The #wineforgood website, launched by wine.co.za in June 2016, hosts all the positive stories from the winelands, of which there are plenty. wine.co.za has made April a focus for #wineforgood stories. Share them far and wide and spread the good news about South African wine.

Josef Dhafana
Josef Dhafana



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