Gugulethu winemaker toasts success

17 July 2015

Even though she once despised wine because her brother would get drunk, Nondumiso Pikashe from Gugulethu has made a success of her own handcrafted wines. She thinks more people could tap into the industry.

Officially started in 2006 after a first attempt failed in 2004, Ses’fikile wines is 100% owned and controlled by women and the wines are handcrafted by a team of female winemakers in Worcester, reports GroundUp, the community news organisation.

“The idea was to break into the wine market. an industry that is male dominated. Together with friends in 2004, we turned the idea into reality, but because of certain obstacles and politics between us as friends, the business failed,” said 48- year-old Pikashe.

After resurrecting her business, she met Gerald van der Vat, who owns a winery in Worcester. She told him about her vision for Ses’fikile, which means “we have arrived”, and he was keen to help her start up by allowing her to use his winery.

“Wine was not really big in the township back in the day,” she said. “People always saw it as the favoured drink for old men who wanted to get drunk quick.

“The word ‘wine’ in the townships had always been associated with cheap wine that could be bought at any tavern or shebeen. With all these stereotypes, I decided to do research, and I found a different side to wine – the good, sophisticated side.”

There was now a growing interest in wine in the township, Pikashe added, but there “is a lack of faith and confidence in wines that are produced by black people. You’ll hear people saying that wines made by black people are fake or they don’t taste as good.”

Pikashe also works with schools, exposing pupils to the wine industry as a career option.

“A clothing consumer is different from a wine consumer. When you’re buying clothes, you check the style, the fabric and the quality. But when buying wine, you go beyond.

“You want to be taken through a journey; you want to see the vineyard; you want to know the winemaker; you want to know the process – how much alcohol is in the wine, the blend. You want to know so many things. This is what makes a person appreciate wine.”

Ses’fikile wines can be bought at Makro stores. Pikashe said her biggest supporters were township tavern business owners. From her travels, she has believes there is a wide market for wines in Africa.

Source: News24Wire