Sesfikile ,“ the women’s winery

| Mary-Anne Gontsana
Sesfikile Wines is hundred percent owned and controlled by women and the wines are handcrafted by a team of winemakers in Worcester. Photo provided by Nondumiso Pikashe.

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, Sesfikile Wines is one hundred percent owned and controlled by women and the wines are handcrafted by a team of women winemakers in Worcester.

“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,” says Pikashe, who is 48.

After resurrecting her business, she met Gerald van der Vat who owns a winery in Worcester. She told him about her vision for Sesfikile 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 says. “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.

“People now have a growing interest in wine in the township, 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 is also working with schools, exposing learners to the wine industry as a career option.

She says, “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.”

Sesfikile Wines can be bought at Makro stores. Pikashe says her biggest supporters are township tavern business owners. From her travels, she has believes there is a wide market for wines in Africa.

TOPICS:  Economy Gender

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