Ntsiki Biyela is South Africa’s first black female winemaker. This Stellenbosch University graduate says she was always convinced that she would one day run her own company, and is now living her dream. Since launching her own brand of bottled magic, the next stop is quite literally the rest of the world.
Ntsiki wishes to introduce her brand that’s made with love to every continent, and has since established Aslina wines as a serious player in this competitive business. According to Business Insider South Africa, the projection is that 12 000 bottles of Aslina wines will be sold in the US, Germany, Ghana and Taiwan this year. A number she wishes to grow to at least 18 000 by 2019. After spending thirteen years working at the Stellakaya Winery in Stellenbosch, she feels ready to steer the business into international new heights.
The 39-year old already stole South African hearts in 2004 when she became our first ever black female winemaker, and the past year was her first to export wine internationally.
Although she admits it is a tough business, she’s positive about the available room for newcomers.
Prepare to learn about a wide range of things – she advises. You need to be an expert negotiator, understand financing and the wine production process from start to finish. The whole value chain, as she calls it.
Her export-focused company produces sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay and a Bordeaux blend made from Stellenbosch grapes, and is based in Somerset-West where she rents a cellar.
She describes her wine as soulful, light-hearted and authentic.
If the way 2018 has started is any indication of things to come, then the sky truly is the limit for Ntsiki Biyela.