South Africa’s first Black woman winemaker just launched her own brand that’s slated to satisfy the palates of wine lover’s worldwide.
Ntsiki Biyela, owner of Aslina Wines, is projected to sell a whopping 12,000 bottles in the US, Germany, Ghana and Taiwan in 2018, according to Business Insider South Africa. Biyela, who spent 13 years working for Stellenbosch’s famous Stellakaya Winery, said she hopes to up that number to 18,000 bottles by next year.
“I sold a bottle to a man who actually wrote on the banknote that the money he presented was the beginning of a million more to come my way,” the winemaker told the news site of her very first sale.
While working for and collaborating with other brands, Biyela said she realized she would one day like to start her own company. The Stellenbosch University graduate was armed with a solid business plan, plus collateral, the newspaper reported but soon learned that banks were reluctant to loan to businesses slapped with a pricey sin tax. So, Biyela forged her own path, saving her own money to finance her brand.
“I also knew I was going to name it after my late grandmother, Aslina, in her honor,” she said.
Much of the money she earned via a partnership with Wine For The World, an import company run by California winemaker Mike Bulmash aimed at helping wine exporting countries break into the American market. VinPro, a nonprofit that supports South African wine producers and cellars, also contributed funds that helped Biyela bottle her 2015 chardonnay, according to BI South Africa.
Biyela currently outsources her operations, but rents a production cellar where she can be hands-on with the logistics, transport and bottling of her unique wine.
“Since being established in 2013, Aslina wines has been known for an unparalleled commitment to customer satisfaction, the company website states. “It’s this standard of excellence that has provided the impetus for us to grow into the company it is today.”