Many wine lovers from around the globe already know that South Africa is famous for producing some of the most exciting wines. But how many are familiar with the ground-breaking Aslina Wines, created by the country’s first black woman winemaker, Ntsiki Biyela? If you haven’t already read Ntsiki’s inspirational story, or tasted her award-winning wines for yourself, then you are missing out!
Aslina Wines is the realization of a dream by Ntsiki Biyela, an award-winning winemaker, who is in fact the first black woman winemaker in South Africa. Aslina is the name of Ntsiki’s grandmother, whose care and guidance gave her the inspiration to succeed in life and in business. The company has a sustainable local market, as well as export markets, and its sphere of influence in the wine industry is expanding.
Talking about her inspiration for becoming an entrepreneur and getting involved in the wine business, Ntsiki says:
“I grew up in a rural area in South Africa where I saw my grandmother’s hard work paying off the bills. Aslina was set up in 2014 following a collaboration with a California winemaker, Helen Kiplinger. The project was a brainchild of USA wine importer Mika Bulmash from Wines for the World, whose goal was to support emerging winemakers through partnerships with US winemakers. My first collaboration was launched under the Kiplinger/Biyela label. This changed to Suo the following year, and not too long after that I began to be operational as Aslina Wines, while I was working full-time at Stellekaya in South Africa.”
Today, Ntsiki produces and sells a range of wonderful wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Umsasane (the Bordeaux blend), Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Her wines can be found globally through the following companies: Wine of the World (USA); Aristo Kiso (Japan); Vinafrica (Germany); Molovino (Taiwan); Africa Wines (Netherlands); Veevinos (Ghana)
Speaking about what makes Aslina Wines different, founder Ntsiki Biyela says:
“My wine range is not only client centred but I also produce what I love and what I would enjoy sipping on from time to time. That way I become more passionate about what I produce and I have something that is part of myself to offer to the world. I am grateful to work with a team that is dedicated and would go all out to get things done with minimal supervision.”
Sharing what gives her the most satisfaction from being an entrepreneur, Ntsiki says:
“I get most satisfaction from waking up and being an inspiration to many other young people who might think their background cannot be associated with success. My advice is don't be scared to start something different, don't wait to know how everything will take place for you to be convinced to start. Just begin and let other people see you doing it first, especially if it’s a little different.”