A treasure chest of women empowerment

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Fourteen black female owned wine brands have come together to share their passion for wine with the South African market. These South African women, mostly from the Western Cape, have all fallen in love with the wine industry and are manufacturing good quality wines, which are also exported internationally.

Treasure Chest principal, Malcolm Green, says the treasure chest is a marketing and promotional wine group. “The treasure chest is made up of 13 black owned brands and one BEE company, so collectively we are 14. And many years ago, while I was part of an association called African Vintners Alliance (AVA), we found the important need to take our own wine brands to the market because the challenge we faced individually was that the retail market did not have an appetite for black owned wine brands,” says Green. He adds that infiltrating the local market is still a big challenge.

Nondumiso Pikashe of Ses’fikile Wines is a former life orientation teacher who realised that there was a lack of black people representing the wine industry. “I wanted to make a difference in exposing black children to the various careers within the wine industry,” she adds. Pikashe says growing up with an alcoholic brother meant that she had a negative connotation of the effects of alcohol.

But her curiosity as to why wine was looked down upon in her community but projected as a glamorous beverage in the media, led her to being where she is today.

Managing Director of Thokozani at Diermersfontein, Denise Stubbs, grew up on a farm, where both her parents were labourers, and this exposed her to the ‘dop’ system. “I had my first glass of wine when I was 32 years old, and I was curious as to why white people don’t get drunk, but our people get foolishly drunk. That is how I became interested in wine tasting and the art of wine making,” she says.

Thokozani is a working partnership between Diemersfontein and its employees as the farm staff own 80% of the business.

Vivian Kleynhans says that when their father lost his job in the fishing village of Paternoster, they were evicted from their home. Survival for his seven children meant they were split up among relatives. In 2005, 20 years later, when the Brutus sisters and their only brother, John, were reunited, they were inspired to start work on their African Roots Wine Brand.

Many of the wines are sold in the international market, including the United State of America, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Sweden and others.

The 14 wine brand owners include: African Roots, Cape Dreams,Mhudi, Libby’s Pride, La RicMal,Thokozani,Woman in Wine,Lathitha,Ses’fikile,LC Kenned, Township Winery, The Bridge of Hope, Thembi, Bayede.

The aim of Treasure Chest is to infiltrate the South African market with the hopes that the individual inspirational stories that come with each wine brand will touch the hearts of South Africans and encourage them to buy local brands. – Seithati Semenokane 
seithati@centralmediagroup.co.za