As Aslina Wines has said so aptly themselves –
‘As South Africa’s first black female winemaker, Ntsiki Biyela has forged a path to become one of the most recognised names in the world of wine. In 2016, she established Aslina Wines, inspired by the strength and determination of the biggest influence in her life, her grandmother. Today Aslina is renowned for its range of premium wines and is the realisation of Ntsiki’s dream to create an exceptional world-class brand.’
We caught up with this powerhouse of a woman to ask her about her journey…
Tell us more about who Ntsiki Biyela is and how you began your journey in winemaking?
I am from KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa. The province is known for sugar cane, bananas and other agricultural products but not wines. Vineyards only started recently.
I wanted to become a chemical engineer, but my application was rejected. Then I got a job as a domestic worker for a year. During that time, I was recruited to study winemaking in Stellenbosch University on a scholarship basis offered by South Africa Airways.
I told myself “you’re going to be studying wine making”, which I had no idea of what it was at that time, but all I wanted to do was study.
You started an exceptional company called Aslina Wines in 2016, what made you decide to start your own venture?
My ambition to create my own wines grew following collaboration with Californian winemaker, Helen Kiplinger, as part of Mika Bulmash’s Wine for the World initiative.
It was over dinner and a glass of wine with my new colleagues in the USA that I shared the story of the inspiration behind my ambition. My beloved grandmother was the guiding light in my life and it became obvious that my new brand should be named Aslina in the matriarch’s honour.
Ntsiki, you have won many prestigious awards within your wine-making as well as some incredible personal achievements. Which would you say is your favourite and why?
It’s been an honour being nominated and receiving these awards. The best moment for me was when I shared a glass of wine with my grandmother.
What advice do you have for aspiring female wine-makers out there?
It is important to understand the wines and the depth of the industry. Silence the noises and focus on the goal.
Last, but not least, where can we purchase your wines?
You can get my wines on our online shop: https://shop.aslinawines.com/.
Dry Dock Liquor, Ultra Liquor, Norman Goodfellows. We export to the Netherlands, Germany, United States, Taiwan, Japan, Canada, Swaziland and Ghana.
Thank you Ntsiki! Follow her journey below!
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