Black female-owned Siwela Wines is helping to transform the South African wine industry by challenging traditional conventions.
Siwela Masoga is shaking up the wine industry. She is a 28-year-old black female winemaker in a white male-dominated sector and is determined that fellow South Africans join her on a wine revolution.
Masoga is determined to craft local wines, with locally inspired names and labels, to be paired with South African food, rather than Western cuisine.
It is Masoga’s aim to get more young, black people playing active roles in the domestic wine industry.
Masoga, who was raised in a small Limpopo village, has put down roots in the Western Cape and is the proud owner of Siwela Wines, which are produced in the famous winelands of Stellenbosch and sold by order across the country.
After doing a National Diploma in Biotechnology, majoring in fermentation and microbiology, Masoga accepted a position as an intern at Waterstone Wines in Stellenbosch and so began her journey into the wine industry.
She is currently doing her Masters in Wine Making at the Cape Wine Academy while living her dream as a winemaker.
Siwela Wines currently produces a dry red and a semi-sweet red, and plans to add a sparkling wine and a white wine to its range, which hit the market in August.
The wines have been marketed through social media and word of mouth. Masoga told Vuk’uzenzele that the wine is couriered to customers, many of whom order online on Siwela Wines website: www.siwelawines.co.za. The enterprising businesswoman keeps in touch with her clients after they have received their order.
She explained that winemaking is a natural process which can take up to a year.
Masoga said those who want to study winemaking must focus on mathematics and science subjects at high school level. “If you want to study wine, it has to be something that you are passionate about,” she said.
The South African wine industry employs around 300 000 people, both directly and indirectly.