East of the Norm

Indwe - - Contents -

Even so, Nt­siki of­ten found it dif­fi­cult to break into in­dus­try cliques. Since she didn’t ex­actly fit the pro­file of the typ­i­cal wine­maker, she had to work ex­tra hard to build bridges and forge re­la­tion­ships – but the ef­fort she in­vested in this area was well worth it. “I think that we have pre­con­ceived ideas about peo­ple, and th­ese make us look at our lives in a dif­fer­ent way. But the re­al­ity is that you need to get past th­ese ideas. Some of the friends I have made in the in­dus­try are ex­tremely dif­fer­ent from me, but when you lis­ten to them and get to know them, you find they have hearts of gold.”

Nt­siki be­lieves that women’s nat­u­ral abil­ity to cre­ate friend­ships in this way is an as­set, re­gard­less of their in­dus­try. “I think that we get in­tim­i­dated be­cause we think that peo­ple know more than we do. We for­get that we are also ex­perts in our own right. The key is to lis­ten to what ev­ery­one has to say; talk to them, get their ad­vice.”

Col­lab­o­ra­tion of this na­ture is also what led her to es­tab­lish As­lina, her own wine brand, ear­lier this year. Nt­siki says that she had al­ways wanted to own her own busi­ness, even as a stu­dent. So when an im­porter in the United States in­vited her to join forces with a wine­maker in Cal­i­for­nia, she used this as a step­ping stone to­wards cre­at­ing her own legacy.

Named af­ter the grand­mother who raised her – a woman who em­bod­ied love, a nur­tur­ing spirit and faith, the very qual­i­ties Nt­siki wants to see en­trenched As­lina – the la­bel has al­ready ex­pe­ri­enced sig­nif­i­cant suc­cess with its 2017 re­leases of Sau­vi­gnon Blanc, Chardon­nay, Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon and Um­sasane, a Bordeaux blend. Nt­siki chose th­ese four as her de­buts be­cause, hav­ing had ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence in reds at Stellekaya, she wanted to try her hand at whites too. The Chardon­nay was a nod to her per­sonal pref­er­ence for big, bold flavours. She is cur­rently at work on her next vin­tages, which will be re­leased shortly.

What’s next for Nt­siki? Devel­op­ment is her next big fo­cus and she’s cur­rently a board mem­ber of the Pino­tage Youth Devel­op­ment Academy, which pro­vides train­ing for pre­vi­ously dis­ad­van­taged youth. She’s also in­volved in a num­ber of other ini­tia­tives which al­low her to “give back”. Cheers to that!

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