Some of the finest wines South Africa has to offer are made by female winemakers. While the industry is largely male-dominated, we’re here to showcase these incredible female trailblazers and the gems they bring to the industry.
Carmen Stevens: Carmen Stevens Wines
Carmen Stevens was the first black person in South Africa who was permitted to study wine, and graduated as the first black winemaker in South Africa. In January 2019, Carmen registered the first 100% black-owned winery in South Africa in the picturesque Stellenbosch. Her wines have won multiple awards, and she is such a delight to interact with!
Ntsiki Biyela: Aslina WInes
Ntsiki grew up in Mahlabathini, a rural village in KwaZulu-Natal, and matriculated from high school in 1996. Having spent a year as a domestic worker, she was awarded a scholarship to study winemaking at Stellenbosch University in 1999.
She graduated in 2003 with a BSc in Agriculture (Viticulture and Oenology) and joined boutique winery Stellekaya as their winemaker the following year.
Ntsiki’s ambition to create her own wines grew following a 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 her new colleagues in the USA that she shared the story of the inspiration behind her ambition.
Her beloved grandmother was the guiding light in her life and it became obvious that her new brand should be named Aslina in the matriarch’s honour.
Kiara Scott - Brookdale Estate
Kiara was born in 1993 and is originally from the Cape Flats area of Cape Town. She graduated from Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute in Viticulture and Oenology in Stellenbosch before being selected for the prestigious CWG Protégé Programme. Here, she caught the attention of renowned winemaker and cellar master, Duncan Savage or Savage Wines. Duncan recognised her ability and passion and so appointed her as his assistant winemaker at Brookdale Estate, where he was the consulting winemaker at the time.
Kiara was appointed as sole winemaker at Brookdale Estate in 2019 at the age of only 26, officially the youngest head female winemaker in South Africa.
This young lady is moving vineyards, literally and figuratively, with her determination, outlook, skill and passion.
Stephanie Wiid: Thistle and Weed
Wine is in Stephanie’s blood.Her Oupa was the renowned Niel Joubert of Spier, pioneer and founding member of the Stellenbosch Wine Route.
She holds a Masters degree in Viticulture from Stellenbosch University, and spent 10 years as winemaker at the innovative Fairview winery. She turned to Thistle and Weed (and motherhood) full time in late 2018. She is the youngest and tallest of three sisters, wife to Kannas and mother to Frances (human) and Khaleesi & Khumba (canines).
Annalie van Dyk: Hidden Valley Wines
Annalie grew up in the Cape and studied Viticulture and Oenology at Stellenbosch University.
After graduating in 2008, she worked under Mike Dobrovic at Mulderbosch Vineyards and gained valuable knowledge about the production of quality white wine.
Her attention turned to the production of premium red wines when she joined 4G Wines in the Helderberg area. As part of this small venture, Annalie was able to be very hands-on in the vineyards.
Annalie also brings with her some impressive international experience, having worked with Andy Erickson of Screaming Eagle fame in Napa, California, where she gained experience with Cabernet Sauvignon.
She also spent some time in France’s Loire Valley, living la belle vie and drinking in the old-world charm while working with Sauvignon blanc, Chenin and Gamay.