April 16 - Ntsiki Biyela is one of an emerging group of young black winemakers in the South African wine industry, which for centuries has been dominated by whites because of apartheid's land legacy. Ciara Sutton reports.
Ntsiki Biyela is South Africa's first black female winemaker. After winning the award of Woman Winemaker of the Year in 2009, her presence is being felt in the traditionally white and male industry. Ntsiki's 2004 and 2005 Cape Cross won a Gold medal at the Michelangelo International Wine Awards. It was the first gold medal won by a black winemaker in South Africa, and it was her first vintage. The 34 year-old says a friend encouraged her to study viticulture, a decision she'll never regret. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NTSIKI BIYELA, WINEMAKER SAYING: "Wine making is all about loving what you do, its all about the passion, its all about the understanding and the excitement around the whole season of harvesting, blending, bottling, looking at the product, talking to people at the end of the day when they taste the wine that you have made." As a winemaker for firm Stellekaya Winery, Ntsiki has travelled extensively in Europe and the U.S. Stellekaya Wines is a family business, but says Ntsiki Biyela is its brand. The company makes around 6000 cases a year from a variety of grapes, and most of its clients are overseas. Grape farmer Lorna Hughes has been in the business for more than ten years and says anyone who's determined enough can be a success in wine making. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LORNA HUGHES, GRAPE FARMER SAYING: "Its a tough industry to be in, there are many other wine makers or budding wine markers coming out, not enough jobs but if you are talented and you work hard you can do anything." Ntsiki hopes to make her wine under her own brand name in the future, but says it's difficult accessing land. There are only a handful of black-owned vineyards in South Africa's 3 billion dollar a year industry. But the number is expected to increase as the government tries to unwind colonial land policies and apartheid laws which prevented black people owning land. Ciara Sutton, Reuters.