South African winemaker Mbali Masike, 36, founded her company, Ngiyi Mbali Wines, while still working as a marketing manager in a large insurance company. She recently took a leap of faith to only do what she truly loves: making wine.
A wine lover since her first hesitant sip of red wine on her 18th birthday, stepping into a whole new sector was a challenge. Managing to convince a fifth-generation South African winemaker to offer a mentorship, she created a family business with six ranges of wine currently offered. The growing demand for South African wines has helped her business to take root while she has started to receive quotes from abroad.
“I grow more excited as the time goes by. I always wake up happy. But it’s also been challenging. This has been an industry dominated by white men,” she told Female One Zero on a call from South Africa, saying prejudice remains.
The mentorship continues, as Mbali Masike makes wine in her mentor’s yard until she can buy her own piece of land. Currently she is working on adding sparkling wine to her ranges, to be launched by the end of 2018. For next year she is preparing to add the first food products—chutneys and jams.
“I’m going at it, and I’m going at it hard. I’ve risked a lot, I put all my savings in this and left a very good job,” she said.
I know I have it in me to make it work… It is very important that we, as women, understand our potential.