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BKWine TV: [E] Ntsiki Biyela winemaker at Stellekaya in Stellenbosch

>> Sunday, April 04, 2010

An interview with the winemaker at the Stellenbosch winery Stellekaya, Ntsiki Biyela. She is one of the very few black women wine makers in South Africa, perhaps even the first. The winery is close to the town Stellenbosch which is also the name of the wine region. The vineyards are quite a bit a way from winery. The name Stellekaya means home of the stars. Most of the wines are named after astrological star constellations (Capricorn, Taurus, Scorpio, Orion etc).

Stellekaya only make red wines: blends and varietals. They have cabernet sauvignon (called Scorpio), a merlot and a shiraz. They make several blends: sangiovese, merlot and cs (called Hercules), Bordeaux style (cs, merlot, cab franc), Cape blend with merlot, cs and pinotage. Wines often highly rated by John Platter in the Platter guide. The wines are generally very elegant with a lot of fruit. Ntsiki Biyela, the wine maker wants to have the fruit prominent with a lot of freshness.

Ntsiki has been winemaker since 2004. Over the years her wine making has changed, improved, learning from experience. There are always changes depending on the vintage but the style with fruit and elegance remains the same.

Making wine was not originally something that Ntsiki Biyela had thought of doing. Her first taste of wine was a strange experience: it was horrible, why would anyone want to drink this, she thought. She had the opportunity to study viticulture and vinification so she came to study at the Stellenbosch University on a scholarship. She has since been named Woman Winemaker of the Year (in 2009). Ntsiki comes from KwaZulu-Natal where they grow sugar cane, bananas but no grapes, and where drinking wine is not part of the traditional culture. Not yet.

More on Stellekaya:

Music: Marco Esu, Primo risveglio,

By BKWine, Interviewer: Per Karlsson, BKWine. © Copyright BKWine, Per Karlsson.

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