Ses’fikile means “we have arrived.” These three words are built on a foundation of personal and communal struggle, yet they also look forward positively, with the hope of a better tomorrow. Most importantly the words sparkle with a sense of adventure.
Founded 15 years ago by a group of women with a goal of creating wines that are not just fine blends, Ses’fikile is also palatable and fruit-driven. Accompanying their wines, the brand tells a fascinating story of celebration, discovery and triumph. The wines are handcrafted by a passionate team of wine makers and a viticulturist in Stellenbosch in the Cape Winelands. The team is driven by partnerships, collaborations and the continued sense of curiosity.
Today we have the pleasure of chatting to one of the innovative women behind this innovative wine.
Welcome, Nondumiso Pikashe, the inspirational founder of Ses’fikile! Tell us, how did you get started in wine?
My interest in wine coincided with my entrepreneurial itch. While considering leaving teaching, I discovered the world of wine. I had always despised wine because of the image it held in my community. I realised it was bigger and better than the way it was depicted.
I did WSET 2, a garagiste wine making course, as well as a few wine marketing courses. My niece is following in my footsteps and my cousin has done wine marketing with UCT’s Graduate School of Business.
And what has surprised you most about being a winemaker?
I am pleasantly surprised by the “living” aspect of wine. I draw an analogy between winemaking with making babies. It is a selective, fragile process.
Your most memorable wine moments?
When I saw the finished Ses’fikile product for the first time. The national and international footprints. The media endorsements and awards collected.
What goals in winemaking are you still working to achieve?
I am working towards gaining bigger market share both domestically and in exports. I look forward to seeing Ses’fikile being an easily recognisable brand partnering with bigger brands.
I am equally looking forward to seeing black kids pursuing qualifications in the wine industry and doing my part in ensuring that alcohol is no longer a taboo subject.
In the world of wine, who do you most admire and why?
There are many people I admire in the wine industry. For now, I choose to single out Carmen Stevens. Her resilience and her spirit of collaboration and sharing is admirable. Also, my grandfather continues to be my influence, an entrepreneur in the worst of times.
What is your favourite wine to pair with your favourite meal?
I was pleasantly surprised with the Ses’fikile Shiraz Cinsault paired with sorbet by a chef in Uganda. We also have a traditional dish called “umvubo” which pairs well with a chilled Ses’fikile Chenin Blanc blend.
And the greatest challenge?
Sales, sales, sales. This has been the most challenging part for me. The struggle to convince wine buyers that your wine is good enough…
What makes a wine great in your eyes?
Balance is key. No one characteristic should be overwhelmingly present when you taste the wine.
Do you have any “guilty pleasures” when it comes to wine?
My motto is “Nothing is cast in stone and the consumer’s palatte is king.” We should demystify wine and allow for exploration and adventure. Why shouldn’t I be able to enjoy my Cabernet Sauvignon with Tin Roof ice cream?
Any fun wine moments?
We visited a farm and we were told how to go about canopy management. I was so confused at the irrelevance! My canopy was that at the back of the bakkie, not in the vines!
More about Ses’fikile Wines
Soft and subtle blend with a gentle spice – match this red with marinated rack of Karoo lamb, olive and brinjal truffles with a spicy tomato salsa and calf’s liver with bacon and mustard mashed potatoes, or an African cuisine like mngqusho and tripe.
With tasting notes of plums, cedar wood, prunes, cassis and fynbos undertones, this fruit-driven wine’s flavours will remind you of red berry ice-cream. Get a box of 6 x 750ml mouth-watering bottles for R690.
Crisp and fresh, this wine is perfect for light summer lunches or to be enjoyed on its own. It will compliment fresh leaf salads and lots of sunshine and good company. It can also be enjoyed after your mphokoqo dish.
Expect to taste golden apple, and butter crumble made with lime zest, cinnamon and cream, when you sip this creamy white wine. This bright light yellow wine also has an undertone of honey “heuningblommetjies”, and golden delicious apples. Get a box of 6 x 750ml for R660 to enjoy this well-balanced wine at home.