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Ses’fikile Wines wins US market entry

Some of the wines the owners had the opportunity to share their stories about. Picture: Supplied.

Some of the wines the owners had the opportunity to share their stories about. Picture: Supplied.

Published Jul 4, 2022

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Johannesburg - Go There Wines is a United States wine company focused on great wine stories. Last month, in a bid to showcase winemakers from across the globe – and help them make inroads into the wider American market – the company hosted the South African founder of Ses’fikile Wines, Nondumiso Pikashe, together with winemakers from three other countries.

Pikashe said the trip was an uplifting one for her, as well as for her business.

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“It was one of the most exciting times in my life as the owner of Ses’fikile Wines. I was contacted by three US business people who wanted to approach the wine business differently. They saw wines not just as a product but as a geopolitical aspect of our lives.

"They identified four countries with which they would form relationships: Lebanon, South Africa, Georgia and the US. They took two of my wines and those from various regions. They will be sold under the umbrella brand of Go There Wines. The approach is a disruptive one that looks at social cohesion. It is also bespoke. It is about bringing forth the voice of the underdog,” she said.

The trip had two legs – the first in Los Angeles and the second in Washington DC.

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Pikashe said the crux of the trip was having the entrepreneurs tell their stories and show how each of their countries produces beautiful wines, made by wonderful people.

The events took place on June 17 and 20 in Los Angeles and Washington DC, respectively. Wine tasting, food pairing and interactions with guests about their wines were part of the experience.

Attendees included media, influencers, bloggers and wine lovers.

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The trip included an exhibition of the women’s wines, where they presented them to the guests. Aside from Pikashem, the wine entrepreneurs included Maria Frangeigh from Lebanon, Gvantsa and Baia Abuladze from Georgia, as well as Mireia Taribó and Tara Gomez from California.

“There were about 100 guests in Washington and about 70 guests in Los Angeles. I was interacting with people about where Ses’fikile comes from,” said Pikashe.

Guests also watched 10-minute-long documentaries about the four countries – South Africa, Lebanon, Georgia and the US – where the wines were made. This was followed by food and wine pairing.

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“We each got a chance to speak about who we are and where we’re from. I was overwhelmed by the love, the reception and how well our work was appreciated. The guests were touched by my story and kept asking how they can support the movement, which is more than a wine business.”

On how the trip to the US helped her business, Pikashe said: “Before you are an entrepreneur, you are a person first. I personally felt elevated. We’ve just come out of the Covid-19 pandemic. It felt great to be out of the country and experience a different scene. I made some sales, irrespective of the amount, and I networked with fellow winemakers and bloggers who were at the events.”

She said she wants to see Ses’fikile Wines grow from strength to strength.

“I want many more to see what we Africans are about and what we are capable of in the wine industry.”

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