Aslina Wines is the realization of a dream for South Africa’s first black woman winemaker, Ntsiki Biyela. Aslina brand is named after Biyela’s grandmother, whose care and guidance provided her with the inspiration and vision to succeed.
Her ambition to create quality wines was inspired by her time working as a winemaker and ambassador for Stellekaya Wines. After 13 years, she decided to venture out on her own and create Aslina Wines.
“It was an opportunity to do something with my life, to change my life to be a better person [and] change my life with family and everything,” she told Black Enterprise during an interview.
Biyela grew up in Mahlabathini, a rural village in Kwazulu Natal. Having spent a year as a domestic [social] worker, she was awarded a scholarship by South African Airways to study winemaking. After graduating from Stellenbosch University in 2003, she joined the boutique winery Stellekaya Wines the following year.
Biyela’s ambition to create her own wines grew following a collaboration with the Californian winemaker, Helen Kiplinger, as part of Mika Bulmash’s Wine for the World initiative. In addition, she has consulted in France, making wine under Winemakers Collection in Bordeaux.
Currently, she sits on the board of directors for the Pinotage Youth Development Academy, which provides technical training and personal development for young South Africans in the Cape Winelands, preparing them for work in the wine industry. The program offers them the unique opportunity to emulate her own considerable success.