The Sunday Mail
WINE is part and parcel of every social gathering, including church assemblies.
The art, or is it science, of brewing wine, is specialised.
While there are many wine tasters locally, there are not many wine makers around.
However, South Africa-based Zimbabwean, Caroline Madziwa, has defied the odds to create her own brand of wine – Rwendo Wines.
Her journey, which started from a natural love of agriculture, saw her attend many colleges in Zimbabwe and Cape Town, South Africa, as she sought knowledge on what has become her lifetime pursuit.
Describing her wine, the vintner said, “lt is a French style, well-matured wine. When poured in a glass it does not reflect its characteristics immediately as it needs a bit of time to breathe. When sipped, the notes you pick up include plums, black currents and cherries.”
She added, “I wanted something that was different from other wines already on the market, so I had to work really hard to create a unique product that wine lovers would really appreciate.”
The name of her wine brand is inspired by the journey she has travelled. lt tells the story of the huddles she has encountered.
While Madziwa has always had an interest in agriculture, with her family owning a farm in Hwedza, Business Studies were her first port of call after finishing high school. Having enrolled for a Business and Marketing Management programme at ILSA College, she went on to take short farming courses at Gwebi Agricultural College.
“I was always drawn back to agriculture because I knew that somehow I would be the one running the family farm someday. I ended up enrolling at Blackfordby College of Agriculture in Mazoe where I did a two-year diploma in general agriculture.”
It took an article by South Africa-based wine maker, Tongayi Dhafana, for her to fall in love with wine.
“When I read Tangayi’s story, it was at a time when things were not really going well in my life and I figured I could use a new start so I set my eyes on the wine industry. Having googled and learnt more about winery, I reached out to Tongayi, who happened to be very accommodative and even helped me enrol at the Cape Wine Academy in 2015.
“This proved to be a really good move because from the word go, I enjoyed every moment at the Academy. Since I had an agriculture background, it was easy for me,” said Madziwa.
Feeling that she was ready to test her skills, Madziwa approached a wine estate in Cape Town and asked if it was possible to rent part of their vineyard, a proposal they agreed to.
“I didn’t have any equipment and the owners of the estate also agreed to let me use their infrastructure and some of their workers. Since there were experts at the estate, they helped me a lot and gave me tips on what to do to create good wine.
“They have their own brilliant wines and so I had to come up with my own signature elements. I ended up creating a really good red wine. Right now I am planning to buy my own equipment so that I become more independent as time goes on. I also want to move back home and start growing my own grapes so that I can expand the business in my home country,” she said.
Rwendo Wine is being sold online while Madziwa is working on establishing more distribution channels.