'Black people don't just drink cheap wine'
In this extract from 'The Colour of Wine', brand strategist Tebello Motsoane busts stereotypes and shares the story of how he became a wine owner
'The Colour of Wine: Tasting Change' is not a handy guide to the best wine-tasting places to visit when you are holidaying in the Cape. Those books do exist aplenty and are available if you need them. This is, rather, a beautiful keepsake about the story of how wine has transformed in SA since democracy.
Together with an array of local recipes as well as insights from wine doyen John Platter, 'The Colour of Wine' traces the personal stories of black winemakers, chefs, sommeliers, drinkers and connoisseurs, showing how something as fundamental and earthy as wine becomes a taste of what our new world could be.
This is part of an extract by Tebello Motsoane, brand strategist and wine owner:
There are lots of stereotypes about wine and black people. We don't understand wine. We drink cheap wine. We drink wine when we're broke. These are all misconceptions.
I'm from Katlehong, a township 35km east of Johannesburg, but I've always been a Joburg guy. My interest in wine started through food. I've always enjoyed cooking shows. Those guys on the TV always had a glass of wine in the kitchen and always looked so cool.
I didn't grow up drinking wine. I figured out what I like just by drinking and trying new brands. I read up on wine and visited places like Paarl and Franschhoek. I listened, learned and noticed how people consumed it.
In 2017 I was approached by Kamogelo Kgadima, who worked at Wildekrans Wine Estate in the Botrivier Valley. Braam Gericke, the winemaker, and Kamogelo wanted me to be an ambassador for their wine brands - they wanted to explore putting a face to the Wildekrans brand.
I went to the farm and spent time with them. We clicked. I was interested in having my own wine brand and we started to discuss a partnership. I didn't want to own a wine farm, I wanted to market a product I'd helped develop and believe in.
We explored the idea of creating a unique South African sparkling wine, a Méthode Cap Classique (MCC). Usually MCC is made with Chardonnay but we decided to make ours with Chenin. So Atelier sparkling wine was born - a partnership between Wildekrans Wine Estate and myself.
Visiting Wildekrans I got to learn about nature: rainfall patterns, harvests, and how nature affects the growing grapes.
Drinking wine is different to having a shot at the bar. If you order wine, you have to talk too. Wine and conversation always go hand in hand. It is definitely becoming a popular leisure drink among the emerging black middle class.
In terms of tasting wines, there's the suggested way: the nose, the swirl, the colour, whether you decant or not. I do all of that when I'm on a date and I'm trying to be fancy. I wouldn't do it at home by myself. Short of drinking it straight out the bottle, I just pour.
With wine, the main thing is if you enjoy it. If you do, that's the one.
• 'The Colour of Wine: Tasting Change' by Harriet Perlman is available at all good bookstores (Bookstorm, R450).