Making her mark in wine industry

Basetsana Makhalemele

“Seeing our wine being bottled and ready to be sold, from an idea to what it is today, was our milestone”.  

This is the testimony from Truevine wines co-founder Simphiwe Xinwa, who took some time out to speak to us about her fermented beverage.

The God fearing Grahamstown born ignited woman who is also a graphic designer and multimedia expert, spoke to Ignited Woman about living and studying in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and the highs and the lows of starting a business.

Ignited Woman (IW): How did the business journey of Truevine wines begin?

Simphiwe Xinwa (SX): It all began when I was in Malaysia, I realised that people out there love our wines. But at the time I didn’t turn it into a business. I thought of it and started working on the idea when a high school friend of mine suggested that we export wines to China. But as everything has its ups and down we would start and stop, until we decided to be partners and Truevine wines started flourishing to where it is now.

IW: What type of wines do you produce and why?

SX: We produce Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc because the market we are targeting are mainly people that go for dry wine as they have already acquired the taste.

IW: So far, how has the wine performed in the market?

SX: We are currently selling on our online store, at Uhuru Shop at Sandton Gautrain Station, in markets as well as through distributors within Gauteng. We are exporting into Nigeria as well and knocking on other doors outside South Africa.

IW: What have been your highlights and challenges?

SX: Firstly just to name some of our highlights, it was when our wine was bottled and ready to be sold, knowing it all started as an idea to what it is today was a milestone. Our first sale and the reaction of people when they learnt that Truevines Wines is a 100% black female owned business and launching our online store, was another highlight. A great challenge has been being listed at retail stores and consistent sales.

IW: How difficult it is as a woman in the wine business in what is still a white male dominated industry?

SX: It is still very challenging because it is a white dominated industry. People tend not to take you seriously, but with perseverance one will finally get the big break. As long as you are focused on the vision and you know who backs you up, you will never fail.

IW: With these kinds of difficulties, what would you say has kept you moving forward?

SX: The vision of where we are going and the knowledge that this business came as a result of prayer and fasting. The support of my family and friends has been overwhelming. The likes of Tshwane Economic Development Agency (TEDA), the Gauteng Growth Development Agency (GGDA), ABSAbank and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) have helped us focus through their support.

IW: How do you see Truevine Wines evolving in the future?

SX: We will be a household name within the next five years, not just in South Africa but internationally.

IW: What is your advice to other female entrepreneurs?

SX: Make each day count, have a five-year plan of where you are taking your business. Speak to your business and know that challenges will come, but they are just tastes for your next level and everything you need is inside you. But most importantly know that the Holy Spirit is your competitive advantage.

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