Di-vine success for township growers

First community-owned wine on shelves in Komani

Mayime Agricultural Co-op chair Selborne Cecane with the wine
Mayime Agricultural Co-op chair Selborne Cecane with the wine

The two-year wait is finally over as the Shiloh community produced wine, Inkosi, hit the shelves in Komani on Monday.

And plans are afoot to export the wine to China and Russia.

The chenin blanc and pinotage wines retail at R49.99 at the Komani Pick n Pay liquor store – while the chardonnay is yet to hit the shelves.

Inkosi wine is a product of the Mayime winery, a community co-operative under Mayime Primary Agricultural Cooperative based in Shiloh township, in Whittlesea.

The co-operative has a 7ha vineyard in the Shiloh irrigation scheme where it harvests grapes and transports them to Cape Town for the juice to be extracted, blended and bottled.

Chris Hani Development Agency CEO Thukela Mashologu called on Chris Hani district residents to support the local brand.

“Let us own the wine as the people of this district and improve the lives of the Shiloh community. This wine is a registered brand and it is the first community-owned wine.

“Recently [the Shiloh community] received their winery licence and we are going to start marketing the brand throughout the country.”

Mashologu said now that the wine was available in stores, it would open doors for other people to create more vineyards to support it.

“We need about 100ha to support the winery.

“We need to be like the Western Cape, which is known for its vineyards.

“We have been supporting this programme since its beginning in 2012 and we are still continuing to attract funding.”

Mayime Primary Agricultural Co-operative chair Selborne Cecane said having the wine in stores was a great achievement for the co-op.

“Since we have finally hit the market after two years of producing the wine, our project will increase and we will create more jobs for the poor community of Shiloh,” he said.

“The idea of having a wine came after we found out that our land is good for planting grapes, and that led us to start planting grapes and through the help of our partners we managed to have our first wine made in 2016.

“We have hopes of exporting the wine to China and Russia as we have been in talks with those countries.”

He said the vineyard employed almost 40 workers and this increased at harvest time.

“We are getting a cellar with the help of the government and the development agency.

“So far, we have the wines of 2016 and 2017.”