Ubuntu is an African concept and humanist philosophy that defines an individual’s relationship with others.
Bishop Desmond Tutu described it as follows:
“Ubuntu speaks about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness.”
“It’s about humanistic ideals, and service and wellbeing of the community above self.” (wosa.co.za)
The emergence of brands and initiatives in the South African wine industry embracing the philosophy of Ubuntu are taking a step in the right direction towards transformation.
Black and colored South Africans make up around 90% of the population but remain grossly underrepresented in a wine industry worth 36 billion Rand (GDP). The South African wine industry is still teething the consequences associated with apartheid when non-white individuals were prohibited from enjoying, learning and taking part in the local wine culture.
Today, more than 160,000 people from previously disadvantaged groups are employed in the wine industry. However, there are only 37 black-owned wine brands out of hundreds in the country and even less 100% black-owned wineries (sawis.co.za).
There is still a heavy workload ahead to change these statistics. Cherry coating a starkly unbalanced wine industry will only delay this process.
Partnerships and collaborations are vital for positive transformation and development in the SA wine industry.
Enter, Mapi Valley –
Mapi comes from the word Mapinduli – meaning springboard (a platform for enablement). Valley refers to the valleys where grapes grow.
Mapi Valley call themselves a “for progress” brand – aiming to become the most progressive wine and spirits brand in South Africa. Their aim is to empower a new generation of South African sommeliers and chefs by collaborating with wine producers to label a portion of their wines under the Mapi Valley range.
They believe in progressive wine branding.
Mapi Valley focuses on rising stars in the wine and gastronomy world to collaborate with. Each range is dedicated to an individual – sharing their story and passion.
The brand hopes to inspire a fresh, vibrant and diverse generation of South African sommeliers and chefs that better reflect the rainbow nation.
Part of the profit of sales is invested into opportunities in education and experience for young aspiring sommeliers.
Tania Timkova from Mapi says the brand wishes “to build the community of wine-professionals, aspiring Sommeliers, educators to altogether drive progress and support new generations in wine and gastronomy.”
The current Somm on the bottle is Marlvin Gwese, head Somm at the Cape Grace Hotel in Cape Town. Marlvin teamed up with Solms Delta and Miles Mossop to create this gem. I popped my bottle on Friday.
I tried the red blend which is made up of 80% Grenache, 17% Syrah and 3% Cinsault. Dusty strawberries and freshly stomped cranberries surround the nose with the presence of Christmas spice. The palate is juicy and fruity (red fruits); delicate and light with a nudge of cocoa. The wine is lovely. The velvety texture works well with its overall delicacy.
Up next in the Mapi Valley range of wines will be a collaboration with Melusi Magodhi from Ellerman House in Cape Town. He is busy choosing the producers and varieties that will become the second range under the Mapi Valley label.
The wine is currently available through the Mapi Valley website:
and will soon be available online both locally and to European and US customers.
I look forward to sampling the next range of wines and watching Mapi’s valiant effort towards creating to a more balanced and reflective South African wine industry.
Cheers to progress!
For more information on the Mapi Valley range please email: firstname.lastname@example.org