Podcast Episode 6: Pan-African Libations - Anomolies and Disrupters in the Global Drinks Sector


Meet our wine-making pioneers from this episode and learn from these disrupters about the pressures and pride that go along with being the first, or only one of your kind.

Ntsiki Biyela was the first black woman in South Africa to become a winemaker and André Mack was the first to be awarded the Best Young Sommelier in America. Listen to their journeys and how they came to be winemakers.

Available on Spotify, iHeartRadio, and Apple Podcasts


“Whatever it is, I’ll be able to do it, I’ll learn.”
- Ntiski Biyela

Based in the Western Cape of South Africa, Ntsiki Biyela is the very first black woman in her country to become a winemaker. When the Dutch colonized South Africa in the early 15th century, one of the first things they did was plant vines. Much like what became the US South, soon after Africans were indentured to grow the sector.

Ntsiki tells her story about reclaimation, her roots growing up in a tightly-knit rural community, and how she come to find the opportunity to study viticulture, though it meant she had to learn a whole new langauge.


Ntsiki Biyela’s philosophy in winemaking is to make sure that her wines are produced to reflect nature’s offerings as closely as possible, merely providing a light hand of guidance to bring out their innate beauty. 

Learn more about Aslina Wines and supporting her work in the South African wine industry.

“People talk about luck all the time, and it’s not something I believe in.

I believe that you prepare for those occasions, and when those opportunities come, you either are prepared or you’re not, or you rise to the occasion.”
- André Mack

We talk to André Mack about his path to winemaking - from his first jobs in the fast food industry, his work as a sommelier in fine-dining, and how all the hard work and long hours he put in in between were dedicated to furthering his passion for wine.

As an entrepreneur and winemaker today, he finds a new grounding in the wine industry and shares how learning to make wine has sparked a new type of creativity for him.


Andre is an entrepreneur, author, winemaker and owner of Maison Noir wines. Support his work and upcoming book 99 Bottles, A Black Sheep’s Guide to Life-changing Wines.