Women in Wine Friday’s is back and this week’s focus is on Ntsiki Biyela, one of my favorite wine makers, a gem of a lady from South African winery Stellekaya. I have written extensively about Ntsiki in the past but today wanted to highlight what she though of working in the Maremma area of Tuscany in Italy at Petra. Read another women in wine’s “wine story” about Petra itself here.
Ntsiki and I chatted a while ago about her experience and what I noted was her enthusiasm for Italy. She said that she thought the culture at the winery was inspiring and that everyone really worked together. She said she was thrilled to be involved in that same level of teamwork that she finds in her native South Africa. Like the rest of us, she too was enthralled with the farm to table approach to living that the Italians have been doing since time immemorial.
Ntsiki said that she was excited to find similar techniques being done at Petra as those she herself uses in South Africa. With crates and sorting tables and small details that she discussed.
She also noted that her work with Sangiovese in South Africa had given her a renewed interest in seeing how Sangiovese grows in Italy. She was very pleased with the comparison she told me and felt that her Sangiovese was doing quite well and that her questions about the grape had been answered thanks to her sojourn in Italy. The owner of Stellekaya fell in love with Italy and wanted Ntsiki to make a blend with Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The blend called Hercules is available locally in a number of retail stores including Maslow 6.
I did a project with the Stellekaya winery a few years ago in New York. Ntsiki is one of the most interesting and charming women I have met in the industry. I found her story inspiring and her wines delicious, always a great combination in a winery and in a friend.