Women in Wine Interview : If not wine not with Asanda Solinjani
Asanda is the founder of Assandur Wines and Gin, a South African 100% women owned Winery and Gin company . I was incredibly lucky to be able to discuss with her, her unique journey into the wine and gin production world.
Her journey into the wine world was not a straight path but proof that sometimes our true calling is waiting for us to find it.
Asanda is the definition of a Boss ; not only taking on the wine world but distilling her own gins. Her passion for our Country is palpable.
Join me as I find out more about Asanda and Assandur Wine and Gins.
1.What inspired you to start your own alcohol brand with wine and gins?
This business found me. The African proverb “Umntu ngumntu ngabantu” in isiXhosa is a true testament in my case. I had just gotten out of hospital due to severe depression. It was
a rough season in my life; my neighbors Andre and Natalie often came to check up on me.
One day as we conversed it came out that they have a Wine Estate and a Distillery in
Hermanus, Western Cape. Andre suggested that if I wanted, I could start my own brand of
wines and gins. I decided at that moment that God and the Universe were offering me a
much-needed lifeline. Therefore, vowed to use the opportunity combined with my talent to
carry out my vision of using each other’s gift of love and our passion as a people to heal
humanity through Assandur Wines and Gins.
The Assandur brand is meant to ignite light to those who feel despondent, be a reminder
that giving up on life is never an option. It is also for those whom life has been good; I
encourage them to lift their glasses and let the spirit of gratitude fill up. This brand hopes to
inspire people to help others too just like Andre and Natalie did for me.
A bottle of Assandur Wine| MCC or GIN is a testimony of a true diverse South Africa that
stands together empowering one another in many ways. I am an entrepreneur; I have been
for a while. This opportunity found a perfect person to embrace and run with it!
2. What do you like the most about owning your own brand?
Firstly, it’s a proudly South African product and brand - I am quite patriotic. The Assandur
Brand is 100% female owned, with a name coined from my name Asanda in a modern and
chic way. It allows me to tell a beautiful story of a true rainbow nation, be a role model to
young children growing up in disadvantaged locations and rural areas just like I did. When
they see this business and what it has achieved, they will be encouraged to grab every
opportunity that comes their way and turn it into something amazing!
I, as the owner of The Assandur Brand believe in empowering an African child and building
strong partnerships by collaborating with small black owned businesses. We are fortunate
to live in a South Africa where a black female gets an opportunity to own an alcohol brand,
especially wines and gins. My heritage does not include owning wine estates. This Brand is
the first step into the right direction. Today it’s wines and gins, tomorrow it’s owning a
distillery and an entire wine estate. South Africa is alive with possibilities.
Most importantly The Assandur Brand tells a story of family, friendships and unity. Whether
together or apart, our story is that of love.
3. In a male dominated industry what has been your biggest challenge?
I’m a resilient hard-working woman. I believe that if you can survive executive roles in
corporate SA you can make it anywhere! I am quite new in the industry, for me at this
stage learning is the most important thing to do. I am fortunate to have mentors who have
been in the industry for a while to guide, teach and transfer their kills. Anyone can achieve
things deemed impossible if they don’t doubt their abilities; you get up and kick doors open.
4. Assandur is a 100% black and female owned entity. Do you believe this gives you an edge on your competitors?
Looking at the cultural/political landscape of our country and the great laws such as the
Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Act (BBBEE) that seek to promote inclusion of
women, youth and the disabled in building our economy, I am positioned at a great
advantage. However, this cannot be the only factor in choosing the Assandur Brand. I am
big on quality, integrity and exceptional customer service.
5. What advice do you have for young women who want to pursue a career in the Wine
South Africa has plenty institutions that offer qualifications suitable for the industry. We
need more young people learning these skills. Farming and wine industry are not for big old
people. We need fresh minds that will not only learn from the existing experts in the field
but can transform the industry as we move towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution. New
innovations will come from their young brilliant minds. The future is in their capable hands.
It is crucial that they start to invest into careers suitable for this industry.
6. Have you noticed any trends emerging in the wine industry that you would like to mention?
Sparkling wine, especially Champagne, is considered as a status symbol. Wineries, across
the world, are launching varieties of sparkling wines through their brands in a bid to stay
ahead of the competition and garner and sustain consumer interest. The sparkling wine
segment is fragmented with the presence of several producers, wineries, and distributors.
Additionally, new packaging offerings like cans and minis have made sparklers more
viable as an every-day drink. Therefore, sparkling wine is becoming food-friendly at
restaurants, bars, and households.
7. What is your favourite “everyday drinking wine”? (It can be from your range or another
It’s the Assandur Shiraz 2010! Smooth dark fruit aroma, cherry tobacco infused bell peppers
and hints of cigar box. Cherry tobacco palate with a sublime array of dark fruit, balanced
with integrated oak intensity, black pepper and a silky vanillin finish. Our Shiraz spends at
least 4 years in oak barrels before release which creates a softness to the palate. I enjoy this
red wine with a meal, it’s delicious either paired with lamb, beef or just on its own- after a
long day of being a businesswoman, mom and a wife. I fondly tell people; “be nicer have an Assandur Shiraz” LOL!
8. Do you have a favourite “celebratory” wine that you would buy for a special occasion?
It’s the Assandur JOI Methode Cap Classique for me! The name JOI is written in Italian and it
means JOY. It is meant to bring JOY to me and my customers; It’s made from carefully
selected Pinotage and Chardonnay grapes that were hand-picked early in the harvest season
under optimum conditions for the best quality. Only the cuvèe (first pressing) juice is used
for this MCC (± first 500 litres per ton). The Pinotage adds a subtle and sophisticated salmon
pink hue that blends well with the crisp and firm backbone of the Chardonnay.
9. South Africa has a rich wine heritage. Which wine pops to mind when we talk about a
proudly South African wine?
OMG! Any wine from Groot Constantia. They are one of South Africa’s oldest wine farms.
They are also one of the oldest brands in the world which has reached iconic status.
300+ years later, a Black South African Woman has her own wine and gin brand with an
opportunity to acquire a 30% share into a Wine Estate, it’s something magical. I see my
brand growing to be at that level in many years to come.
Find out more about Assandur wine on their website www.assandur.com
Fool them on Instagram,: @Asawinery
Follow your passion.