Shaking up the industry

The people and brands making waves in the liquor and wine industries

Scottish Leader 12-year-old wins gold at World Whiskies Awards 2018!

The luxuriously silky and rich Scottish Leader 12-year-old whisky, the flagship of the internationally renowned collection, has been awarded a prestigious gold medal by the World Whiskies Awards in the UK during a first-round tasting.

The judges praised the whisky for its signature smooth, rich and sweet profile that has earned the brand a significant international following over the years.    

We have come a long way as a country where black people’s participation in the wine industry was confined to being unskilled labourers on wine farms.

Scottish Leader 12-year-old is crafted using a bespoke blend of the finest unpeated Highland and Speyside malts, combined with Scottish grains for a smooth, approachable style. The majority of the Highland and Speyside malts selected are matured in American oak casks which contribute toward the rich oak and vanilla characteristics, and the fruity, floral elegance.

Find out more about Scottish Leader by visiting its website 

Cape Winemakers Guild Protégés uncork their potential

Valuable experience, decisiveness and an intense love for sparkling wine stand out for Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Sydney Mello as the greatest gifts of his three-year mentorship experience. Sydney is one of 24 oenology and viticulture graduates to have come through the ranks of the Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme.

This highly regarded programme helps aspirant winemakers and viticulturists unlock their potential through skills development initiatives which are made possible by the support of major sponsors such as Amorim Cork.

“As a partner of the wine industry, Amorim Cork shares the Cape Winemakers Guild’s commitment to excellence – not only in wine, but also in the quality of human capital. By committing to the Protégé Programme, Amorim aims to contribute towards the development of skilled and dedicated individuals who may otherwise not have had the opportunity to partake in an industry in which we feel they could make valuable contributions,” says Joaquim Sá, managing director of Amorim Cork South Africa.

Sydney Mello, who grew up in Mahwelereng in Limpopo, attended Settlers Agricultural High School. Here his curiosity about the intricacies of winemaking motivated him to make the journey to the Cape Winelands: “I came across a brochure about viticulture and oenology. It was such a foreign concept to me as I am from Limpopo and the closest we come to wine is seeing it on the liquor store shelves,” he quips.

After graduating from Elsenburg Agricultural College in Stellenbosch, he enrolled in the Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme at the beginning of 2016.

“The Protégé Programme has provided me with a place of learning from the most brilliant minds in the wine industry. Not only do I see it as preparation for becoming a winemaker, but also as practical experience in making important decisions in my future career,” says Sydney, who is spending his final year in the Programme alongside Etienne le Riche, one of the founder members of the Cape Winemakers Guild.

Thanks to substantial support from sponsors, as well as funds raised by Guild members themselves, one of the initiatives empowering Protégés is valuable international experience acquired in some of the world’s most renowned wine-growing regions.

For Sydney, travelling to France last year was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: “It was my first time abroad and the experience that I gained participating in an international harvest was priceless. After spending time in Burgundy, we travelled to Champagne. Here, surrounded by bubbles, I felt most at home. We visited big champagne houses as well as smaller producers, giving me an insight into the wonderful world of sparkling wine. After graduating from the Programme at the end of this year, I would love to specialise in the production of Méthode Cap Classique for its complexity and mystery.”

Given the opportunity to bring his bubbly dreams to life, Sydney crafted his very own MCC in 2017, as making their own wine is an essential part of the Guild’s Protégé Programme.

For Sydney making wine is a rare opportunity to create something unique. “As a winemaker you get to impart a piece of yourself into the wine. It becomes a reflection of you as a person and is a very personal process, given all the blood, sweat and tears including the long hours we put in,” he explains.

For further information on the Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme visit

Changing the makeup of SA’s wine industry

We have come a long way as a country where black people’s participation in the wine industry was confined to being unskilled labourers on wine farms.

That was until Ntsiki Biyela arrived on the scene!

Growing up in Mahlabathini, a far-flung rural village north of the eastern KwaZulu-Natal province, Biyela never dreamt of being a winemaker, and only tasted wine for the first time at the age of 20. Biyela entered the industry after studying viticulture at Stellenbosch University, and worked as head winemaker at Stellekaya Winery, a family-owned producer, where her cabernet sauvignon earned her South Africa’s Woman Winemaker of the Year award in 2009.

Aslina Wines, her export-focused company, is the realisation of a dream. Launched in 2013, the Aslina brand is named after Ntsiki’s grandmother, whose care and guidance provided her with the inspiration and vision to succeed. Producing sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay and a bordeaux blend sourced from around Stellenbosch outside Cape Town, Biyela produces the wine herself and oversees the process from beginning to end.

Aslina Wines has grown from producing 2 400 bottles of wine in 2013 to 12 000 units in 2017. Ntsiki aims to increase output to 18 000 this year. Ntsiki Biyela has certainly changed the makeup of the wine industry and is an inspiration to the new black players emerging in the industry.

For more information visit