Libby’s Pride in Soweto


It’s been an amazing week of women taking ownership of wine. It kicked off with 100 women choosing 100 wines in Cape Town with Clare Mack and then I met Libby Pietersen at the Soweto Wine Festival last night. As it says on her banner “as a black South African WOMAN I offer… Elegance, Style and a Truly Unique Taste.” Coming a week after SA wine farmers were tarred and feathered by Human Rights Watch and labeled as slave drivers, as MD of her own company, Libby is the contradiction that’s worth 1000 press releases from wine industry quangos. As was Chris Barron’s evisceration of the HRW report in the Sunday Times. The man is an expert in writing obituaries, which he did for the HRW report.

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Libby does Soweto

Libby’s red range consists of four wines from Linton Park on the Groenberg in Wellington. At under R30 a bottle, they are amazing value for money. As the Lord Mayor of London told radio listeners on Wednesday, for a country to succeed its needs the 3Cs: Cash, Commodities and Creativity. Well SA wine has this in abundance (and not Chaos, Cheek and Corruption as one wag observed). Domestic wine sales are up strongly (3.2% year-on-year) and Distell turned in modestly increased six month profits earlier this week – a terrific achievement in comparison to the meltdown at KWV and a gloomy economic environment.

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Tariro, white winemaker at Nederburg, does Soweto

The secret of the success of the Soweto Wine Festival is also a women thing: Marilyn Cooper from the Cape Wine Academy put it together seven years ago and Sharon and Viv from Hot Salsa Media do the PR, while media partner is City Press edited by Ferial and Babalwa. As most of the wine sold in SA is bought by the fair sex, women and wine makes total sense. And as they say in Durban “wathint’ abafazi wathint’imbokodo” (you stike a woman, you strike a rock) and terroir is all about rocks.

 Libby’s Pride in Soweto

Marilyn Cooper and Luan Nel do Soweto