The talented and passionate Praisy Dlamini, assistant winemaker for Zonnebloem wines at Adam Tas, Distell on the outskirts of the Stellenbosch, started her winemaking career when she enrolled at Elsenburg for a B. Agric degree in Cellar Technology (Viticulture and Oenology).

Praisy took an interest in winemaking to challenge the myth that people from her province, northern KwaZulu-Natal, appreciated umqombothi more than wine. With a positive attitude and dedication, Praisy learned early on to turn her challenges into advantages. Not only did she become proficient in Afrikaans, but after completing her degree she landed a three-year internship with the Cape Winemakers Guild, becoming the first woman Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé. Amongst her mentors were Philip Costandius, cellar master at the time of Lourensford, David Finlayson then of Glen Carlou and now of Edgbaston and Pieter "Bubbles" Ferreira of Graham Beck, together with Irene Waller, was privileged to be given the opportunity to work alongside some of South Africa's leading wine makers, all of whom are members of the prestigious, by-invitation-only Cape Winemakers' Guild.

After completing the Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé programme in 2010 under the mentorship of members of the Guild, Praisy secured her first full-time job at Distell where she worked as assistant winemaker for Fleur du Cap at Die Bergkelder, then in September 2013 started with Zonnebloem wines. "I count myself immensely privileged to have been exposed to so many talented and generous people who have taught me so much. Here at Zonnebloem, under Deon Boshoff, I am learning even more. This is such a quality-focused, thriving brand.  What I really am enjoying is the very considered way in which we work.  Every step you take has a very carefully reasoned rationale."

 In an industry that is mostly dominated by men, she is a team player who pours all her love and passion for winemaking into her work and strives to produce award winning wines. When she is not working in the cellar, Praisy applies her talents in wine marketing and hosting food and wine pairings and loves sharing stunning wines with friends and family and she enjoys out-door activities like hiking.

Like any other aspiring, motivated winemaker, Praisy involves herself in various tastings and is a member of a tasting group with other successful winemakers, she also judges for Classic wine magazine.


Personal Perspective

The industry is still largely male dominated and because it involves more physical work, as a woman you have to work twice as hard to match up to the demands of the job. Fortunately I work in a very friendly environment with my colleagues and our team! We all help each other and it is becoming easier for other aspiring young women to become winemakers. They have to be strong, hard working and be passionate about wine, that's what it takes to be successful.” As for anything in life, you have to keep the fire burning, so as the passion for wine. I hope the work I do bring satisfaction to my colleagues, my mentors and, of course, everyone drinking the Zonnebloem wines I have a hand in making!" She has also started a tasting group, to benchmark what she and her peers are making with other local and also international wines, and she now mentors newcomers to winemaking, "giving back in the way people have given and continue to give to me”.