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Meet the Women of Adama Wines: Ruth Faro (Viticulturist), Janine Goosen (Accountant), Nichole van Wyk (Administrative Clerk), Onida Morilly (Junior Brand Manager), Praisy Dlamini (General Manager), Jody-Ann Appollis (Logistics), Verna Ross (Quality Assurance & Compliance)

When our team in Austin first tasted the Adama ‘HER’ Collection in 2023, they did so with the usual anonymity that goes into considering new brands— a few bullet points about the winemaking and a note or two about the producer. The wines were charming and energetic, but subject to the same scrutiny that every good distributor has to go through before plunging into a new partnership: Where do these wines belong? Who are these wines for? Can we sell them? We were familiar with lemon-bright South African Chenin and had dabbled in the blood-rust depths of Pinotage before. But as we sipped and spat and nodded in recognition of the quality, curiosity got the better of us. A few, myself included, Googled the brand. We were surprised to learn that these cheerful, familiar wines had an utterly unfamiliar story. Adama Wines was and remains the first of its kind for South Africa: an entirely black, women-run wine company.

It’s rare in our world that a room full of wine professionals are entirely in agreement, but this was an exception. Conversations quickly shifted from ‘Can we sell these wines?’ to ‘I want to sell these wines.’ Serendipity proudly brought Adama to the Texas market last spring and will introduce two ‘HER’ Collection sku’s to the California market in April 2024. This Women’s History month, we’re celebrating the Adama story. It’s a powerful narrative of community, collaboration and the dedicated black women that are changing the status quo one bottle at a time.

Early Adama

Adama Wines hail from the craggy, land-locked district of Wellington, just forty-five minutes from Capetown. The area is characterized by the majestic Drakenstein Mountains, numerous valleys (perfect for viticulture) and the lush, winding Berg river. It’s there that the Bosman and Adama families have been working and living on the same land for five generations. Together, they formed a multi-ownership business supported by over 250 permanent farmworkers. In 2010, the Bosman family officially launched Adama Wines with a clear goal: to establish a brand that not only embraced sustainable winemaking practices, but also could generate programs to support their farmworkers. Namely, empowering young Bovlei Valley women through an official trust. The next ten years brought growth and success to the Adama Wines project as well as the Bosman family’s separate, eponymous label. Both brands helped to establish Wellington as a quality wine-growing region, so much so that it became apparent that Adama Wines would need added leadership for it, and its programs, to continue to succeed. Enter, Praisy Dlamini.

Adama Vineyards, Wellington

In Pursuit of Praisy

Bosman reached out to recruit Praisy Dlamini in 2019. At the time, she was comfortably working in sales for a yeast manufacturer, enjoying a relatively hushed life with her son. But after learning about her historical entrance into the wine industry, it’s clear why Petrus Bosman, Managing Director, thought that she would be the perfect fit to lead Adama into its next stages.

Praisy grew up in the province of Kwazulu Natal, on the East coast of South Africa, amidst a sugarcane farming community. She received a bursary (similar to a scholarship, but geared towards financial need) to attend tertiary school. She graduated in 2007 with a degree in Viticulture and Enology as the only black woman in her class. Praisy then became one of twenty students accepted into the protege program at Cape Winemakers Guild. She would spend the next three years under the mentorship of various wine trailblazers, with Pieter “Mr. Bubbles” Ferreira of Graham Beck fame among them. She was the first woman to graduate from CWG and went on to work as a winemaker for several years before adding another layer of expertise to her CV through the yeast business. Petrus eventually convinced Praisy to join Adama, drawn in by his respect for her work and the unique way in which Bosman treated their employees as partners. She now helms Adama Wines as both General Manager and Winemaker.

Moving Adama Forward

Today Adama Wines is supported by partnerships with Bosman and Apollo Investments, but Praisy and her team have full control and authority over their wines. Everything from viticulture and distribution to marketing and HR are executed by a crew of black women. A majority of Adama’s production focused on selling wine to wholesalers until 2020, when they were encouraged by fans in the market to launch their own label. That’s when the ‘HER’ Collection was born. Taking inspiration from joyful strength, courage, and optimism, the line is clearly a heartfelt reflection of not just what these women exude, but what they hope to spread to the rest of the world. The collection includes four single-varietal expressions of the Western Cape: Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc for whites, and Shiraz and Pinotage for reds. Each meets the rigorous sustainability standards endemic to the region and are WIETA and IPW accredited.

The vibrant labels of Adama ‘HER’ embody the confidence of wine’s next generation of enterprising women.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about how Adama continues to forge new paths to empowerment. As part of their Dynasty Trust, and somewhat echoing Praisy’s trajectory through higher education, 2% of sales from ‘HER’ are channelled into a bursary fund for women. But the fund isn’t limited to generating more women in wine, it uniquely allows recipients to follow whichever career path they choose.

“While producing female winemakers in South Africa is important, empowering women to impact all facets of society is paramount. Obtaining a tertiary qualification is so much more than getting the chance to get a higher paying job, it is a chance to learn soft skills like confidence and self-discipline, to network amongst peers on the same journey, to explore the world and find a place in it. This bursary prepares these young women for the world of work in a way that they get to make an impact on it, rather than the other way around.” —Praisy Dlamini

The wines of Adama ‘HER’ are not your average cause wines— they’re so much more. They invest in people and not just place, and as more millennial and gen z consumers call for wines that reflect their values, it’s hard not see the ‘HER’ Collection as model bottles to help you raise the bar. This Women’s History Month (and beyond) we have just one, simple question: How will you support HER?

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