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Tembela Wines

A man on a mission, Banele Vakele of Tembela’s journey into wine is nothing short of extraordinary.

Growing up in the township of Khayelitsha outside of Cape Town, he earned a scholarship to a smart Constantia high school and it was here, and a vineyard that his classroom overlooked that Banele used to stare on to at particular moments of ennui mid-class that so drew him to wine.

A degree at Elsenberg Agricultural College was proceeded by 3 years as part of the Cape Winemakers Guild protégé programme, which saw him work stints in Burgundy and Australia, and back home in SA with Ernie Els, Groot Constantia and Savage Wines. Today, he now works as assistant winemaker for Duncan Savage in Salt River, and where he makes his own wines.

Drawn to Duncan for his ethos in agroecological farming and minimal intervention winemaking, Banele works with vineyards farmed with the principles of organic farming. Named in honour of his late mother, in Xhosa, Tembela means to have faith, hope and belief, all sentiments that his mother had in Banele's decision to pursue a career in wine. The wine label pays tribute to the things that are most important to Banele: women wearing traditional Xhosa attire carrying wine barrels, infusing two matters that are most important to him: his culture and his love of wine. Production is tiny - just 200 cases a year, with just over 100 bottles of each wine on its way to the UK!

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