For years SISTERcircle has organized travel to South Africa and curated healing spaces for women around the world to connect, heal, grow and empower each other in the Motherland—Africa. Upon seeing the majestic Winelands and learning about the abhorrent working conditions and pay for Black women winemakers while sustaining the highly profitable wine industry for over 300 years, SISTERcircle started a women’s investment collective to empower Black women by leveraging investment, import and export opportunities through South Africa’s booming wine industry.
SISTERcircle honors the legacy of generations of women who labored fruitlessly on vineyards in South Africa through its birth of Roots & Vines Wine.
Our wine is exquisitely full-bodied, powerfully sophisticated and distinctively African as its creators. We economically empower Black women and bring exceptional wines from South Africa made by Black women. Without leaving the comfort of your own home, you can immerse yourself in the culture and beauty of Africa.
With deep cultural roots, Roots & Vines Wine creates an exceptional tasting experience for guests to embrace the fruits of our labor. We hope this taste of South Africa will call to you as often as it does to us to return and elevate our spirits with good wine and good people.
OUR WINE practices
As farmers and artisans are deeply concerned with our collective future, Roots & Vines Wine recognizes that sustainability practices benefit the wine makers, our customer and the world. The culture and internal practices at Roots & Vines Wine reflect our commitment to collective action, cooperative economics and responsible consumption that result in sustainable earnings for women. Roots & Vines Wine is committed to women’s economic empowerment and partners with Ithemba Labantu to provide training and resources to women entrepreneurs in South Africa. Learn more about the South Africa Wine Industry Transformation Unit to support Black women in wine.
Aslina Wines is the realization of a dream for South Africa’s first Black woman winemaker, Ntsiki Biyela. Aslina brand is named after Ntsiki’s grandmother, whose care and guidance provided her with the inspiration and vision to succeed. Ntsiki’s ambition to create quality wines, after 13 years as winemaker and ambassador for Stellekaya Wines, Ntsiki continued her journey of inspiration by starting her own brand, Aslina Wines.
Bayede! is the first and only “Royal Signature” and “By Appointment To” trademark for the African continent, which reflects Royalty, history, culture and quality. Bayede! Marketing Pty (Ltd) is a level two broad based black economic empowerment registered company. In 2009 HM King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu expressed his long held desire to create sustainable jobs in South Africa. The Bayede! Royal brand is a beacon of hope and empowerment that the majority of Africa relates to. Each bottle has a warrant to display the Royal arms; the official Royal crest of the Zulu Royal household.
The path to becoming a great winemaker is rarely a smooth one and for Carmen Stevens the trek was more arduous than for most. As one of South Africa’s first Black women winemakers, she faced numerous hurdles along the way. Early on, Stevens not only had to deal with the usual difficulties that all aspiring winemakers do, but she had to do so in the twilight of her country’s vicious apartheid rule. Her story is inspiring and as the first Black woman to graduate in winemaking in South Africa beating all the odds, established winemaker Carmen Stevens launched her own line of wines thanks to the support of angel funding through Naked Wines.
SISTERcircle began with five women, from millennials to elders, who gathered to “Share their Stories” and ways they healed their mind, body and spirit while maintaining their businesses and commitment to fulfilling their passion in life. The discussion uncovered the lack of positive spaces for Black women’s empowerment, and the need to intentionally hold space for healing, entrepreneurial empowerment and wealth building. These ideas were synthesized into the first Black Girl Magic Conference in Ghana in 2016 with the goal of curating annual healing and investment trips to West, Southern and East Africa.
SISTERcircle’s 2018 trip to South Africa included a winery tour, which revealed the abhorrent working conditions for women laboring in the wine industry, often receiving “sludge” as payment — the bottom of the barrel, unsaleable wine causing alcoholism and other diseases, while sustaining one South Africa’s top industries for over 300 years. Also held was an intriguing conversation about the underutilization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which allows duty-free imports from Africa to the US since 2000. Upon return, a collective of 10 women agreed to invest $5,000 each to import top wines made by Black women, and make the $70 billion wine market
available to Black women winemakers in South Africa, tapping into AGOA and building an economic pipeline between the Africa and the US.
After repeatedly being told that there were “no Black women-owned South African wines,” SISTERcircle persisted and traveled back to South Africa to meet with the Wine Industry Transformation Unit. Thanks to the leadership of Wendy Peterson, a Black woman with over 30 years’ experience in the wine industry, SISTERcircle was able to meet and learn the wine stories of 13 phenomenal Black women winemakers. And, the rest is history...
SISTERcircle holds quarterly round tables on “Doing Business in Africa” to educate about the benefits of AGOA, encourage women to engage in international trade at the highest levels and provide a support network to utilize AGOA. The goal is to create economic linkages that support Black businesses along the entire value chain, and recycle $5 trillion in annual global spending toward Black-owned businesses.
The vision of SISTERcircle is to improve the health and increase the wealth of Black women for seven generations.