Fruit of vine grows into own brand

Mokgoba Nakeng and her business partner Pule Malahlela.
Mokgoba Nakeng and her business partner Pule Malahlela.
Image: Supplied

Mokgobo Nakeng has moved from having a fascination with rotten grapes to owning a successful mobile bar and wine business.

Nakeng, 28, has found her groove in wine making, corporate branding and trading.

Her grandmother had a grapevine at home.

Nakeng said she was fascinated by the smell of rotten grapes and pineapples while growing up.

"Every time I passed by, the grapes gave a strong smell and I would enjoy the aroma," said Nakeng.

She said she also loved wine and started playing around with different ingredients, making recipes and cocktail blends.

"I mixed fruits and dry red wine to make different tastes and barrelled fruits and stored them to find different smells."

Her business took off after she completed her bachelor's degree in science at the University of Limpopo three years ago.

"I figured working for someone else would be a delay into my dream of running my own business, so I met up with an old friend who is now my business partner, Pule Malahlela."

Nakeng, who grew up in Moletjie Kanana in Limpopo, went to boarding school
for her primary and secondary education.

"I was fortunate to have parents who made my education a priority and because we lived in a village, schools with better facilities were far from home and I had to be on my own and live at school," she said.

"Having to start a business requires a lot of support, and my start-up capital was a loan which was part of mother's pension money."

Nakeng said her mother took a leap of faith and gave her nearly R100000 for branding, marketing and package designing for the business together with her partner's contribution.

Nakeng said she felt the need to bridge the gap between the village and city life and her passion came with making a difference in her village by bringing wine variety and cocktails. "Whenever there are weddings and parties, I made sure I brought fun to the menu with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks."

Nakeng owns ZAR Prestige Wines, which caters for big events such as the Durban Travel Indaba and Mahikeng Wine Festival.

"We specialise in red wine, sparkling wine and cocktails."

Malahlela said their wine was manufactured at the Stellenbosch Fort Simon Wine Estate where it's processed, barrelled and stored.

Malahlela said they also do corporate and private wine gifting on celebrative drinks, namely sweeter wines and champagne.

He said ZAR Prestige Wines catered for festivals, private individuals who prefer wine servings and cocktail bars at functions and supplies restaurants.

Nakeng said she hired promoters for events and trains them on serving and cocktail mixing.

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