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Inside SA’s first winebar dedicated to Black winemakers

Founded by urbanist, curator and publisher Zahira Asmal, Cultivateis an inclusive oenophilic enterprise set to redefine the future of Black south African winemakers

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By House & Garden South Africa | November 27, 2021 | Innovative

Founded by urbanist, curator and publisher Zahira Asmal, Cultivate is an inclusive oenophilic enterprise set to redefine the future of Black south African winemakers.

An initiative like cultivate is long overdue,’ says director Zahira Asmal of this dynamic collective founded in 2020, which has just opened a salt river, Cape Town, wine bar.

Photography: MiCky Hoyle

‘Cultivate emerges as a beacon of hope and welcoming space to meet friends, colleagues – or just be – in the City. here, you can enjoy a variety of wines, 35 in total, made by Black and Brown winemakers. People that are largely invisible in the sector but talented and should be household names, really.’

Cultivate members hail from across Southern Africa and live in various parts of the cape – from Stellenbosch to Sondagskloof. Zahira chose an urban space to locate the new Cultivate marketplace because Cities offer opportunities for visibility, interconnectedness and exposure to complementary industries, which the collective can leverage. This urban marketplace will serve as a cultivating hub for professionals in the wine sector to exchange knowledge, drive business development and promote the next generation of wines made by Africans – and enjoyed by all.

Photography: MiCky Hoyle

Zahira first conceptualised the brand identity and visual direction she wished to take together with designer Robyn Newham before commissioning a duo of design teams to bring this vision to life at the marketplace. She worked with the architectural and interior design teams at Tsai Design Studio and Sook Collective to install the interiors. Her brief was clear: she wanted to create a brand located in an inclusive and more representative narrative and history of winemaking in South Africa. ‘One of Cultivate’s aims is to surface our lesser-known history, that Black and Brown people have been making and producing wines in the Cape for centuries – they have just not yet been foregrounded in the national discourse. Very few wine farms and estates highlight the Black origins of winemaking in their grand stories,’ Zahira explains. ‘I wished to show a layering of time, and how the old and the new juxtapose, so one gets a sense of place, resilience and longevity.

‘Also,I wished for the interior design concept to highlight craft and making, especially making by hand, and the care and patience it takes to make something beautiful and special.

I wanted our tones to be earthy and grounded, symbolising the members that are enrolled in the collective – they were selected by me from various parts of Southern Africa. In our space you will see old and new furniture, including bespoke pieces, and tones and artworks representing the members of the collective and the people that live and work in South Africa.’

Photography: MiCky Hoyle

The forward-looking Cultivate brand is nurturing and positive – it is grounded in the image of South Africa’s democracy. It is aspirational and inspirational, helping people to rise and thrive. Cultivate’s inclusive marketplace is a great spot for a drink at the bar. It is also a curated store where you can collect the member’s limited edition, award-winning fine wines by the case or pick up a single gift bottle – or two. You can also buy all the member’s wines online via the Cultivate site.