Former civil servant masters the art of wine making

Wine maker Siyabonga Mvula. Photo: Supplied

A year ago, Siyabonga Mvula didn’t even like wine. Today, he owns his own wine label, Imvula Wines.

It all started about a year ago, at a Durban hotel over a bottle of wine with some friends, naturally. After one sip of that Shiraz, Mvula was hooked. They ended up ordering a second bottle. And so the accounting graduate’s love affair with the vine began.

“The next morning I flew back to Gauteng. I took the brand name of the wine that we were drinking. I am the kind of person who always has ideas in mind. When I got back in the office on Monday, I started to research more about wine,” Mvula said.

“I then approached different wine estates, telling them that I would like to start a wine brand. A lot of them turned me down. They were not interested in my idea. Sometimes I gave up, but there was that thing that always pushed me to keep on trying.”

Mvula eventually came across a website called, which furnished him with some contacts. After several queries, he finally found a wine estate that could help and flew to Cape Town to meet the CEO.

Later that year, the 33-year-old resigned from his cushy job with the Gauteng Treasury, where he was working as an assistant director, to pursue his new passion.

He threw himself into research and completed courses in wedding planning and winemaking to prepare himself for his new mission. It all paid off. In June this year he held his first sale of Imvula Wines at a lifestyle market – and it was a great success.

Mvula, who hails from the hamlet of Bergville in KwaZulu-Natal, said he has learnt some important lessons along the way.

“Dream big but start small. Know how to handle a negative response. If you cannot find a mentor, learn to do it yourself. Have friends who share your same vision.

Look at various ways that you can sell your product or services. Always think something special that will make your product or services different from your competitors.” 

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