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Women Entrepreneurs - M'Hudi Wines: Malmsey Rangaka
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A clinical psychologist, her ‘armchair farmer’ husband and their family launch an internationally successful wine label — without capital, farming experience or wine-making knowledge.

You’d never have pegged Malmsey Rangaka as a wine maker. For one thing, she’s a clinical psychologist who knew nothing about farming of any kind. For another, she had no money to purchase a farm or capital to equip it with the necessary machinery. She’d also never run a business before, didn’t understand the local or international wine market and had no knowledge of how to make wine or, more to the point, how to make a wine label commercially successful.

So the fact that she managed to purchase a wine farm and make a drinkable wine within two years of doing so is remarkable. That her wine is today sold in major retailers around the world is nothing short of astonishing.

Dreaming of change
The story of the M’hudi wine farm starts in the North West Province in 1999 when she and her ‘armchair farmer’ husband started thinking about a new life in farming through the government’s land redistribution programme.

“At the time, my family was scattered across the country and I wanted all of us to be together in one place. I’d heard that the Land Bank was providing a 20% collateral-free deposit for people interested in farming,” she says. She started looking for land to buy, eventually settling on a farm just outside Stellenbosch, attractive not because it was a wine farm but because it had been discounted after being on the market for five years.

“I had visited Cape Town before and driven through the winelands, and I remember looking at people drinking coffee in the street cafés and thinking what a lovely life they must lead. It was only when I went back to look at the farm I wanted to buy that I realised that the beautiful places I had seen were actually part of the winelands, that wine was made by farmers and that the farm I was looking at had originally been a wine farm,” she explains.

Article taken from Entrepreneur Magazine - Please click here to read complete article.

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M'hudi Farm R101 Old Paarl Road Koelenhof P.O. Box 30, Stellenbosch, 7605, South Africa