by Kelsey Parris
The International Society of Africans in Wine (ISAW) is a non-profit organization devoted to creating equal opportunities for blacks in the wine industry of South Africa. There is a major discrepancy between the number of blacks employed in South African vineyards and the number of black-owned vineyards, and ISAW is trying to change those numbers.
Currently, over ninety percent of the 300,000 viticulture employees are black, but there are only two vineyards owned by black families. The plan of the ISAW is to raise funds to establish a viticulture training school at M’Hudi winery in Stellenbosch, South Africa that would allow the workers to learn to run their own wineries. The ISAW would then invest and support black-owned wine businesses, and through the foundation would encourage the participation of blacks in the South African economy.
Stephen Satterfield, the founder of the organization, is determined to find common ground and equality through the business of wine. South African wines are becoming more and more popular internationally, and Satterfield sees this as the time to “commit to improving the quality of life for those who’ve worked to produce it.” In order to drum up support and awareness of the organization and the mission to help South Africans, Satterfield has organized a 16 city tour that goes throughout the United States, makes its way up to Vancouver before ending, appropriately, in Cape Town, South Africa.
The Drink Well, Do Good Tour is our chance to help make the viticulture training grounds a reality for Satterfield and the ISAW. We at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum are excited and honored to host the launch party for the 2010 tour on Sunday, April 4, from 4 to 7 PM. Not only will there be an incredible amount of South African wine to sample and enjoy, but there will also be a selection of delicious food, with a Southern soul spread from Dooky Chase, a West African platter from Bennachin’s, and decadent bread pudding from the Court of Two Sisters.
Don’t forget to go out the night before the party to see Kora Konnection, a wonderful New Orleans-based band that blends the best of West African Mandinka music with the playfulness of New Orleans Jazz improv. Their show is guaranteed to get you in the right frame of mind to support African ventures.
Tickets for both the launch party and the Kora Konnection show are available at www.toastafrica.com, and all proceeds from the events go towards the ISAW Foundation for the development of a viticultural training center on the M’hudi Estate in South Africa. Go to www.isawfoundation.org for more information on the Foundation. We look forward to seeing you this weekend!