The highly acclaimed international winemaker, Carmen Stevens, has once again added another accolade to her name: 2019 Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year.
Carmen was recognised for the success of her business, ‘Carmen Stevens Wines’, a small winery that produces high-quality select wines.
The awards, which are sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, aim to celebrate excellence in entrepreneurship by recognising and honouring South African entrepreneurs.
This year, Carmen was among the 15 finalists competing for pole positions in 5 categories, one of which was for ‘Small Business Entrepreneur’.
This award however, is just one of many accolades.
She has already won the 1999 and 2001 gold in the National Veritas selection for her Tukulu Pinotage, the 2008 Decanter International Red Bordeaux Red Varietals Trophy for her Amani Cabernet Franc/Merlot 2006, the 2007 National Female Entrepreneur in Agriculture award and the 2015 Winemaker of the Year award (which came with a R6 million cash prize).
Her Pinotage was ranked in ABSA’s Top Ten Pinotage category, she has two harvest internships under her belt and her Shiraz 2017 and Chenin Blanc 2018 is consistently among the top ten sellers of the Naked Wine brands.
Her wines are described as “insanely popular” in the US and UK and as a result of their popularity, 95% of it is exported.
Carmen says that it is a “great accolade to be awarded by such a prestigious Institute as Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS”.
She also encourages the youth to explore opportunities in agriculture because it can “open doors in the most unexpected way”.
Carmen had to fight her way into a white and male dominated industry, becoming the first women of colour to own her own winery.
As a result of people like her having forcefully kicked open many closed doors, she feels that young people of colour have more opportunities and should take advantage of these.
She considers agriculture to be the “doorway out of unemployed and poverty” and it can also be a “means of owning something that we can pass on for our generations to come”.
Carmen walks away with R70, 000 in prize money.
Want to know more About Carmen Stevens? Check out the following story we wrote about her: How Carmen Became a Globally Beloved, Award-Winning Winemaker.