The Wife's Mbalenhle Mavimbela is launching a new wine brand

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Mbalenhle Mavimbela is excited about going into the wine industry.
Mbalenhle Mavimbela is excited about going into the wine industry.

Life is imitating art as actress Mbalenhle Mavimbela is giving viewers an extension of her character Hlomu who is now a restaurant owner.

On Showmax’s The Wife, Mqhele bought a restaurant for his wife Hlomu. And now Mbalenhle, the woman behind the character is launching her own wine brand, Moments.

“I have always been interested in wine, but things never really aligned for me like they have now,” she tells Drum.

We chat to her while she's in Cape Town for some business. She is still shooting The Wife, but when she has a bit of time off, she works on her product.

“I travel to Cape Town quite a bit now because I have to do a lot of research and learn more about the wine industry. I am not just the face or the ambassador, this is my product. In addition to all the research I am doing while here, I am also trying to foster relationships so that I can have long term partnerships that can grow from this.

“Moments is basically inspired by Hlomu. It is not farfetched for a restaurant owner to have a wine range too. Even the name Moments comes from wanting people to feel like they are sharing their moments with me.”

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It is available online and from next year, she is hoping to close a few deals to have it in restaurants too.

“I am even in talks with liquor outlets to have it sold there too. I am really excited about this.”

Moments is available in merlot and a red blend as well.

“I am first introducing the red wine and next year I will launch the white wine. What I particularly like about Moments is that it is great for everyone to enjoy, not just the ladies. Men generally do not like sweet wines and so with Moments, we were able to strike a balance and it’s in the middle.”

Mbalenhle got a rude awakening about the industry when she found herself out of work for months in 2019.

“My debut character was on Isipho and I got the shock of my life when the show was canned. I mean, it was cut off air before the season even ended. I sat at home for three or four months and I was trying to figure out if it was normal for things to happen like that since it was my first time.

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“I thank God that that was the kind of start and introduction I had into the industry because it taught me to never put all my eggs in one basket. I am always looking of other innovative ways to have another stream of income. Because in the industry, getting small jobs that only call you when they need you does not cover things like rent, so you really have to be smart about money.

“I wish they taught us more about business in school because simply earning one salary is not enough. It was really hard for me when I was out of work because I was not even sure whether I should go back home or if I should stay in Joburg because I had relocated because of work.”

Then lockdown happened and complicated things even further for her.

“I started selling gift boxes and it was then instilled in me to never get too comfortable in any situation. Even now, I am riding the Hlomu wave and the first 100 bottles have her signature on them. In this industry, when you have money people know and when you do not have money they also know and that can put pressure on a lot of people."

To close off her November, she hosted R&B legend Kenny Lattimore while he is touring South Africa and she gave him a gift of her new wine.

She will be launching Moments on 1 December in Sandton.

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