RHOD’s Nonku Williams on relaunching her wine – 'This time around, it was exactly how I imagined it'

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Nonku Williams
Nonku Williams
  • After two years, and following a controversial first attempt, Nonku Williams has relaunched her wine brand.
  • The event was attended by many including Norma Mngoma, Zikhona Sodlaka, Robert Marawa and DJ Tira.
  • She chats to us about her wine, RHOD and her business ventures.

Following a controversial first attempt at launching her wine brand, A2B Winery, almost two years ago – Real Housewives of Durban star, Nonku Williams has relaunched her wine brand.

This time, the businesswoman brought the launch to Johannesburg where she partnered with celebrity chef Sizo Henna as well as respected historian and author Zikhona Valela for a food and wine tasting as well as a book discussion experience that was held at the Blaque Bistro restaurant.

Actor and comedian Linda Majola was the host for the evening and attendees included Norma Mngoma, Zikhona Sodlaka, Robert Marawa and DJ Tira among others.

Speaking to TRUELOVE about the launch, Nonku says that it went exactly as she had wanted it to go.

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“I’m blown away because the launch turned out exactly how I wished for it to be the first time. The first time the launch happened it was a total disaster but I thank God for the perseverance and the patience He’s given me. I learned to trust in His timing,” she tells us.

“This time around, the launch was exactly how I imagined it because people got to experience the flavour and the fruitiness of the wine, which is what I wanted. They were also able to understand the message behind the name Ashes 2 Beauty and I truly believe that it was curated perfectly this time around,” a proud Nonku continues.

On why she decided to bring the launch to Johannesburg, the Durban-based reality star reveals that she has very big plans for her wine brand.

“My vision for my wine is bigger than just making money for now or for next year, I’m creating generational wealth, so after two years of launching the wine, I believe it’s now time for it to spread its wings. I chose to expand to Johannesburg because it’s the first of many places where the wine can be found. The plan is to eventually have the wine across Africa and beyond,” she shares.

Nonku tells us more about her wine, her business ventures and reflects on Season 2 of RHOD.

Please tell us the story behind the wine and its name.

Ashes 2 Beauty encompasses my life’s journey from being in an abusive relationship to becoming this successful and dynamic businesswoman that I am today. When I was going through the worst time in my life, I found comfort in the word of God and the verse that gave me the most comfort was in the book of Isiah 61 verse 3. God says : “I will give you beauty from your ashes”.

This felt like a prophecy over my life and I understand now that whatever we go through is our ashes and God uses our ashes for beauty. In the same sense, the first launch of the wine was a total disaster and I didn’t understand but now I understand the beauty of those ashes.

Out of all the blends, which is your favourite?

Definitely the Kylix Flagship blend. It’s a blend of the merlot - [Cabernet Sauvignon] and the merlot. What I really love about this best-selling wine is that the actual flavour of the wine is matured for 18 months in barrels. It’s one of my premium ones and I enjoy the elegance of it and there’s definitely lush on the palate and layers of flavour that flow. Wine lovers will agree with me that this is a wine for winter, so on a cold day you’ll find me having a glass of it by the fireplace with dark chocolate in my hand. It goes so well with chocolate.

READ MORE | RHODurban’s Annie on social media backlash - ‘It has taught me to be kinder in my honesty’

How involved were you in the formulation of the wine?

I was very involved from the beginning to the end. I came up with the name of the wine and visualised everything. I chose a farm and had actually visited quite a lot of farms in Stellenbosch. What drew me to this particular farm was the grape-friendly soil and the breeze from the Atlantic Ocean that surrounds the farm. I was also very involved in the labelling, the bottling and the packaging and I am open to new ideas because this is the second labelling that I’ve done. What I love and appreciate about wine is that never goes out of fashion.

Where can people purchase the wine?

For now, people can shop the wine from our online shop. It’s also distributed in Durban and you can find it in the upmarket shops as well as at the Tops in Umhlanga Rocks. Johannesburg-based people can find it at Blaque Bistro. I could have the wines in other retailers but I just want the wine to be known first, hence I’m big on hosting events and wine tastings so that I can eventually go to retailers being intentional about  wanting my win.

Let’s chat about RHOD. How was shooting the second season as compared to the first season?

I was very nervous about Season 2, especially because of how Season 1 ended. I really felt that I needed to clear my name and a part of me wanted to shy away because I did not want to put myself under scrutiny, but I’m better than that. I felt that people need to know who Nonku Williams is and I thank God that in Season 2 people got to understand me better. People didn’t know me and the different layers there are to me. The way people received me in this season made me happy.

What would you say were your highlights from Season 2?

Definitely where I opened up to the ladies. At the time, I had just found out that most of them were speaking behind my back but it helped me come to terms with myself and I realised that maybe there is a slight dependence on alcohol just to escape reality. Life is full of pressure and there’s only one of me. I’m a single mother and I run multiple businesses and there’s a whole lot. Sometimes I just wanted to escape by drinking but realised that I was doing it more than I should have been and I decided to take my power back.

What were some of your low moments?

I’d say it was at JoChella, Jojo’s event. I was really upset and the camera did not show the full aspect like me crying. I wasn’t even drinking that day, so for them to send Sorisha to speak to me got to me. I sat them down to address them and they laughed in my face – hated that feeling of disrespect and feeling like I don’t matter. I was ready to quit and told production I was done. That was my worst day on the show.

During the reunion episodes, you admitted to drinking to escape reality. Since then, have you found a healthier way to deal with the pressures you face?

Honestly, it can only be God. I reserve a day once a week just to spend time with him where I’ll spend time with Him by praying and it does wonders. I believe that we draw so much of ourselves and it’s like going to the ATM where you keep drawing money without depositing any money, so we need to deposit ourselves so we can keep withdrawing. I still have my drink but I’m not hard on myself about it. I’m responsible and I know when I’ve had enough.

Given the opportunity, would you be part of Season 3?

All I can say right now is that I’m not sure. Viewers will have to tune in and see, I can’t say yes and I can’t say no either.

Outside of being a mother, reality TV star and the founder of A2B Winery, what else do you do?

I do a lot. I’m in the construction business and even though a lot of people describe it as a ‘man’s world’, I don’t conform to that. I don’t believe that opportunities are gender or race specific, I believe that opportunities present themselves and it’s up to us to grab them.

My main core businesses are construction and logistics. Wine is something I am passionate about and I’m not looking at making money from it right now and that’s why I’m so patient about it. My end goal is to create generational wealth for not only my children, but for my grandchildren as well. I always tell my children this and they look at me like I’m crazy but I’m a woman of faith and I love taking risks. I’m involved in a lot of things and would still take any opportunity that may arise.

What does the rest of the year look like for Nonku Williams?

In terms of A2B winery, I’ll be working on the PR of my brand and making it known through events. The Durban July is coming up and I’ve partnered with two companies to have a stand. There’s also a number of upmarket hotels I’d like to have the wine listed in. I also want to partner with more Black-owned businesses. I’d also like to mentor future entrepreneurs about the world of business since we grew up only thinking that business was for a certain race only and we were only meant to be employees.

With my construction business, I just want it to become bigger and better. I am working on projects and I’m involved in low-cost housing projects, which I feel is important especially after the KZN floods. I’d like to help out and give back where I can.

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