Wine consultant and exporter
In the industry since 2003
International award for the best Chenin in South Africa (2016)
Natasha Boks brims with ideas. This is perhaps not surprising, given that she is a wine, marketing and agriculture consultant – as well an exporter of South African labels to other African countries, the USA, and China. In addition, Natasha is an advisor to government on the wine industry. She speaks enthusiastically and emphatically. ‘My father always told me that people should remember what you say.’
She has grown up in the business. After completing her Bachelor’s degree in Science (Agriculture), Oenology and Viticulture at the University of Stellenbosch in 2007, she was offered an assistant winemaking position at Distell. She admits the scale of the operation was intimidating when compared to her previous intern experiences. ‘You will get the shock of your life!’ But she set about making a name for herself, first at Zonnebloem and then, from 2013 until 2018, as head winemaker at Nederburg. Multiple awards followed, across several cultivars. As a relatively young winemaker, she soon learned to lean on her team. ‘Because people make a business.’
Even a casual glance at her past reveals that Natasha was always going to be a formidable leader. At school, she lobbied for girls to be allowed to play on the boy’s touch-rugby field during break time. She was later made Head Girl. Her parents were both entrepreneurs: her mother, a perfectionist caterer; and her father, a man who got up for work at 4am. It goes without saying that Natasha values hard work. ‘You can’t just make noise.’
Unsurprisingly, she also has definite opinions on transforming the wine industry. It needs to be a collective effort, with clear responsibilities. The process should emphasise new standards of excellence, not old expectations. Mutual respect and trust – between government and business, young and old, black and white – is the only way forward. ‘Transformation is everyone’s job.’
She founded NBW Consulting in 2019 – but does she ever hanker after her winemaking days? Sometimes. She envisages a range made by different women winemakers, with each bottle representing the personality of the producer. A percentage of every purchase would then go on to fund a chosen cause. But, for now, Natasha has people to meet, feathers to ruffle, and trails to blaze.