Actor and producer Thapelo Mokoena, 38, is taking his career to new heights.
Popular for shows like DStv’s Trackers, Ayeye, SABC’s Mtunzini.com and various local and international movies, as well as being the face of the men’s fragrance, Tabac, he is also involved in beer, insurance, disinfectants, TV production, food and beverages.
Two years ago, Joburg-based Mokoena came together with the Bosman Family Vineyards, who have been making wine for eight generations, in a new collaboration that involved spreading the message of winemaking to South Africans through a website and the creation of Nero Wine, with its popular brand, the Bosman Nero d’ Avola Red.
Already sold nationally through Woolworths stores and directly through the Nero Wine Club, a proud Mokoena said of the wine: “As a partner, I had to be involved in launching my product.” Mokoena describes the partnership as “A God-sent partnership.”
“Businesses are formed by people and this is a family of good people. So, we decided to form our company Bosman Bakoena Brands (Pty) Ltd.”
Upon meeting the Bosman family, Mokoena felt a strong sense of synergy and knew that he wanted to delve deeper into his creativity with the newly formed brand.
His first love being filmmaking, this was a skill set he brought to the table in the form of Nero TV, an online YouTube series of episodes designed by wine connoisseurs to introduce novice wine drinkers to a better understanding and appreciation of wine, brought to you by a black wine grower and producer.
Explaining his reason for going into the wine industry, Mokoena says: “It’s quite opposite to what you do daily, that’s business for you. Opportunities and potential to grow is what leads me in most cases.”
Mokoena has business instincts that led him to this new venture. “After a great proposal from the Bosman Family Vineyards, it was that much easier to walk into the vineyard business, ultimately investing my all in the business.”
Making a difference to the continent was a key element to his overall vision.
“Almost three years in the wine game now and I have become aware that the wine lifestyle hadn’t properly been opened to black people, and my online show, Nero TV, is here to do exactly that, inviting every South African to come with me and enjoy the fruits of our soil, also being part of the most desirable and progressive wine club out there.”
The recently launched Nero Wine Club (www.neroclub.co.za) will encourage conversations around wine and winemaking, from tasting to growing, fair trade policies and pairings.
The Nero club is best described in Mokoena’s own words as a “family”, a perfect home for the wine lover, wine curious and wine expert.
“It’s a way for us as Bosman Bakoena Brands to bring you the best wine deals and membership specials, A home where you can learn a bit more about my wine, Nero, and many other wines from the Bosman Vineyards stable.”
Currently, 24 wines can be explored. “Walking the wine culture and lifestyle with the majority of our citizens in an industry that was previously viewed as not being inclusive,” said Mokoena. “
Being part of the club will allow sectors of the population who were previously disadvantaged to see a wine from more than the inside of a red tour bus. Taking a true and authentic walk without intimidation or exclusion. Part of this experience will also involve digital wine tastings.
“Just you wait and see. The world has changed, we have to adapt. The digital era is here, the 4IR is here. Who are we as a business in all of it? How do we translate our offerings? I’ll be sure to invite you to the first one soon.”
This is a journey into unexplored territories and he may soon cast his net even wider.