AYAMA: Little Italy in the Boland!

Date posted:
July 4, 2024

I love to travel and I’ve fallen in love with many countries around the world, but Italy will always have a special place in my heart. Its rich culture, its food, its wine, its people and their passion for everything in life. When I think of Italy, I think of amiability, geniality, love, friendship, affection.

Okay, so what has all this to do with AYAMA, you may ask. Well, AYAMA is like a little bit of Italy in the Boland.

Let me explain. Ayama – which means “someone to lean on” in isiXhosa – is the well-known and very popular trademark of a wine farm on the slopes of the Paardeberg, in an area called Voor-Paardeberg. It is the property of two Italian families from the Friuli region in north-eastern Italy since 2005. It is managed by two wonderful Italians, Chiara Fabietti, winemaker, and Giuseppe Di Benedetto (aka Joe Wine), marketing manager (who doesn’t know a stranger!). Together they bring an extra element of Italianess to the proceedings – the French call it bonhomie. Bonhomie, according to the Collins Dictionary, is “a feeling of friendliness among a group of people”.

The farm dates back to 1685 and was initially owned by a French Hugeunot, Martin Pouisson, who named it Slent. Today the name encompasses the area. The farm was much later owned by the family of a WW II hero, Sailor Malan, a South African fighter pilot and flying ace in the Royal Air Force who led the RAF’s No 74 Squadron in the Battle of Britain.

But I digress. The synthesis of AYAMA’s philosophy is “the fusion of a wonderful territory with a touch of Italian style”. This is why one finds Italian varieties like vermentino and nero d’avola in the 70 hectares of vineyards, violetto artichokes from Sicily, san marzano tomatoes, asparagus and Italian olives (frantoio, leccino and coratina) on the farm. The vineyards also include Grenache blanc, Grenache noir, durif, carignan, chenin blanc, viognier, shiraz, merlot, pinotage and muscat.

The farm originally was a producer of wine grapes only, but today has its own cellar, a restaurant, a guest house and a guest cottage, and could be defined as a true Italian-style Agriturismo.

Giuseppe and Chiara have taken over the management of the farm in 2021, she being a winemaker and agronomist and he with decades of experience in organising promotional events for Italian wines and the marketing of wineries. At AYAMA Giuseppe is responsible for sales, marketing, promotions and hospitality.

Chiara’s winemaking experience includes stints on wineries in France and New Zealand, and in her homeland she worked for a well-known Lazio winery producing vermentino and extra virgin olive oil.

The farm is open to the public 7 days a week and frequently offers pasta making classes, Italian festivals, artichoke picking days and much more, and every event is booked out early!

For more information, call 021 869 8313 or send an email to ayama@ayama.info, or visit www.ayama.info.

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