Nicola Toet

Winelands Explore (Pty) Ltd

What does your company do?

Winelands Explore was the solution to our endless quest to find the best wine estates to visit that met our criteria of child friendly, restaurant etc. Instead of wasting countless hours trawling multiple websites, we built a one-stop website featuring South Africa’s only online directory of all the wine farms in S.A. Using our unique filter system by region and then category (there are 30 to choose from) you can find your ideal wine estate to visit based on YOUR needs. We also have an events page with all the upcoming events and news, so you don't miss a thing. Our weekly wine farm reviews give you a realistic summary of different estates you can visit, whether its for a chocolate & wine pairing, a spa visit, mountain bike ride or where to take your fur babies. We work with WWF to highlight wine estates who are WWF Conservation Champions, that incorporate sustainable farming practices to protect and conserve our beautiful Cape Winelands. Through the presentation of our reviews, experiences and stories, we have transformed a somber subject into a delightful and entertaining one, capturing the interest of a wider audience due to its multi-dimensional nature. Through our travels we saw a unique opportunity to give used Champagne and Cap Classique bottles a new purpose, and so Light with Love was born. We upcycle these bottles into authentic vessels to create bespoke candles. Each one is hand-poured with 100% plant-based soy wax, which gives a smoother and cleaner burn with greater fragrance release. You in turn can re-use them as pen holders or a pretty vase. Candles have always been a part of my home and my space to create a relaxed, positive, and happy environment. I feel they have this unique ability to transform an ordinary space into a sanctuary of tranquility, or add a touch of opulence and sophistication to any event. The captivating fragrances can connect us to old memories, add a sense of magic and offer calm luxury to a setting. Our artisanal candles are non-toxic, as we only use the highest quality fragrance oils, that are vegan, paraffin and UV inhibitor free. All environmentally friendly and no animal testing.

What is your biggest success?

My greatest achievement was developing a product that not only resolved my personal issue but also simplified the lives of others. Additionally, we have observed the positive impact on wine estates and wine tourism by promoting the various attractions these farms have, beyond their exceptional wines. The creation of Light with Love stemmed from this, aiming to repurpose these bottles into exquisite and distinctive Champagne Soy Wax Candles. Consequently, we have had the opportunity to engage with remarkable individuals who are dedicated to conservation and are committed to safeguarding our beautiful Winelands.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Due to the lack of capital investment, I have had to finance all expenses from my personal funds, which has been my greatest challenge. In order to gain a deeper understanding of this market, I dedicated additional resources, both in terms of time and finances to studies in this field. While this presented a challenge, it has remarkably advanced my knowledge and growth within this industry.