How did you go from winger to wine?
Living in Stellenbosch meant I was right in the heart of the South African wine industry. I was always visiting wine estates in the area, and this sparked my interest in wine. I tasted plenty of good wine – developed my palate – and that got me hooked. When the time came to celebrate my Sevens career, I decided immediately that a signature wine was the way to go. Slightly unconventional – but for me – wine was the only way.
So, the wine bug bit – what came next?
I’ve loved each minute of every aspect of the wine industry… from starting out as a regular guy enjoying great wines to being privileged to learn all the industry’s intricacies. As a novice, I knew nothing about the business, and this project has been a steep learning curve.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
Trying to put the taste I wanted into words. My poor winemaker – I gave him a hard time. He had to make sense of this crazy idea of having a seven-cultivar blend. I had the easy job of tasting.
What do you think of wine snobs?
They take a lot of heat, but I think they’re fantastic! LOL! Jokes aside, quality is something that should be celebrated. Wine snobs are people that appreciate top-notch products, are knowledgeable and like to share their interest. They shouldn’t be battered for it, and by the way, I’m turning into one myself.
What’s behind the label design for Glory?
Initially, we thought of incorporating my signature on the label, but then we took a chance on something different and came up with Glory. Fans always highlight my Sevens playing career and are still of the opinion that those were my glory days. The next step was to craft the brand name in signature form. The design has since evolved to include a badge of honour and elements of my personal logo. For me, Glory must be an extension of who I am. The wine and the label are authentic reflections of me.
Who would you award the World Cup of Wine to?
When on tour, I’m focused on the team and my job. So, getting to visit wineries is not on my agenda. But I’ve been blessed to get a taste of Argentinian Malbec. It was divine and was a great pairing with steak. The Pinot Noir in Australia was exceptional. My GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) from touring wine experiences is definitely the Malbec.
I know you enjoy a great G & T – which local gin brands do you like?
I love local gin. I generally support South African producers. On a warm summer day and when I’m looking for something refreshing, Six Dogs Blue slays and Inverroche Amber is my go-to if I’m in the mood for something woody.
Are you hot stuff in the kitchen?
I enjoy cooking and making food. Not Masterchef standard, but I’m confident the selectors would give me a go. The easiest crowd-pleaser has to be a braai. I can entertain and cook at the same time. A braai is effective, tasty, hearty and my signature dish.
Tell us about your style.
It’s hard to describe. It’s not definitive. I dress to express myself, and that looks different every day. It just depends on what I’m feeling. I shop wherever – it doesn’t matter if it’s Mr Price, Zara, Maxhosa or anything else. I’m also into making my own clothes now. I’m sponsored by ASICS and have been an ambassador for more than seven years, so I’ve lost count of the number of pairs I have. My favourite is the custom-made Tokyo Daigakui. I’m literally on fire when I rock those.
Do you have a beauty routine?
Grooming for men is essential. I’m all for gender equality in the grooming department. I mean, we all have skin. I must raise my game because the most I do is exfoliate – once a week. Oh, and I’m religious about my sunscreen!
Are you into gaming and other hobbies?
Gaming is not my thing, but if I play FIFA socially, I always back myself. I’ve recently got into golf – I play for fun, get outdoors, and enjoy the fantastic scenery. I love anything water-related. You’ll find me sitting on the rocks at the beach watching the waves or surfing in my spare time. Otherwise, you’ll catch me reading or doing another personal favourite, sleeping.
What lessons from rugby can translate into real life?
Rugby is a team sport. Every individual is needed to perform at a certain level for a positive result. You’re dependent on your teammates. I believe it’s the same in real life. No man is an island. You’ll always need people. Making wine is the same – it is a collaborative process.
Where do you head for vacay?
The Kruger! I’m a nature lover. There’s nothing like seeing majestic animals in their natural habitat. And the tranquillity of the bush. Exploring our African continent is on my bucket list – we need to pay more attention to what’s right in front of us and celebrate Africa.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see the Seabelo Senatla portfolio holding a couple more brands. Wine was the start of my entrepreneurial journey. From here, I’m shooting for the stars.
Images Courtesy of Glory