People didn’t know about wine – says woman who left UK to transform Ghana’s wine industry

Abu Mubarik September 17, 2021
Nadia Takyiwaa Mensah at Sai, her wine and Champagne café | Photo credit: Sai Wine and Champagne Café

Nadia Takyiwaa-Mensah is the founder of the popular Sai Wine and Champagne Café in Ghana. According to the budding entrepreneur, she got involved in the growing wine industry in Ghana after heeding to a “spiritual calling” from God.

She told Cuisine Noir that in 2012, she had a vision of a beautiful light-filled place with lots of glass and chandeliers. At the time, Takyiwaa-Mensah didn’t understand what the vision represents but she heard a voice from God telling her “You will know.”

“Then in 2014, I was in Harlem, New York, sitting in a place that was beautiful, very like the vision, and I heard God say, ‘This is what you’re going to do next,’” she said. The place had a cute wine, bar, and Café. Takyiwaa-Mensah then reached out to her inner circles and moved to Miami.

While there, Takyiwaa-Mensah said God revealed to her that her wine business would be called “Sai” and in due course, she would come to understand the meaning of the name. If there was one thing that keeps her going, it was her faith.

Indeed, it was her faith that led her to relocate to Accra, Ghana in 2009 from the United Kingdom when her son, Isaiah, was born. In Ghana, Takyiwaa-Mensah said God told her she will own a marketing agency. However, after six months in Accra, she moved to the UK where she felt like a stranger.

In 2010, she was back to Ghana in response to what she calls “spiritual calling.” She set up a marketing agency called Sixth Sense Manifesto. And working from her vision board, she asked her team to look for a suitable location to actualize her spiritual calling, according to Cuisine Noir.

Just about the time she was establishing her wine business, Accra was increasingly embracing wine, particularly the ones from South Africa. She told Cuisine Noir that the wines from South Africa were “sweet and nasty” and many people in Ghana’s capital didn’t know about wine.

“They would gulp it down. Use the wrong glass. There was no knowledge of etiquette around wine,” she said. “Even good restaurants in Accra, when they served wine, had a limited selection. A merlot and a cabernet sauvignon. Yes, and possibly Moët. But no cava or prosecco.”

According to her, Sai Wine & Champagne Café has become one of the places in Ghana’s capital Accra where people could come and taste and learn about the wines of the world. And thanks to her company, international wines are becoming commonplace in Ghana’s major cities.

Prior to venturing into establishing Sai Wine & Champagne Café, Takyiwaa-Mensah had no knowledge of wine. Her appreciation of the wine industry evolved as she climbed the corporate ladder. “I wasn’t always a wine lover, but climbing the corporate ladder in the U.K., there were a lot of fancy dinners.” Those fancy dinners included wine, she said.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: September 17, 2021


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