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Big Chinese opportunity for W Cape winery

Dec 19 2014 10:08

Cape Town - Chinese businessman William Wu has purchased a 51% stake in Swartland Winery, situated outside the Western Cape town of Malmesbury.

Founded in 1948, Swartland Winery crushes 25 000 tonnes of grapes annually, supplying a diverse selection of packaged and bulk wine to local and international clients.

Wu, whose interests in the electronics business brought him to South Africa in the early 1980s, has cultivated an appetite for the wine business since investing in Paarl winery Veenwouden.

His purchase of a 51% stake for an undisclosed sum was approved by a majority of Swartland Winery’s 70 shareholders.

“My decision to invest in Swartland Winery was driven by the fact that I am coming to the winery with a market for the product. The market is in China where I have a ready demand for the quality and volume of wine Swartland produces. Swartland Winery is a great investment,” said Wu.

“It has access to good, well-farmed grapes and is one of the few South African wineries of this size where the majority of grapes planted are red varieties – in which the Chinese market is most interested.”

Wu said Swartland Winery’s infrastructure - including bottling, warehousing and distribution – offered total control of supply and a one-stop shop for exporting to the Far East as well as continuing to service global and local markets.

“Due to recent developments which have led to the wine world’s overwhelming interest in the Swartland region, the marketing opportunities for this winery in the developing Asian markets are limitless," said Wu.

"We will most definitely tap into the excitement surrounding this region which some international wine critics are calling the most exciting wine region in the world.”

As its new chair, Wu will directly be involved in operations.

Outgoing chair Frans Maritz said the deal heralds in a new chapter in the history of the Swartland wine region.

“The investment by Mr Wu will allow Swartland to unlock value for our member-farmers with new markets in China. It comes at a time when the Swartland brand is also making inroads in the European and African market,” said Maritz.

“The energy and insight of our new Chinese partner and his association with China are going to rejuvenate the Swartland brand and gear our wine business for these exciting new markets and a different business ethos, while unlocking value for our shareholder-farmers, as well as the region’s wine industry at large.”

The deal is still subject to a process of due diligence.

china  |  wine  |  agribusiness  |  agriculture


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