Chinese company Perfect China has invested in the Val de Vie wine estate in Cape Winelands, purchasing a cellar, wine farm, vineyards and a historic manor house.
L’Huguenot wine label
The undisclosed transaction, completed in July, includes the Val de Vie wine cellar, a 25ha wine farm with 21ha of vineyards and the historic manor house and marks the first occurrence of a Chinese multinational investing in South Africa’s vineyards.
According to Val De Vie‘s marketing director Ryk Neethling, the Paarl wine farm will be administered by the parent firm Perfect Wines of South Africa, which is a joint venture between Perfect China, who has a 51% stake, and the Franschhoek estate Leopard’s Leap Wines, owned by Hein Koegelenberg.
Perfect Wines director Koegelenberg said that he had wanted to acquire a permanent base of production for his new cape wine brand L’Huguenot, which is targeted exclusively at the Chinese market.
‘Although we source the grapes for the L’Huguenot brand from various vineyards in the Western Cape, we wanted to give it a home – and Val de Vie with its Huguenot heritage and focus on a quality lifestyle fits the brand perfectly,’ Koegelenberg told decanter.com.
He added that he planned to undertake significant expansion projects at the 25hectare wine farm, including changing the historic manor house at Val de Vie and turning it into a Huguenot museum.
Koegelenberg confirmed that Val de Vie’s current range of wines would also be heavily promoted in the Chinese market, with plans to encourage more Chinese tourism in the Cape.
‘This year will see 700 Chinese sales representatives visiting Cape Town in the first week of September – introducing them to our wine culture. We want them to be ambassadors for the brand, but also for South Africa when they return to China,’ he said.
Perfect China said that The L’Huguenot brand is currently released as a Shiraz/Pinotage blend, a varietal Shiraz and as a Chenin Blanc wine, with an annual expected production of over 1.5 million bottles from 2014.
Written by James Lawrence