Count Stephan von Neipperg, owner of classified Saint Emilion estates Château Canon la Gaffelière and La Mondotte, has taken a stake in Capaia Wines in New Philadelphia near Durbanville, South Africa.

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Count Stephen von Neipperg

The 58 hectare property has been owned by Baroness Ingrid von Essen and her husband Baron Alexander since 1997, with vines planted since 2001.

‘I first visited South Africa in 1995,’ von Neipperg told decanter.com, ‘and have followed this estate closely for some time. The terroir is exceptional, with schist on steep hillsides, and the young vines are gaining in complexity with every year. But there are plenty of things still to do, from refocusing the planting in the vineyard to helping with the marketing and commercial strategy, making this a fascinating challenge’.

Neipperg confirmed that he expects to visit Capaia four or five times per year, and that the estates’ technical teams will regularly exchange information and spend time between South Africa and Saint Emilion. ‘We will start this September, with my cellar master and vineyard manager heading over to South Africa with me,’ said von Neipperg, ‘to help with the harvest. The intention is to ensure a long-term exchange.’

The von Essens were defrauded in 2011 of significant sums of money by their general manager Francois Austin. In a high profile trial held in Bellville Commercial Crimes Court in Cape Town, Austin pleaded guilty to 132 counts of fraud worth 17 million rand (close to £1 million), although at least 3 million rand was subsequently recovered.

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Written by Jane Anson