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Jackson Family Wines buys South African vineyard

Jackson Family Wines has expanded its recent buying spree beyond US shores by acquiring vineyards in South Africa's Stellenbosch region.

A view of Stellenbosch in South Africa. Jackson Family Wines have bought vines in Banghoek Valley.

Jackson Family
has bought Fijnbosch farm, which includes eight hectares of vines, from the Engelage family for an undisclosed fee, a spokesperson for the California-based wine firm confirmed.

It marks the latest in a series of acquisitions by Jackson Family Wines under the guidance of owner Barbara Banke and the deal is also a mark of rising respect for South African wine.

‘The family had been looking to invest in South Africa when the right opportunity presented itself,’ said Jackson Family spokesperson Kristen Reitzell.

Jackson Family winemaker Graham Weerts met Rosa Kruger, a consulting South African viticulturist who has worked at Fijnbosch for 10 years, and was impressed with the quality of the Chardonnay being produced there.

It remains unclear exactly when the deal was completed, but Jackson Family Wines was understood to have been waiting for the estate to become available.

‘Fruit from this vineyard is being used to produce a new 100% Chardonnay wine as a joint-venture between the Jackson family and Antony Beck that will release next year,’ the spokesperson said.

‘Two other Chardonnay vineyards in the Overberg and Robertson regions as also a fruit source, but those are not estate owned.’

Antony Beck is co-owner of Angela Estate in Oregon, US, but his family owns Graham Beck winery in South Africa.

In 2013, South Africa exported a record 526m litres of wine, equivalent to 701m bottles, up 26% on 2012. The UK was the largest export market. Figures for 2014 were not yet available.

Since taking the reins of Jackson Family Wines in 2011 following the death of her husband, Jess Jacskon, Barbara Banke has added more than a dozen properties to the business. Some of the most notable were the firm’s first foray into Oregon in 2013, including the purchase of the Zena Crown vineyard from Premier Pacific Vineyards.

Outside of the US, the group already owns Chateau Lassegue in France’s St Emilion and Tenuta di Arceno in Tuscany.

Read Adam Lechmere’s interview with Barbara Banke in the February issue of Decanter magazine, out on 7 January.

Written by Chris Mercer

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