When reporting on some gossip current at the Swartland Revolution in November, I noted a suggestion “that ‘the Chinese’ are on the point of signing a deal to buy Swartland Winery – which would give ‘them’ a great big production facility”. Now, the generic reference has been personalised. Bloomberg News reports that “Electronics entrepreneur William Wu has become the latest Chinese investor to invest in South Africa’s wine industry after buying a majority stake in Swartland Winery” – see the full report here.
A leading Swartland winemaker commented: “One good thing is there will be less Swartland bulk wine heading to Europe so hopefully prices go up. Hope in general he pays the farmers enough for their fruit though.”
The Swartland cellar had previously recently been leased to Leeuwenkuil, the label of Willie Dreyer, owner of huge tracts of vineyard in the Swartland and Paarl. They then contracted to produce the Swartland ranges.Presumably the Swartland Winery brand will survive the latest change – Wu would probably be wise to have it so, given the name’s cachet, but it would undoubtedly be the best thing for the Swartland as a whole if it was only the region that used the name.
Meanwhile, no more firm news about the Lammershoek sale. I did hear from incoming CEO Andreas Abold that he was not “at present not in the position to comment on what you have blogged but hope we will meet in person soon in order to give you a full picture on the further development of one of the most important assets in the Swartland”.