pursuits

Chinese Investor Buys Stake in South Africa’s Swartland Winery

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 near Cape Town.

Wu, who came to South Africa in the early 1980s, bought a 51 percent stake in Swartland, a 66-year-old vineyard in Malmesbury that’s known for its merlot and pinotage red wines, according to an e-mailed statement. He will become the vineyard’s chairman.

“The market is in China where I have a ready demand for the quality and volume of wine Swartland produces,” Wu said in the statement, which didn’t disclose the price paid.

Chinese investors are showing growing interest in South Africa’s wine industry, now the world’s ninth-largest producer, to meet the demands of its expanding middle class.

Swartland Winery processes 25,000 metric tons of mostly red grapes a year. Wu also has a stake in Veenwouden winery in Paarl, also near Cape Town.

The winery “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,” he said.

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