Distell sells Stellenzicht Winery to Ernie Els Wines

Distell continues to shed vineyards with the sale of Stellenzicht Winery to Ernie Els Wines.

Official news broke today via Wine Spectator:

The co-owner of Ernie Els Wines is expanding his Stellenbosch presence, buying the neighboring Stellenzicht winery. Baron Hans von Staff-Reitzenstein, who has been majority shareholder in Ernie Els wines since 2015, has purchased the farm and winery from Lusan Holdings.

According to Els executives, the deal is part of a strategy to secure more of their own fruit. The 550-acre property in the Helderberg region, with 250 acres currently planted, is one of the largest in the region and significantly larger than Ernie Els Wines’ 178 acres. The purchase price was not disclosed, but industry sources say Stellenzicht was listed for $9.84 million.

According to Andrew Harris, head of marketing and sales for Ernie Els Wines, the Stellenzicht farm’s enviable location, excellent terroirand potential to produce high-quality fruit helped clinch the deal. A large portion of the farm is well-suited to Rhône varieties, specifically Syrah.

“We hope to work off each other’s strengths and produce award-winning wines,” Harris told Wine Spectator of the acquisition, which merges one of the Cape’s most high-profile wineries in Ernie Els with the historic Stellenzicht, whose origins stretch back to 1692. The 1994 Stellenzicht Syrah Stellenbosch earned 92 points and was one of the early benchmark reds for South Africa’s wine industry shortly after the country was given access to the U.S. market post-apartheid. However, the winery has struggled to hit that mark since and is now in need of significant investment.

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