Historic Morgenhof wine estate up for grabs

Investors from 13 countries are looking to bid on the renowned 329-year-old Morgenhof winery located on the slopes of the Simonsberg in Stellenbosch during a virtual auction next week Wednesday (August 25).

The winery held an open day viewing last weekend, ahead of the planned auction.

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“At the moment buyers from 13 countries have registered interest in bidding for the 210-hectare estate,” says High Street Auctions director and lead auctioneer Joff van Reenen, adding that the first of two viewings was attended by interested buyers from South Africa and several others who flew in from abroad.

Potential investors are from South Africa, Australia, China, Germany, Belgium, Lesotho, India, Italy, France, England, Kenya, Canada and the United States.


“There are multiple potential investors from three countries, namely South Africa, England and the US,” according to Van Reenen.

He says several international buyers have confirmed that they will be flying to South Africa this week to attend the second viewing day taking place at the farm this coming weekend, adding that “viewing is strictly by appointment only”.

SA/US joint venture

In a South African first, Morgenhof is being auctioned in a joint venture with US auction company Tranzon, which has representative offices across the US.

“Tranzon is fielding numerous inquiries from American investors [who are] very interested in buying a premium winery in South Africa.

“Interestingly, several of those communications have come from potential investors based in America’s premier wine-growing region, Napa Valley, in California,” says Van Reenen.

“Others are from the US East Coast, the Washington DC area and from Florida.”

Vines and wines

According to Van Reenen: “Morgenhof’s portfolio of wines includes a mixture of reds and whites, ranging from the fresh Sauvignon Blanc to the barrel-fermented Chenin Blanc. The red wine range offers a selection of iconic single varietal wines including a revered Merlot and a vibrant Pinotage, as well as a Bordeaux-style blend that is also the flagship of the Morgenhof range.”

He says the vineyards are farmed as ‘dry land’, which results in smaller yields and superior concentrations in the berries. The estate comprises a variety of soil types, with the terroir further complimented by altitudes ranging from 40-400 metres above sea level.

The built infrastructure improvements on Morgenhof include:

  • The pristinely restored 450m² main manor house comprising five bedrooms, five bathrooms, a lounge, dining room and kitchen as well as a wraparound open terrace paved in terracotta tiles and a splash pool;
  • The Top House, a second manor of 730m² elevated among the vineyards – this two-storey Cape Dutch style dwelling has four bedrooms, attached staff quarters and its own private swimming pool;
  • A 600-ton capacity wine cellar;
  • Underground barrel fermentation hall;
  • Wine tasting room and terrace;
  • Restaurant;
  • Wedding chapel;
  • Conference venue with attached catering facilities;
  • Bistro and coffee shop;
  • Office block; and
  • Staff accommodation of various types.

All images supplied.

Van Reenen says the winery is being auctioned as a going concern, with all furniture, fixtures and fittings, as well as the contents of the wine cellar, included in the sale.

Investment case

“This is an established and well-diversified business with multiple income streams that offers a new owner with vision, massive potential to expand.

“Substantially adding to the attraction of the estate itself is the fact that it will be auctioned on August 25th with considerable foreign exchange and assessed tax loss incentives that would be extremely beneficial to the eventual buyer.”

Morgenhof is owned by Anne Cointreau, whose family has produced wine, champagne and spirits in France since 1272.

Her great-grandfather Adolphe created the famous orange liqueur that carries the family name, and her grandfather the luxury Remy Martin brand of cognac.

The estate is one of South Africa’s viticulture pioneers. Dating back to 1692, one can trace its rich wine-making history back to the French Huguenots.

Palesa Mofokeng is a Moneyweb intern.

Listen to Melitta Ngalonkulu’s interview with Siwela Masoga of Siwela Wines (or read the transcript here):

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