From California to the Cape

New American investment in South African winelands.

Charles Banks, former owner of Napa cult winery Screaming Eagle and partner in Santa Barbara-based investment company, Terroir Capital, has recently purchased two wineries in South Africa’s Cape winelands.

Banks became interested in South Africa some three years ago, when he met Andre Shearer—the South African owner of New York importer Cape Classics—through a mutual friend. Shearer pointed him toward the Stellenbosch winery Mulderbosch, the biggest seller for Cape Classics. Banks quickly saw the potential of the winery and decided to purchase it.

His goal? “Improving the already good quality but keeping the wines affordable,” Banks says. He’ll accomplish this by focusing on the three classic whites: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc.

When it came to the purchase of his second property, Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards—the 185-hectare property in the more remote area of Tulbagh—Banks initially had no interest. “Jancis Robinson [a U.K. wine writer) told me it was an interesting place,” Banks explains. “Coincidentally, I received an email from then-owner, Jason Scott, asking if I’d be interested in buying the property. About 18 months ago, my wife and I went out there to taste the wines and I immediately fell in love. That was that!"

The focus at this property, which is to be renamed Fable (easier for Americans to pronounce than Tulbagh) will be two red wines: a Syrah-Mourvèdre blend and a varietal Syrah (Banks acknowledges that the Rhône and Chateauneuf-du-Pape are particular favorites). Future plans include a Grenache plantings and a white wine, which will be made from purchased grapes. Additionally, new wineries will be built on both these properties. Andy Erickson, winemaker at Screaming Eagle, will oversee these projects.

“South Africa is more exciting than California,” asserts Banks, adding, “There’s good energy with a sense of optimism, which is not evident from reports in the Financial Times."

Edit Module
Edit Module

Related Articles

Restaurants Specializing in Wines from the Southern Hemisphere

Many American lists are light on wines from the Southern Hemisphere. But these restaurants give bottles from the bottom half of the globe their due respect.

How to Decode a German Riesling Label

Pick a better bottle every time with our four-step guide.

An Epic Table for Wine Lovers

Take your hosting to the next level with this gorgeous grapevine table.

California's Best Syrahs

These five regions of the Central Coast are doing the Northern Rhône’s star variety right.
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit Module


You can unsubscribe at any time. View an example of our newsletter.

Edit Module
Edit Module


Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit Module

Related Web Articles