FirstCape buys flagship winery

27 August, 2008
Page 6 
Brand Phoenix, which co-owns the leading South African wine brand FirstCape with local producer Newton Johnson, has announced the purchase of its first winery.

Simondium, near Franschoek, a premium wine-growing region to the east of Cape Town, will become the flagship production plant and "the new heart of FirstCape", according to the company.

Brand Phoenix said it had bought Simondium because of the "massive growth in demand for the brand in both the UK and Europe".

It stated: "The addition of this production facility to FirstCape's existing South African infrastructure will allow greater flexibility and improve quality even further from its category leading level."

The winery, which was bought from Spier, employs 19 permanent and nine casual staff.

FirstCape's head winemaker, David Smit, will be based at Simondium. It has a central blending cellar with specialised winemaking facilities, and two high speed bottling lines that can bottle up to 90,000 litres daily.

Brand Phoenix director Greg Wilkins said: "This is a huge moment for the guys in South Africa."

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Hacha leads by example

Back in 2002 celebrity chef Jamie Oliver launched Fifteen, a restaurant made up of a team of trainee chefs from underprivileged backgrounds.

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