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More than 2 500 people around the world watched online as the oldest property ever to be auctioned in South Africa was sold for more than R50 million today.
The 329-year-old Morgenhof wine estate on the slopes of the Simonsberg in the picturesque Stellenbosch region of the Western Cape in South Africa was sold via virtual live-stream by High Street Auctions for a hammer fall price of R52.25m.
High Street Auctions Director and Lead Auctioneer Joff van Reenen says the buyer is based in Europe, but prefers that no further details are released at this stage.
“The sale is subject to a 14-day confirmation period.
“Bidding for Morgenhof took place via Zoom, the High Street app, the live-stream from the estate in Stellenbosch and telephonically. The winning bid was ultimately made by phone.”
Van Reenen says multiple registrations were received from three continents prior to the auction.
“The reaction to this sale was absolutely unprecedented. We had more than 150 live inquiries from around the world.
“It was also the largest South African auction campaign ever run, with 2.4 million online views. Global marketing was focused across the United States, Europe and Africa with inquiries eventually coming in from 15 countries.”
Morgenhof was auctioned 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 also a pioneer of South African viticulture. Dating back to 1692, one can trace the rich wine-making history back to the French Huguenots.
Morgenhof’s vineyards are farmed as ‘dry land’, which result 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 60-400 metres above sea level.
The estate’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.
Van Reenen says 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 wrap-around open terrace paved in terracotta tiles and a splash pool;
The Top House, a second manor of 730m² elevated among the vineyards. The 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;
Conference venue with attached catering facilities;
Bistro and coffee shop;
Office block; and
Staff accommodation of various types.
“The current owner wants to see that legacy continue for another three centuries, so after three decades of contributing her lineage’s 750 years of viticulture experience to this estate she is handing over the reins. Anne Cointreau will be returning to France to retire and enjoy life with her extended family, and we wish her well,” says Van Reenen.