In the mid-1980s, as the late Hans Schreiber was buying up high-profile viticultural real estate in Stellenbosch, a serious concern was expressed — in newspaper columns and not just at jukskei competitions — about the sale of heritage sites to foreigners. It was in a time of enforced isolation. PW Botha ruled with an iron fist in a chain-mail glove. Presumably those who were editorialising believed that he would simply wave his tungsten-plated arm and the foreign investors would be sent on their way with their Deutschmarks in their pockets and their tails between their legs.

Their sentiments were hardly original, or even uniquely South African. When the British Pearson Group acquired Bordeaux First Growth Chateau Latour in 1963, the French establishment tried to persuade the president to block the sale. Charles de Gaulle is said to have responded, “They can’t very well take the soil with them.”..

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as articles from our international business news partners; ProfileData financial data; and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now