Cape Town - Top-notch wine farm Constantia Uitsig looks set to be sold, putting the future of three top restaurants at risk.
Although Constantia Uitsig director Lawrie MacIntosh on Friday denied the southern suburbs farm had changed hands, he did confirm that there could be changes at the farm, which is home to La Colombe, Constantia Uitsig Restaurant and the River Cafe.
“The estate has not been sold. We have been approached by a buyer who is doing a due diligence process,” MacIntosh said.
He added that, although the farm was for sale, the potential buyer’s due diligence commitment precluded the existing owners considering other offers.
Property websites, including IOL Property, list the estate’s price at R175 million. The 17th-century farm reportedly consists of 60 hectares, 33 of which are farmed. Besides the restaurants, it has a hotel, a spa and a private cricket oval.
The estate’s website said the farm had been the home for five generations of the Lategan family, whose ancestors arrived there in 1735.
In 1988 the farm was bought by David and Marlene McCay, who restored the farm. Fifty percent of the estate was sold to a consortium in 2006.
Businessman Tokyo Sexwale is reportedly one of the shareholders.
MacIntosh said the conditions of the new purchase offer were confidential, but he indicated that the potential buyer was a South African.
He added that if the sale did go through, the estate would be restructured.
”The wine estate became more of a hospitality place. We are a traditional wine farm in the (Constantia) valley. We are the smallest in the valley, but we have three restaurants,” he said.
La Colombe is a recognised culinary establishment of French-meets-Asian dining. Last year it was placed seventh in the top 10 of the annual Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards.
Prior to that recent accolade, the restaurant won international recognition when it was placed 12th in the San Pellegrino 50 Best Restaurants of the World Awards in 2010, and the Acqua Panna Best Restaurant in Africa and Middle East Award. At previous Eat Out Awards, it was named Restaurant of Year in 2008 and 2009.
“Our core business is wine. We are replanning. We still intend having restaurants,” MacIntosh said.