Johannesburg - A Chinese company bought a wine cellar and vineyards in South Africa, the first such investment by an operator from the Asian nation.

Perfect China bought the cellar of the Val de Vie estate, located between the towns of Paarl and Franschhoek, near Cape Town, it said in an e-mailed statement today.

The purchase includes a 25-hectare (61.8-acre) wine farm with 21 hectares of vineyards, it said.

The cellar will be used by Perfect Wines of South Africa, in which Perfect China has a 51 percent stake.

PWSA exported 2.8 million bottles of wine to the Asian country in 2011 and 2012, or about 25 percent of all South African wine shipments to the nation, it said.

“Perfect Wines of South Africa plans to extend the current cellar facilities at Val de Vie and increase the maturation capacity,” according to the statement. Perfect China didn’t disclose the purchase price.

Exports rose to 469 million liters (124 million US gallons) in the year through April, up 25 percent from the previous 12 months and more than triple the total shipped in 2000, data from the Wines of South Africa trade body show.

The UK took the biggest share of the nation’s wine exports last year with 22 percent. While shipments to the UK and US fell in the five years to 2011, they surged sixfold to 4.28 million bottles to China.

The cellar is part of the original manor house that was built on the farm in 1825, according to the estate’s website.

The farm grows the Cinsaut, Carignam, Grenache Noir, Mourvedre, Syrah, Clairette Blanche, Grenache Blanc and Viognier varietals.

Ryk Neethling, a swimmer who was part of the South African team that once held the world record for the 4x100-meter freestyle relay, is the marketing director of Val de Vie, according to the estate’s website. - Bloomberg News