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DGB acquires majority stake in Backsberg

Published:  11 August, 2021

South Africa’s DGB has acquired the majority shareholding in Backsberg, a long-established name in the Cape winelands which has been in the hands of the Back family for over a century.

The acquisition follows the sale of Backsberg’s main Simondium farm late last year.

As part of the deal, Backsberg’s cellar equipment will be relocated to Franschhoek where the portfolio of wines will now be produced under the newly-formed entity Backsberg Family Wines.  

The transaction also includes the Kosher wines under the “Unorthodox” trademark, together with the Tread Lightly and Backsberg Sydney Back Brandy brands. The estate’s alembic brandy pot still will be incorporated into a new artisanal distillery DGB is building in Franschhoek under the name of The Old Road Distillery Co.

DGB said it was confident that “as custodian of some of the Cape’s most respected and established wine brands”, it would ensure the legacy of Backsberg would continue to go from strength to strength.

“We really respect the legacy of the Back family which has had such a profound influence on the South African industry and besides their successful farming interests we have always admired their sustainability and community upliftment work,” said Tim Hutchinson, executive chairman of DGB.  

“Backsberg will complement our portfolio of premium brands which include Boschendal, Bellingham, Douglas Green, Franschhoek Cellars, Brampton, and Fryer’s Cove.

“Backsberg shaped much of the local wine industry, and this was largely through the late Sydney Back, both in terms of commitment to wine quality as well as visionary contributions to the local regulatory wine framework, such as laws allowing estate wine production,” he said.

DGB’s aim was to ensure the name Backsberg continued to be “a respected player” in the South African wine industry, added Hutchinson.  

“We have skilled viticulturists who manage our own and contracted vineyards, so they have access to a range of grapes expressing a diversity of varietals and terroir.”

The new Backsberg winery will be housed in a property adjacent to the Franschhoek Cellars winery, with Hutchinson confident DGB’s route to market in both the local and international markets would ensure “a new chapter” was written in the history of Backsberg.

“We are delighted the Back family will continue its involvement with the brand, as Simon Back will remain a director of Backsberg Family Wines. Our goal is to build on the success of Backsberg together with the Back family who, I am glad to say, share our excitement and optimism for the road ahead,” says Hutchinson.     

Back added, “As I head into retirement after 45 years in the wine industry I am thrilled that Simon and DGB are joining hands to grow and develop the Backsberg brand. Family businesses need to evolve, be flexible and fleet-footed, and coming together with DGB – a strong, principled, and innovative wine company – meets this goal.”

The latest acquisition by DGB follows the business purchasing Fryer's Cove in October last year.