Photo Caption: Simon and Michael Back, previous owners of Backsberg Wine Estate, with Tim Hutchinson, executive Chairman of DGB.
DGB, South Africa’s leading premier wine company, has concluded a deal to acquire the majority shareholding in Backsberg, a long-established name in the Cape winelands which has been in the hands of the famous Back family for over a century. The transaction follows the sale of Backsberg’s main Simondium farm late last year.
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 BackBrandy 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 is confident that as custodian of some of the Cape’s most respected and established wine brands, the company will ensure the legacy of Backsberg continues growing from strength to strength.
Tim Hutchinson, executive chairman of DGB, says, “We really respect the legacy of the Back family who have 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. 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.
“In turn, Sydney’s son Michael made a major contribution towards green vineyard practices and Backsberg was the country’s first carbon neutral winery as well as being a WWF Conservation Champion. DGB aims to ensure the name Backsberg continues to be a respected player in the South African wine industry. 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, and Hutchinson is confident DGB’s extensive route to market in both the local and international markets will ensure a new chapter is 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.
Michael Back says, “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.”
Simon Back says, “I am excited to work with the DGB executive team in building on the work that my family has done, and taking the Backsberg brand to new heights.”