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Exclusive: Ernie Els Wines Takes On Investment Partner To Drive Ambitious Growth Agenda

October 21, 2015

Ernie Els Wines, the South African wine company founded by the champion golfer of the same name, has linked with a new German investor, Baron Hans von Staff-Reitzenstein, as part of its ongoing effort to expand on the international stage.

“I have joined hands with an external investor who shares a common vision to make Ernie Els Wines one of the foremost wine producers from the New World,” said Els. “The objective of this partnership is to add more resources to the brand and improve our capabilities. I am looking forward to my ongoing and active role in the company, and seeing the brand grow and fulfill its potential.”

Baron Hans von Staff-Reitzenstein, 61, is a private businessman and wine lover who has spent the past 25 years amassing an extensive wine collection from around the world. Recently, he made the decision to further pursue his passion by taking a hands-on role in the wine industry. His undisclosed investment in Ernie Els Wines comes as the brand looks poised to build on its significant growth of recent years. Staff-Reitzenstein said the Els partnership represents “a brilliant opportunity to invest in a brand with a high level of quality and great potential in the market.”

Based in the Golden Triangle of South Africa’s Helderberg Mountains near Stellenbosch, Ernie Els Wines was founded in 2000 with a focus on luxury wines. As of 2009, the company sold about 7,000 six-pack cases across three products. Year-to-date in 2015, it has sold 62,000 cases across 12 products. Imported by Terlato Wines in the U.S., the brand ranges from Big Easy red and white blends retailing at around $20 up through its Signature Stellenbosch offering at $95 a bottle. Ernie Els Wines has received more than 35 scores of 90 points or above from Wine Spectator over the years, including a 94 for its 2012 Cape Winemakers Guild Stellenbosch, released last year.

“To meet the increased demand that the Ernie Els Wines brand is experiencing, Mr. Staff-Reitzenstein and Ernie Els will be planning investments to extend production capacity, with the input of head winemaker and managing director Louis Strydom,” the partners noted in a statement to SND. Beyond investing in capacity, there are no dramatic changes envisioned from an operational perspective looking forward, they added.

Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011, Els has four major championship wins to his credit, amidst 82 career victories. Els also earned the 2015 PGA Tour Payne Stewart award, presented annually to a professional golfer who best exemplifies Stewart’s steadfast values of character, charity and sportsmanship.

Els’ charitable endeavors include his Els for Autism program, which has led to the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in Jupiter, Florida, which opened its doors in August of this year.


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