Delhi-based industrialist Analjit Singh has augmented his stake in the South African wine and hospitality industry with the acquisition and amalgamation of three prominent farms in Franschhoek and the development of a new luxury boutique hotel, spa, winery and wine tasting facility.
The properties Dassenberg, Von Ortloff and Dieu Donné have been amalgamated within Singh’s Leeu portfolio, under the name Leeu Dassenberg Estates. Hospitality expert Matthew Smith has been appointed as general manager of the enterprise, and overall the team is led by hospitality and property development expert Hector de Galard.
Also new to the Leeu portfolio is Rusthof Country Inn, a property in Franschhoek village. Leeu Rusthof Country Inn will be closed from July for refurbishment. Staff will be retained and manager Jessica van Schoor, incumbent for the past seven years, will remain.
Both Leeu Dassenberg Estates and Leeu Rusthof Country Inn will re-open in the summer.
“South Africa is a beautiful country with the friendliest people, who have made me feel truly welcome,” says Singh, who serves only South African wine at his home in India. “It has an unparalleled sense of peace! I love the people, the style, the gentle manner.
“I am excited about the great opportunities that have become available to me and look forward to learning and making a contribution, in particular to the country’s top-notch wine industry.”
Singh is the founder and chairman of The Max India Group, with interests in life insurance, health insurance and health care. The South African investment is the first project undertaken in his personal capacity outside of India, and is reflected in the enterprise’s name: the Afrikaans word “Leeu” means lion, the Sanskrit derivation of Singh.
Singh’s interest in South Africa was sparked during a 2010 visit for the FIFA World Cup. He assembled a team to investigate possible investments and, towards the end of last year, acquired shares in Mullineux Family Wines. Renamed Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines, the award-winning producer and Platter's Winery of the Year 2014 is situated in the Swartland wine region, 50km north of Cape Town.
Singh is assisted in his wine ventures by viticulturist Rosa Kruger.