Mullineux Mull9A renamed rhyming Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines has been created with the selling of the shares in the Mullineux Family Vineyards, owned by British business partner Keith Prothero, to Analjit Singh, owner of Leeu International Investments Limited.   The newly named winery may be on the lips of wine lovers when Platter’s announces its 5 star wines and 2014 Winery of the Year later this month, Mullineux having been a close contender for the 2013 Winery of the Year accolade, with three 5 star wines.

Mr Singh is a highly regarded Indian entrepreneur from Delhi, being Chairman of Max India Limited, with business interests in the healthcare and insurance industries, and who has bought three wine farms in Franschhoek since his son brought him to South Africa for the first time in 2010 to attend the World Cup, having fallen in love with the Cape. I had heard of him from MasterChef SA Season 1 Finalist Guy Clark, who left Cape Town almost a year ago to help redo Mr Singh’s kitchen at his home in Delhi.  Mr Singh’s daughter got married, and Chef Guy had to co-ordinate the catering for the 2000 guests attending, who were entertained by Lionel Ritchie for the evening.  Mr Singh flew out his Franschhoek friends Di and Jack Clark, parents of Chef Guy, for the wedding. He has named his local wine and property investment company after the Afrikaans translation of his surname, meaning lion.

Americans Andrea and Chris Mullineux started their winery in 2007,  with Mr Prothero and Peter Dart as financial partners, to make hand-crafted wines in Riebeeck-Kasteel from the grapes growing in the granite and shale based terroirs of the Swartland. In the past seven years Mullineux has become one of the most highly regarded wine brands locally and internationally. A great honour was the invitation extended to Andrea to join the Cape Winemakers Guild.  Chris and Andrea, as well as Mr Hart, remain partners.  Mr Singh has promised that little will change to the Mullineux brand and the way in which the winery operates, according to Tim James.

Mr Singh said of his new winemaking partners, to whom he was introduced by viticulturist Rosa Kruger: ‘We are delighted to join Chris and Andrea in this exciting venture as they bring the passion, quality and focus that is essential to be ‘best in class’, which is a prerequisite for anything we are involved in’.  The Mullineuxs expressed their delight in the new partnership: ‘We are very excited about the new partnership and as dedicated as ever to enforce our minimalist approach to winemaking and focus on expression of the Swartland terroir. This investment is not only great for the Mullineux brand, but also for the entire Swartland region, the home and head-quarters of our Mullineux and Kloof Street wines’.

All eyes will be on the Mullineux and Leeu Family Wines partnership at the Platter’s 2014 awards next Friday.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com  Twitter: @WhaleCottage