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Bellingham appoints Summergate as distributor in China

South African winery Bellingham in entering the Chinese market through a partnership with leading importer Summergate Fine Wines & Spirits.

Bellingham, one of South Africa’s oldest and most pioneering wineries, has announced a partnership with Summergate Fine Wines & Spirits, a leading importer and distributor into mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

The history of Bellingham began in 1693 when the land was purchased by Gert Janse van Vuuren. The old wine cellar that still exists nowadays was built in that time. In 1943, the farm catapulted into the annals of the local wine industry due to the innovative spirit of its owner Bernard Podlashuk who in that year purchased Bellingham.

This marked the pioneering position of Bellingham in the modern Cape wine industry. In 1951 the winery launched the first rosé wine in the country, and in 1957 the first wine made from Shiraz grapes was introduced. Bellingham’s crisp, fruit-driven and dry Bellingham Grand Cru, using the pioneering method of cold-fermentation, was also launched in 1957 and would become one of the country’s largest selling brands, introducing a generation of South Africa wine-lovers to this dry white wine.

“As the South African wine offering has changed over the past few decades, so too has the offering of Bellingham,” says Tim Hutchinson, executive chairman of DGB, the South African wine company that today owns Bellingham. “An example of this the Bellingham’s “Bernard Series” of wines, a tribute to Bernard Podlashuk who ensured Bellingham’s permanent status as one of the country’s great wine brands and cemented a provenance that remains among our core values.”

Bellingham’s modern ranges of wines include Shiraz, Pinotage and Rhône-inspired blends, and for whites, there is Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc.

Hutchinson says that Bellingham’s access to the best pockets of terroir for each specific variety ensures consistent excellence of wine quality. “The wines are made from grapes grown in various regions of the Western Cape, South Africa’s major wine area, and Bellingham works with grower partners in a variety of geographical sites ensuring that every wine is an exact expression of the natural environment from where it comes.”

On the relationship with Summergate, Hutchinson said it was an honour to be partnered with one of China’s leading fine wine importers who truly understands fine wine and is respected by buyers the region over.

“DGB is honored to establish the exclusive partnership with Summergate, which has excelled both in brand building and route to market strategies and achieved great milestones over the years,” added DGB China Market Manager Mailikie Aibibul. “I do believe that with our joint efforts, Bellingham brand will shine like a rising star in the South African Fine wine scenery in the Chinese market, and our wines will be appreciated by the increasingly sophisticated wine aficionados”.

Berny Yang, Summergate’s General Manager of Greater China, commented: “As an internationally well-known wine brand, Bellingham is warmly welcomed by Summergate. In response to the rapid growth of South African wine in China recent years, our customers have high expectations of the full range of Bellingham wines. It is expected that this new partnership will bring a new experience of premium South African wine to Chinese consumers and make the Bellingham brand to shine in the Chinese market.”

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