It is reported that Singh, who is ranked by Forbes in the past as one of India\'s richest persons with a net worth of at least USD 975 million, owns the Leeu Estates Farm in South Africa\'s Franschhoek town and is transforming it into a boutique winery an
Analjit Singh, Max India's has made major investments in the wine heartlands of South Africa, becoming the first Indian to buy a wine farm in the country to tap the growing market.
It is reported that Singh, who is ranked by Forbes in the past as one of India's richest persons with a net worth of at least USD 975 million, owns the Leeu Estates Farm in South Africa's Franschhoek town and is transforming it into a boutique winery and a 25-room, five-star hotel which is set to open next year.
Leeu Estates is a composite of three adjoining farms, Dieu Donne, Klein Dassenberg and Von Ortloff, that Singh bought in a year. According to Forbes.com, the total investment in the three farms of Leeu Estates is said to be USD 35 million. Singh, the founder chairman of Max India Limited and a Padma Bhushan awardee, made investments in the wine heartlands of the Western Cape Province after first visiting the region for the FIFA World Cup in 2010.
After becoming the first Indian national to buy a wine farm in South Africa, he added two adjacent ones and renamed them part of his portfolio titled the 'Leeu Collection'. 'Leeu' is the Afrikaans word for 'lion', the Sanskrit derivation of Singh.
"South Africa is a beautiful country with the friendliest people, who have made me feel truly welcome. 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 said.
Singh further says there were fewer than 50,000 wine drinkers in India about a decade ago. Although, there had been growth since then as India's huge population presented huge development opportunities for wine exports from South Africa.
Although Singh asserted that this would not be easy due to the strict regulations in India on agricultural imports, saying his priority will be helping raise the international reputation of South African wines abroad especially in Europe.