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Saturday 23 September 2017

New venture for wine's perpetual-motion man

There are seldom enough hours in the day for global wine industry player Martin Krajewski.

A self-made man, the English son of Polish immigrants, he owns wine businesses in France and South Africa and is casting glances towards Australia for the second time.

He recently sold his Bordeaux business, Chateau de Sours, to one of the world's richest men, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma. He's close to Ma and is helping him as a consultant.

The sale of Chateau de Sours, home of one of France's most vaunted rosés, enabled Krajewski to concentrate on his impressive Grand Cru St Emilion estate, Clos Cantenac, and his South African venture; Aristea.

Krajewski, who worked with former Penfolds Grange maker John Duval on the Songlines/Bylines business in Australia, also owns Chateau Seraphine in Pomerol and has recently invested in a private distillery in Norway called Oslo Handverksdestilleri.

The former owner of a recruitment firm in the City of London is a major figure in the world of contemporary art and is casting covetous glances at cool-climate vineyards in Tasmania, saying: "I will be down next year to have a good close look."

Like many of the super-rich, Krajewski is down to earth and humble with few airs and graces. He's been a friend for a while now, and our most recent meeting was at a pub in La Perouse when he hit Sydney to promote both Chateau de Sours and Clos Cantenac, both of which are distributed in Australia by Oatley Fine Wines.

Now he and his business partners - Florent Dumeau, a leading oenologist from Bordeaux, and Matt Krone, a local winemaker whose family pioneered sparkling wines in South Africa some 12 generations ago - have released their first Aristea wines.

"The aim of Aristea is to produce exceptional wines which speak of their terroir and reflect the Cape itself, from its harsh landscape to its raw beauty," Krajewski says.

"Even the name, Aristea, reflects one of the many plants found only in the Cape which requires the brutality of fire to allow it to flower, and then for just one day."

Aristea owns no vineyards but draws on long-established relationships to source some of the best fruit from around Stellenbosch.

For its market début, Aristea has released a 2016 chardonnay and 2015 cabernet sauvignon from Stellenbosch but there are some MCCs - Méthode Cap Classiques - in the pipeline, needing a few more months on the lees before they are released.

The launch in London early this month proved a success, with quantities already limited. For those interested go to or

"These wines are the result of four years of very hard work, struggle and careful planning, but it has been well worth the long wait as they 'sing' a new song about South Africa and it's wonderful promise and for that Matt Krone, Florent Dumeau and I are happy and grateful to have experienced the long journey together," Krajewski said.

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