Two of Paarl’s historic farms sold to former FNB CEO, and SA Billionaire

Paarl historical farms, Backsberg and Plaisir de Merle were recently sold.

Plaisir de Merle

Distell owners of historic farm Plaisir de Merle sold the farm to the Former FNB CEO, Michael Jordaan.  The Jordaan family already runs Bartinney Wine Estate in the neighbouring Banhoek Valley.

Their new property is situated at the foot of the Simonsberg Mountain between Paarl and Franschhoek, originally granted to Huguenot Charles Marais in 1693.      

The Simonsberg-Paarl-based property has been owned by Distell for the past 45 years, and the new owners will take ownership on 1 April 2021.

According to the new owners, the Jordaan family, Plaisir de Merle wine estate has so much to offer and one of their immediate plans, is to bring people back to the wine estate to enjoy the magnificent setting of the 1688 estate, the wines and the splendour of the Drakenstein landscape.

“Our purchase of Plaisir de Merle, an iconic heritage asset, reaffirms our commitment to South Africa and the wine industry in particular. We are grateful to Distell for its careful custodianship of many years and the confidence in us, as they hand over the baton, to renew, revitalise yet carry on with the tradition and excellence synonymous with Plaisir,” said Rose Jordaan.

“We value all the people that have been part and continue to be part of the farm and are the living memory of its history. As a family, we understand the importance of our natural heritage and the living environment, and will do all we can to enhance and protect it as we endeavour to create world class wines in a truly magnificent South African setting,” she said.


Simon Back, CEO and the fourth generation of his family to be involved in the running of Backsberg in Paarl, confirms that the main farm has been sold.

Official statement as follows:

“At Backsberg, we have a portfolio of farms and interests. We believe that for a family wine business to succeed over the long term, that it needs to evolve in keeping with a change in generations, roles, ambitions and skills. In gearing for the future, Backsberg has sold its main farm. The Backsberg wine business and brand is very important to us and we are excited to re-envision the business model in line with this change. Covid has taught us all the necessity of rethinking and reimagining, and we are using the opportunity to do just that. We remain committed to our mission of making fine wines an everyday pleasure.”

According to the below twitter handle, the farm was sold to media tycoon, Koos Bekker, owner of Babylonstoren.  No official announcement has been made by Backsberg owners.


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