A true pioneer, Giulio Bertrand knew no limits. His determination saw him constantly striving for – and achieving- the absolute best, whatever he set his mind to.
A citizen of the world, Giulio was born in Biella, an important wool processing and textile centre in North West Piedmont in Italy. He owned textile factories in South Africa and the United States as well as in Piedmont and Tuscany in Italy.
From 1975 Bertrand started coming to South Africa four times a year to oversee his two factories in the Eastern Cape. He soon fell in love with South Africa and its people. In 1979 his passion for nature and conservation led him to buy a game farm bordering on the Kruger Park. With these South African connections he decided after his retirement to spend two months each year in the Western Cape to escape the Italian winter.
In 1992 he bought Morgenster, one of the jewels of the Cape. His first step was to restore the manor house, built in 1786, with the guidance of Cape Town-based architect Revel Fox. Then he turned his attention to the hill in his back yard which reminded him strongly of his native Piedmont. With a lifelong philosophy of producing only the best Bertrand sought advice from experts who suggested that Morgenster’s terroir was perfectly suited to red wine grape varieties and olives.
While it is part of Italian culture to produce fine wines and olives together the concept was an innovation in South Africa at the time. Bertrand built a long-term partnership with the Olive Oil Research Institute of Italy from which he imports the world’s most up to date olive tree cultivars and production technology.
In August 2012 Giulio Bertrand was honoured by the SA Olive Association with a Life Time Achiever trophy for his contribution to the local olive oil industry.
Giulio passed away in 2018, and his two daughters, Federica and Alessandra, are carrying his dream forward.