The Old Guard has retained power of the KWV board, and despite rumblings by many wine farmers and shareholders over the past few months the majority of the incumbent directors have been returned to office.

This has come as a severe blow to the "Group of Five", who in spite of having a guaranteed 75 million vote stake, had none of the five candidates they chose voted onto the board.

Pundits were stunned by the announcement. There was strong support for the first and only woman, Fran du Plessis, to be nominated but even she was not one of the 10 to make the grade.

A total of 52% of all shareholders, many of them proxy votes, voted at yesterday’s KWV Group AGM in Paarl. An overwhelming 96.5% said "yes" to the joint proposal by the board and the Group of Five to the structuring of a share component of 10% and R40m over five years to a new co-operative to be known as Wijngaard, to provide some services to the primary producer.

Chairman, Lourens Jonker, and the majority of his board were re-elected, together with a young Robertson wine marketer, Philip Retief of Van Loveren and the only person of colour on the new board, businessman and former Ambassador to Washington, Franklin Sonn.

Pug Roux, the Group of Five’s candidate, said it was obvious from the high voting percentage there was somebody with a vested interest who put in a lot of hard work behind the scenes to swing the proxy vote.

The share price of KWV Group, a non-listed company, has come down to 140c a share after reaching a peak of 175c a share at the end of last month. There are about 30 000 shares on offer at 160c a share and an unconfirmed amount of 455 000 shares at 200c a share.