I have a soft spot for The Durbanville Hills Winery. My parents farmed wine grapes not far from there and I knew, as a child, the vineyards from which the grapes now come for the wines made in the Winery. Off course things are very different now, vineyards planted with the advice of a viticulturist and carefully tended in this cool climate little valley in the Durbanville Wine Appellation.
The unique location of Durbanville Hills’ cellar a mere 20 minutes from Cape Town’s city centre, offers not only a spectacular view of Table Mountain and Table Bay, but also an extraordinary terroir that stabilises temperatures and eliminates extremes of heat and cold. Although the Durbanville area is renowned for its Sauvignon Blanc that excels under the cool conditions where it is grown mostly on the cool south facing slopes, the range of red wines also benefit from the warmer valley outskirts and opposing northern slopes.
In the late 1990s seven grape farmers, producers of high quality wine grapes. and Distell, agreed to build a cellar as part of a joint venture to make their own wine. Since the first vintage in 1999, there are now nine member farms, all located near the cellar. The member farms are Klein Roosboom (the site of the fresh-water spring that prompted the first farmers to settle in the area), Ongegund, Hillcrest, Maastricht, Morgenster, Bloemendal and Hooggelegen. Another two producers from the farms Welbeloond and De Grendel recently joined the cellar. Such is the heritage of the region that the youngest of these farms, Klein Roosboom, was established in 1714 and the oldest, a mere three years after those established in the Constantia area in 1685.
The Winery offers much for the visitor. Firstly, the spectacular view. The Winery is on a promontory which overlooks Table Bay, with Table Mountain and Robben Island in full view. And of course, the Atlantic Ocean with its cold Benguela Current which sweeps up the west coast from the deep cold southern seas. The breezes off the ocean create a unique microclimate, cooling the vineyards and ameliorating the summer heat. The result is that the grapes hang longer on the vines to ripen, thus creating greater flavour in the final wine.
There is ample parking, and as you enter the building you are met with the Tasting and Sales Room, where you can taste the Durbanville Hills Wine Ranges ad buy a case or two to take home. You can pair the wines with biltong or chocolate to enhance your experience. Click HERE to read about the different tasting options. Click HERE to read about the Durbanville Hills Wines. Martin Moore, the founding Cellarmaster heads up a great team of winemakers with Wilhelm Coetzee responsible for the Red Wines and Kobus Gerber for the white.
One of the fun offerings is The Table Mountain Safari. Table Mountain abounds with ancient history and is rich in folklore from the earliest inhabitants who once roamed the wilds of the Cape, living off the abundance of the land. It is here that you can enjoy a unique wine tasting experience. Travel along scenic tracks hitherto closed to the public, where every corner reveals views that showcase the natural splendour that is Cape Town. The city bustles below and the vast Atlantic Ocean, surrounding Robben Island in the distance, washes up on endless white beaches and melds into pale blue skies. The trail leads into a beautiful forest of ancient oak and cork trees that eventually expose steep mountain cliffs of sandstone dating back millions of years. At the highest point of the mountain safari, Table Bay, False Bay, the Durbanville Hills and the dramatic Hottentots Holland mountain range are all clearly visible from this vantage point. The superlative Durbanville Hills Wines are accompanied by tasty nibbles.
The jewel in the crown is the Durbanville Hills Winery Restaurant known as Tangram. Tangram is the name for a red and a white flagship wine made here. Awarded with no less than three awards at the annual Haute Grandeur Global Restaurant Awards as Best South African Cuisine on a Global Level, Best Restaurant Manager in South Africa and Best Gourmet Cuisine in Africa, the restaurant is managed by Dirk Steyn and the kitchen is headed up by the talented Tamzyn Ehlers.
Tamzyn Ehlers, Tangram’s Chef – CLICK HERE to read my interview with her
Do follow the Winery on Facebook and Twitter as they constantly have exciting happenings throughout the year.
Read more about Durbanville Hills Winery – CLICK HERE