CAPE TOWN - A place where city culture and viticulture connect is how Khanya Mashalaba, brand execution manager at Durbanville Hills, describes the winery located 20 minutes away from the Cape Town city centre.
Standing proudly against the Tygerberg Hills with spectacular views of Table Mountain, Table Bay and Robben Island, Durbanville Hills is known for its award-winning wines, specifically the Sauvignon Blanc, and restaurant – which was recently awarded the title of South Africa’s “Best Restaurant” in Restaurant Week’s Fifth Anniversary edition.
Wine has been made in the area from the 17th century but it was not until the late 1990s when Durbanville Hills Wines was established.
Mashalaba explains that the winery was designed with only one objective in mind: “To make top-quality wine from top-quality grapes. Seven grape farmers and Distell agreed to build a cellar as part of a joint venture to make their own wine and today there are nine member producers.”
Durbanville began as an “outspan” (resting place) that became a meeting place for early travellers, transport riders and local farmers. Legend has it that in 1685, one of the farms in the area, Roosboom, so impressed Governor of the Cape Simon van der Stel that he noted it for posterity.
At the time, the first farmers had been in the region around the spring and the pan for more than 20 years. The spring became a popular resting place during the early 18th century. Travellers to and from the coast would stop here to replenish water and food supplies, creating a demand for fresh meat and a market for cattle farmers. Soon cattle farming was supplemented with wheat production.
Not long after, the first vineyards were planted and within a decade most farmers were producing enough wine for themselves and their dependents. As early as 1702 the first surplus of wine was recorded among the producers and could very well have resulted in the first sales of wine from the region.
This small village developed over time and was named Durbanville in 1886.
Durbanville Hills is proud to be a winery that makes great wines from a great place but also rooted in social responsibility. “We believe in giving back, and by working together with the community, aim to improve the quality of life of employees and their families. We were named winner of the Ethical Award category in the 2011 The Drinks Business Awards,” says Mashalaba.
Among the winery’s long-term goals is “to expand our growth in South Africa and international markets”. Mashalaba says in five years’ time, they see Durbanville Hills as a national brand that owns wine of origin Cape Town.
In October 2016, Durbanville Hills expanded its range to now include a vibrant Sauvignon Blanc sparkling wine. The sparkling wine was a great success with consumers and was named one of the Top Sparkling Wines at the international wine challenge – Battle of the Bubbles – hosted by Michelin star chef and wine explorer, Roger Jones.
Of the 37 wines entered, Durbanville Hills Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc was awarded third place in the challenge, narrowly edged out by a French Champagne and a South African Method Cap Classique.
In September 2017, Durbanville Hills launched its premium wine range, The Tangram, which was fully allocated to distributors before its official launch date.
With harvest season being the next big thing after the festive season among wine lovers, to celebrate the 2018 harvest Durbanville Hills will be hosting their annual harvest cellar tour from February 21, to March 14.
Durbanville Hills Wine Ambassador, Simone Koen, says guests will have the chance to see exactly how the Durbanville Hills range is produced – from vine to table. “Our expert wine ambassadors will take guests on an intimate tour of the cellar where they will have the chance to smell and taste the wines at various stages of the winemaking process,” Koen says.
- BUSINESS REPORT