Our History: The Durbanville Area

Wine has been made in the Durbanville area from the end of the 17th century but it wasn’t until the late 1990s when Durbanville Hills Wines was established. 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) area named Pampoenkraal that became a meeting place for early travellers, transport riders and local farmers. 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 of his trip, the first farmers had been in the region around the spring and the pan for over twenty 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 dependants. 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.

THE STORY OF OUR DURBANVILLE HILLS RANGE

The actual hills themselves are not referred to as Durbanville Hills but rather as the Tygerberg or “Leopard Mountain”. This name came about when the early Cape Settlers in the mid-1600s called the hills Gevlekte Luipaartsberg (Spotted Leopard Mountain) because they were reminded of leopard skin by the striped effect of the patchwork of the indigenous shrub covering the hills. This name later changed to Tygerberg, but since our range of entry level wines are shaped by this unique landscape, we chose to stick to the name, Durbanville Hills as it best reflects the magnificent diversity.

THE STORY OF OUR RHINOFIELDS RANGE

The Rhinofields range is named after the Renosterveld, a biome of endangered indigenous Cape vegetation growing in the area and so named because rhinoceroses (Afrikaans: “renosters”) were often encountered in this vegetation. Renosterveld forms part of the West Coast lowland fynbos biome, identified as one of South Africa’s top three priority biomes by the World Wildlife Fund. As this is fast disappearing, the winery actively contributes to its preservation. Find out more about our efforts in conservation.