Rijk’s Wine Estate
Lover of good food and collector of good wines, Neville Dorrington had been working in Cape Town for more than 20 years. In 1996, Neville and his family decided to move to the countryside to grow and produce their own wine. They fell in love with the Tulbagh valley and came across 137 hectares of virgin soils that were never cultivated. The slopes faced north, south, east and west and the analysis of the vertical shale soils revealed the potential for low yielding, high-quality grapes. The offer to purchase was accepted and the Rijk’s farm was found.
14 hectares of vines were planted and a further 12 hectares the following year. They planted many different cultivars – Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Shiraz and Pinotage to see what best suited their climate.
Their new cellar was designed by legendary winemaker Gunter Brozel, who had retired from Nederburg after 33 years and opened on time.
First grapes harvested and received at their cellar.
Pierre Wahl joined Rijk’s as winemaker. Their first export order was shipped to Sweden.
their first of many Gold and Double Gold awards received for Chenin Blanc, Pinotage and Shiraz. Rijk’s was extremely well received and bought by wine enthusiasts from around the world.
After 12 years, they’d learned about their natural environment and the characteristic taste and flavours of the wines they produced. They decided to concentrate on the cultivars best suited to their farm and soil – Chenin Blanc, Pinotage and Shiraz. All other cultivars, including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, were pulled out and replaced. This was a difficult but valuable decision for the future of Rijk’s, evident in the specialised wines that they produce today.
This year marked the Maiden vintage of the Rijk’s Pinotage Syrah Cape Blend.
Having been born on the farm in the same year that Rijk’s Estate started planting vineyards, it’s no surprise that Neville’s son, Tiger showed a keen interest in nature and agriculture from an early age. Since the times he helped with harvesting the vineyards from a quad bike at 5 years old, Tiger knew that he would take over the family business one day. In 2016, Tiger officially joined the farm and is now in a full-time capacity as head of Sales and Marketing.
The Dorrington family has always shared a dream of becoming a truly South African Estate. It is with this in mind that they decided to buy back and upgrade the Rijk’s Hotel. The Estate now offers luxury wineland accommodation where Rijks wine lovers from across the globe can meet the family and experience Tulbagh farm life.
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