RIJKS CELLAR

In 1996 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 and grow and produce their own wine. We 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 Rijks farm was found.

 

One year later 14 Hectares of vines were planted, and the following year a further 12 hectares. We decided to plant many different cultivars – Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Shiraz and Pinotage to see what best suited our climate. In 1999 the new cellar was designed by legendary winemaker Gunter Brozel, who had retired from Nederburg after 33 years and opened on time.  First grapes harvested in 2000 and received at our cellar.  Pierre Wahl joined Rijk’s in 2002 as winemaker and the first export order was shipped to Sweden.

 

After 12 years we had learnt about our natural environment and the characteristic taste and flavours of the wines we produced. We decided to concentrate on the cultivars best suited to our 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 we produce today.

Having been born on the farm in the same year that Rijk´s Estate started planing vineyards, it´s no surprise that Neville´s son, Tiger has shown a keen interest in nature and agriculture from an early age. Since harvesting the vineyards from a quad bike at 5 years, Tiger knew that he one day wanted to take over the family business. In 2016 Tiger officially joined the farm and is now full-time as head of Sales and Marketing. In 2022 Winemaker Adriaan Jacobs joined the Rijk´s family.