Darling is situated directly north of Cape Town, just inland from the west coast, where the vineyards benefit from cooling ocean breezes.
This is not an easy place to establish vines – sometimes the onshore winds can be fierce – but it is one of the Cape's popular cooler regions, notably for sauvignon blanc but increasingly for Rhône and other varieties; and it was awarded Wine of Origin status in 2003.
It was here that Darling Cellars was founded in 1996 with the aim of making wines that reflect their region and grape variety. Some 20 shareholders farm around 1,300 hectares of land farmed sustainably, nearly all of it without irrigation.
Most of their 19 varieties of vines are bush trained rather than trellised and yields are very low, with some grown on the slopes of the Darling Hills, just three kilometres from the Atlantic, and some on the warmer, flatter hinterland.
The winery has seen considerable investment in the vineyards and winery with a good deal of replanting, a new grape-offloading system, new presses, a modern bottling line and chai for barrel storage.