The history of winemaking at Delheim dates back to 1938 when German emigré Hans Otto Hohsenhein moved to South Africa and, having established himself as an architect in Cape Town, bought a piece of unproductive scrub land high up in the foothills of the Simonsberg Mountains. The only thing that had gained a foothold on the land previously had been a few fruit trees but Herr Hohsenhein cleared the most viable land close to his homestead and planted pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, chenin blanc and riesling. The name Delheim was chosen in honour of his wife Deli because Delheim means 'Deli's Home'.
It was a difficult beginning because high-quality reds were hard to produce on such land and dry/off-dry white wines were difficult to sell in a South Africa that at the time consumed lots of brandy and fortified wines. Luckily, a new and vital piece of the jigsaw was put in place when the Hohsenheins' 19 year-old nephew Spatz Sperling arrived from Germany in 1951. He provided a fresh impetus and new ideas, and in 1957 the Hohsenheins handed control over to Spatz on a profit-sharing basis. The estate never looked back, expanding into areas that allowed them to produce premium red wines as well as their excellent whites.
Spatz Sperling is one of the best-known figures in the South African wine industry, and was one of the pioneers of the Stellenbosch Wine Route that has done so much to promote the region and its wines. Today the vineyards under the control of the estate cover 170 hectares on a wide variety of terroirs and are now directed by Victor and Nora Sperling, Spatz's son and daughter-in-law. Spatz himself is now enjoying a well-earned retirement, surrounded by his own family and the community of estate workers and their families whom Delheim supports with schools, healthcare, transport and housing.