Rijk's Private Cellar

After 20 years working in Cape Town Neville Dorrington and his family upped sticks and bought a large plot of undeveloped land out in the Tulbagh Valley.

It had been their intention to buy a wine farm that was already up and running, but when they saw the virgin land that has since become their home they fell in love with it. Work began on the ground in 1996 and in 1997 they planted their first vines.

Their debut vintage was 2000 and they have created a winery, cellars and a luxury hotel on the site.

The estate is 120 kilometres north-east of Cape Town, surrounded by the Winterhoek and Witzenberg mountains and close to the Klein Berg River as it wends its way across the valley floor. The 96 hectares provide slopes with many aspects, together with excellent drainage and root penetration from the schistous soils.

Vines now cover 26 hectares, and the focus now, after some experimentation with other varieties is on chenin blanc, pinotage and shiraz. Head winemaker is Pierre Wahl, who has previously worked with Niel Joubert and Moreson, while Neville's daughter Claire takes care of the commercial side and wife Sonja runs the hotel.