Rijk’s Wine Estate & Hotel is situated in a little town called Tulbagh, 120km North East of Cape Town and 90km east of the Atlantic coast. Our story starts with a man with a dream and the courage to pursue this dream.
The valley was first discovered by European settlers in 1658 and land grants were made to 14 farming families in 1700. The town itself was developed in 1743 when the museum church was built.
1751 to 1771
During this period, Rijk Tulbagh was the Governor of the Cape. Not only was our town named after him, but also the Rijk’s brand in his honour.
Devastating earthquake destroys the town of Tulbagh.
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. 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 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.
Our new cellar was designed by legendary winemaker Gunter Brozel, who had retired from Nederburg after 33 years and opened on time.
First grapes were harvested and received at our cellar for processing.
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 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 one day he wanted to take over the family business. In 2016 Tiger officially joined the farm and has now fully taken over from Neville and is in charge of the farm.
The Dorrington family has always shared a dream of becoming a truly South African Estate. With this in mind, they decided to buy back and upgrade the Rijk’s Hotel. A unique, all natural eco pool was put in as well as room and decor upgrades. The Estate now offers luxury Winelands accommodation where Rijk’s wine lovers from across the globe can come and meet the family and experience Tulbagh farm life.
Daniél, our Farm manager joined the team in 2021 and Adriaan, our winemaker joined the team in 2022. Currently Rijk’s is run by an awesome team, with a vision aligned towards a sustainable future and constantly looking where improvements can be made in all aspects. Big things are in store for the years to come.