Lovers of good food and collectors of good wines, after working in Cape Town for 20 years, Neville Dorrington and family decided it was time to move to the countryside and grow and make their own wine. The search began. It was decided to buy an undeveloped farm. "Lets do it all from scratch"
We fell in love with the little Tulbagh valley. The town was named after Rijk Tulbagh, govenor of the Cape from 1751 to 1771. Steeped in history, the beautiful Church Street has 32 national monuments and the valley is surrounded by the majestic Winterhoek, Saronsberg and Witzenberg mountains, often snow-capped in winter.
The farm was found. 137 hectares of virgin soils never cultivated. Slopes facing north, south, east and west. The analysis of the vertical shale soils revealed potential for low yielding high quality grapes. The offer to purchase was accepted.
Development of the farm began in May, 1996. We decided to plant many different cultivars - Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet, Merlot, Shiraz and Pinotage - and learn what would do best on our farm. In july 1997, 14 hectares of vines were planted. The following year a further 12 hectares were planted. The cellar was completed in 1999 and our first wine released was a 2000 vintage. Many awards were received.
After 12 years of learning about our complete 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 were pulled out and replaced. A difficult but great decision for the future of Rijk's as evident in our wines.