Rijks is situated 120km north east of Cape Town and 90km east of the Atlantic coast in a Mediterranean climate area. 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. Cold winters with rain and snow, and very dry summers with fresh south easterly winds keep our vineyards healthy and disease free. Because of the mountains we have cool summer nights.
1751 to 1771
Govenor of the Cape, Rijk Tulbagh who our town was named after. And the Rijks brand in his honour.
Devastating earthquake destroys the town of Tulbagh.
Lovers of good food and collectors of good wines, after working in Cape Town for more than 20 years, Neville Dorrington and family decided it was time to move to the countryside and grow and produce their own wine. The farm was found. We fell in love with the Tulbagh valley. 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.
“Lets do it all from scratch”
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 opened on time. Designed by legendary winemaker Gunter Brozel, who had retired from Nederburg after 33 years.
First grapes harvested and received at our cellar.
Pierre Wahl joined Rijks as winemaker. Our first export order was shipped to Sweden.
Our first of many Gold and Double Gold awards received for Chenin Blanc, Pinotage and Shiraz. Rijks was extremely well received and bought by wine enthusiasts from around the world.
After 12 years of learning about our 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 including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet, Cabernet Franc and Merlot were pulled out and replaced. A difficult but great decision for the future of Rijk’s as evident in our specialized wines.
Maiden vintage of Rijks Pinotage Syrah Cape Blend.