High on the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain, 50 km from Cape Town, lies the family-owned Delheim estate. Here the Sperling family has been making wines of character for many decades. Visitors to our beautiful farm will be greeted by breath taking views and welcomed by a true sense of family hospitality!
We invite guests to visit us all year round to experience our farm with its majestic surroundings, the superb wines we produce and the wonderful food we serve in our restaurant.
Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the many mountain bike and trail-running routes, while regular features on our calendar like the summer gourmet picnics, Jazz and Cheese Fondues in winter and the annual harvest festival remain firm favourites for an enjoyable and fun-filled family day out.
We produce a range of award-winning wines, led by the majestic Grand Reserve, which since its release in 1981 has been honoured with much prestigious recognition. Our ever-popular Pinotage Rosé (the 1st of its kind to be produced in South Africa in 1976) and the quirky Spatzendreck dessert wine are just some of the other favourites which have helped to turn Delheim into a household name. Our Story:
Delheim is owned by the Sperling family. Patriarch and South African wine industry legend, Michael Hans “Spatz” Sperling, and his wife Vera are retired but still reside on the farm.
Eldest son Victor Sperling and eldest daughter Nora Sperling-Thiel serve as Directors of the company and live on the farm with their families. The other two children, Maria and Nicholas, live in Europe.
The Simonsberg is named after the first Governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel, after which Stellenbosch is also named. In 1699, he granted the freehold of this piece of land to Lourenz Kamfer, a German. It was originally named De Driesprong.
The farm had various owners until Mr Hans Otto Hoheisen bought it in 1938 as a retirement home for himself and his wife Deli. DELHEIM comes from the German for “Deli’s home”.
Initially they only planted citrus trees, which are not really suited to Delheim because of the wind conditions – they sustained much wind damage. German friends suggested that they grow vineyards and two years later Hans Otto planted the first grape vines.
The concrete tanks in the cellar were completed in 1944 by Italian prisoners-of-war.
During one of Deli’s visits to friends and family in Germany, she mentioned to her nephew that they needed help on their wine farm in South Africa. This was just after the Second World War and he couldn’t see any future in Germany, so he decided to join them.
This was Michael “Spatz” Sperling (Sperling is the German word for “sparrow” and Spatz means “baby sparrow”), who arrived in 1951 on the ship Winchester Castle with nothing more than £10 in his pocket.
He soon took a keen interest in the few vineyards Hans Otto had planted. He knew nothing about winemaking and there were no books or winemaking schools in South Africa at that time, so he taught himself through a process of trial and error and with some help from neighbours and visiting German winemakers.
Spatz began winning numerous awards and having established himself as a serious winemaker, he embarked on a series of pioneering initiatives in the South African wine industry in the decades that followed, for example creating the first “wine route” in 1971. The Stellenbosch Wine Route then had only three members and today it boasts more than 200: there are also 18 other wine routes in South Africa.
In 1971, the company bought another property up the road from Delheim. With its warmer, drier climate and sandier soils it is better suited to growing super reds. This property is called Delvera in honor of Spatz’s wife, Vera. The vineyards there are called Vera Cruz – Cruz meaning “cross”, allegedly for the cross Vera has had to bear during her long marriage to Spatz!
We believe that we are the custodians of this land, and that we must tread lightly in order to minimise the impact we have on it.
We strive to gain a sense of timelessness (allow our vineyards to grow old) and tell stories in our wines, but if we want to achieve that, we need one eye on the future. In everything we do, we seek longevity and sustainability.
A correct and well-timed pragmatic approach, coupled with a willingness to endure in order to create balance and harmony in our vineyards.
We need to farm humbly and remain conscious of our role in the terroir in order for our wines to gain a sense of place.
As wine farmers in a modern era we always strive to improve regarding quality and to embrace the technologies available to achieve this:
Detailed soil mapping on 50m2 grid enables us to identify the needs of the plants. It also ensures that we recognize the variation in the vineyard and react accordingly. Soil is where everything starts, thus if the foundation is lacking, we are off to a bad start!
Using elevation models (slopes) to demarcated vineyards to ensure the optimal utilisation of potential terroir pockets.
Vigour mapping to correct both short and long term management practices. Here we identified “kraaltjies”/heuweltjies” – ancient termite mounds that infer higher vigour to the vines. These spots will be planted to a rootstock with lower vigour, in order to achieve greater balance in the vineyard.
Grapevine water status is monitored by using a pressure chamber to monitor the leaf water potential. By using this technique, we ensure correct plant water stress, while ensuring that we do not waste water – one of our most precious resources.
At Delheim we produce a range of award-winning wines, led by the majestic Grand Reserve, which since its release in 1981, has been honoured with much prestigious recognition. Our ever-popular Pinotage Rosé (the 1st of its kind to be produced in South Africa in 1976) and the quirky Spatzendreck dessert wine are just some of the favourites which have helped to turn Delheim into a household name.
We also produce a range of tailored-made wines for one of South Africa’s largest retailers, Woolworths:
• Woolworths Pinotage / Shiraz Rosé
• Woolworths Oakleaf Merlot
• Woolworths Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot
• Past and current winemakers:
• 1958 – 1969 Spatz Sperling
• 1970 – 1975 Joseph Kramer
• 1976 – 1979 Otto Helmer
• 1980 – 1987 Kevin Arnold
• 1988 – 2000 Philip Costandius
• 2001 – 2002 Conrad Vlok
• 2003 – 2011 Brenda van Niekerk
• 2012 – 2015 Reg Holder
• 2015 – Altus Treurnicht (Current)
Our Pinotage Rosé was one of the first wines in South Africa to sport the world’s first sustainability seal as a guarantee of eco-friendly production.
Effective from 2010, the voluntary system is available to those wineries to have passed the accreditation of the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) set of sustainable principles, at farm, winery and bottling levels. IPW covers a range of issues such as integrated pest management, the health of workers, the conservation of biodiversity and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
The South Africa wine industry has launched the world’s first sustainability seal as a guarantee of eco-friendly production. Issued by the Wine and Spirit Board, the seal, intended for bottled wines only, is backed by a sophisticated tracking system in which bottle contents can be traced back to source at every stage of the supply chain to confirm the integrity of their production.
Every seal carries a unique number, through which the wine’s provenance can be tracked from vine to bottle.
The seal is the result of collaboration between the Wine & Spirits Board, IPW, as well as the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative (BWI) and Wines of South Africa (WOSA) with the generic marketing body responsible for the worldwide launch of the concept as part of its Brand South Africa campaign.
At Delheim we are extremely proud of our atmospheric “Downstairs” cellardoor, with its famous cobwebbed window. Very little has changed here over the years since it became the birthplace of the Stellenbosch Wine Route in 1971. The patriarch of the Sperling family, Michael “Spatz” Sperling, was one of the three founder members of this wine route, from which all the other wine routes in the country originated. It is therefore imperative that we continue to provide guests with a truly unique South African hospitality experience, and to make them feel at home, in order to share our belief that a visit to Delheim really is “worth the journey”.
Upon arrival, visitors to our cellardoor will be greeted by a glass of ice cold, pure farm spring water during the hot summer months, and a glass of steaming hot glühwein in the cold winter months! The wine and cupcake pairing will tantalise your taste buds and adds a whole new dimension to pairing food with wine.
The Delheim Platter (serves 2): 3 local cheeses, Chrisna’s olives, green fig & mascarpone cheese, seasonal fruit, dolmades & pickled pumpkin served with a
bread & cracker basket R220 ( Add 2 cured meats for an extra R60 )