Few places on earth offer such a spectacular outlook. Nestled atop Tygerberg Hill, surveying its surrounds with unparalleled 270 degrees panoramics, De Grendel showcases Table Mountain, the city of Cape Town and the seaboard all in one landscape. Just 20 minutes from the city, this dramatic expanse of land offers perspective and accessibility. De Grendel means “the latch” in Dutch – this farm was historically the gateway on the route to the inland settlements of Durbanville and Stellenbosch which had to be opened to traverse the Tygerberg.
A Distinctive Position
Perfectly situated on high, sea-facing slopes, it is the only vineyard in the country that is 350m above sea level and only 7 km from the sea. This elevated position is not only majestic, but also forms an integral part of the micro-climate that shapes our elegant wines. Our vines benefit from the western-facing aspect and the close moderating effects of the ocean – advantages that are the product of the site. In our viticulture and wine-making, our goal is the expression of the character of this distinctive position.
Like so many memorable stories about the origin of great wines and farms, the Graaff family tell a historical tale steeped in heritage.
The farm has been in the Graaff family for three generations. Baronet, Sir David Graaff, retired politician and leading wine farmer, continues the legacy left by his father and grandfather before him. The historic De Grendel farm remains the heart and soul of the family, assisted by members of staff whose roots on the property go back five generations. Sir David has built a reputation for upliftment in the community, supporting farm labourers and their families and encouraging education for their children.
The Wine Makers
Charles Hopkins, Cellar Master
Charles Hopkins is the inaugural winemaker and one of South Africa’s most highly regarded winemakers both in the country and abroad. He is also a member of the 36-member Cape Winemakers Guild. His list of successes and awards includes numerous double golds at the Veritas Awards. He studied Cellar Technology at Elsenburg Agricultural College and has worked in California, his beloved Bordeaux, and a number of well-known South African farms.
Elzette du Preez, Winemaker
Elzette du Preez spent seven years at an established South African wine estate working in marketing as well as the cellar. She then formally qualified as a winemaker from Elsenburg Agricultural College, Stellenbosch. In 2005 she received the Dux Student award for Cellar Technology as well as the Elsenburg Dux Diploma. She worked a harvest season in California, toured the major French wine regions, as well as Marlborough, New Zealand, focusing specifically on Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.
De Grendel is proudly carbon negative. An assessment of greenhouse gasses emitted and absorbed through operations on the De Grendel wine and dairy estate established that the Durbanville farm is a net carbon sink, meaning that the farm releases less carbon into the air than it absorbs through growth of vegetation on the farm. The report included emissions from the winery, vineyards, dairy, the church on the farm and farm houses as well as emissions generated outside of the farm boundary, for example, emissions from the transport of deliveries to and from the farm, sea freight, as well as staff flights.
A terraced indigenous garden cascades towards the dam. Using water-wise principles, a series of agricultural drains capture storm water through the wet season and send it down to the dam where it is circulated. Plant wise we took our lead from the fynbos found on the Tygerberg, using Buchu plants, Restios (Cape reeds), Proteas and Pincushions. Wild grape covers the pergola leading to the front entrance of the cellar complex.
Sensitivity to our environment
Looking after the natural environment, the farm is part of a larger fynbos conservation area, caring for the endemic but highly endangered “renosterveld”. Our social environment is being protected by employer-employee partnerships in winemaking and viticulture. In all we pursue, we aim for excellence, now and in the future.