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This is Wine Business and as Michael Fridjhon puts it “there’s a great deal of difference between the wine business and the business of wine”

Lets be frank, Distell (partially controlled by the Ruperts) have spent a considerable amount of cash on getting the Durbanville Hills brand (shaped by the landscape) into the public domain and on restaurant wine lists. The name brings to mind the visually inspiring vine covered rolling hills of Durbanville with the iconic (now 7th wonder of the world) Table Mountain in the background. Marketing? Never… At least they have a lot to work with!

Lets start with the entry level range including all the expected big hitters (read: sellers) from the classic Durbanville Sauvignon (a concentrated crisp & tropical) to a Chardonnay (slightly boring), Merlot, Shiraz, Pinotage, Cab and a Cab/Shiraz blend (my fave) and the obligatory summer sipper, the Merlot Rose.

The social climbers and friends with deep pockets will be relieved to know that the private collection sport socially conscious and culturally savvy titles such as the Rhinolfields Range (endangered local flora championed on in the name of Shiraz, Pinotage, Chardonnay & Sauvignon Blanc) and Single Vineyards of Biesjes Craal (Sauvignon Blanc), Luipaardskraal (Merlot) and Caapmans (Cab/Merlot).

Every single bottle produced at Durbanville Hills boasts a sustainability seal and most have won numerable awards.

The overall dissection without over-intellectualizing would be: Big Money = Good Wine.  You know they have a top class cellar, beautifully located and they buy top notch grapes from surrounding farms, marketing the whole package well. So, its comforting to know the quality of the wine is consistent and above average.

The tasting area is a bit cold and impersonal…. was the average response after chatting with a number of people about their Durbanville Hills experience. The glassware used for tastings has also been downgraded to standard cheap tasting glasses, a big no-no in my book, especially at this price bracket.
The views, however, are pretty amazing and they have a biltong & wine pairing (R60) as well as a chocolate and wine pairing (R50) on offer.

The contemporary Eatery upstairs offers good specials (check out their Friday Tapas and vine special running till 27 April) and super views of the 7th wonder as well as cheese and charcuterie platters. Check out the rest of their menu.

Also, while you are in the area, why not visit a few others? Personally, we can recommend Ntida, Klein Roosboom, Altydgedacht, and De Vallei, to name a few. Be sure to also check out what the rest out the valley has to offer.

And…if your are looking for somewhere casual to lunch, read my review of Eat@altydgedacht, a charming and rustic spot close by!

Durbanville Hills’ details:
Tasting Times:
Monday to Friday:9am to 4pm
Saturday:10am to 3pm
Sunday:11am to 3pm
Public Holidays:10am to 3pm

Tasting Fees:
The tasting fee is R40 and allows you to taste all wines.

Cellar Tours:
Tour the cellar and learn about the technologyequipment and winemaking methods practiced at Durbanville Hills. Please remember, if you’re a big group, booking is essential.
Monday to Friday: 11:00 and 15:00

Contact details:
+27 (0)21 558 1300

From Cape Town, take the N1 (north in the direction of Paarl). Take exit 10, then exit 13, followed by exit 13A to get onto the N7, in the direction of Malmesbury.

Take the Plattekloof Road off-ramp at exit 17. At the top of the ramp, turn right onto the M14 and continue until you reach a round-about. Take the first turn left onto the M13. After about 3km, you will find Durbanville Hills on your right-hand side. Click to view map.

What others have to say:

Spit or Swallow
rating: 6.9

Wine Magazine: Do yourself a favour and make sure that this winery is one that you visit. Don’t be put off by an exterior that may appear rather imposing; it has some unique finds inside. Durbanville Hills enjoys a solid history along with some innovative new food-andwine- tasting experiences….

Sam Linsell from Drizzle and dip reviews the Eatery: The highlights on the food for me were the oxtail ravioli, the lamb shank and the salted chocolate truffle.  On the wine side, I loved the Rhinofileds and Biesjes Craal Sauvignon Blanc and the DH Bastion Shiraz.