Delheim Wines: 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.

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”. 

Learn more about Hans Hoheisen

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!


1 Jan 1699


High up on the south-western slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain, named after Governor Simon van der Stel, one finds the land known as De Driesprong.

It was originally home to a Dutch East India Company servant, whose job it was to fire a cannon from the peak directly above the property, appropriately named Kanonkop.

This cannon was the third in a relay from Cape Town, via Koeberg, signalling the arrival of any foreign vessels in Table Bay. The Free Burghers of the surrounding areas would then hurry to Cape Town and trade with the visitors or defend the town against attack.

It is at this property that the Sperling and Hoheisen families have established the strong foundations, known to people worldwide as Delheim.

1 Jan 1699
28 Feb 1699 - 1 Jan 1939
1 Jan 1939 - 1 Jan 1951
19 April 1951 - 1 Jan 1957
1 Jan 1957 - 1 Jan 1971
1 April 1971 - 1 Jan 1980

Delheim Wine Estate