Background


THE STORY OF WELLINGTONS "RHEBOKSKLOOF FARM"

Documents on hand prove that in 1698 land has been given by Jan van Riebeck to a Mr Potgieter who named it "Reebokkenkloof" in the outskirts of Wellington. Later in 1825 the Cillie family appear to be the new owner of todays "Rhebokskloof". The Manor House dates back to 1796. Some hundreds of hectares of land can claim to have covered the slopes on the foot of "Hawekwa Mountains" including the valley of the "Spruitrivier", being one of the oldest farms in the Wellington area.

The Cillie family ran this picturesque spot for seven generations leaving historical footprints. In 1853, a wine cellar of remarkable size and architecture for those days has been erected. Forty years later, in 1893, one of the familys member, Piet (California) Cillie who returned from a journey to America, planted the first olive orchard in South Africa on this particular farm. Today hundreds of trees are still to be found in the valley.

Piet "California" stands as a pioneer introducing olives to South Africa. Due to economic reasons, the Cillies were forced to sell off some portions of their land. Todays Stellenbosch Farmers Winery (SFW) is farming under ERNITA a large scale "Stokkie-Kwekery" on this land and still hundreds of Piet "Californias" olive trees are bearing fruit every year.

In 1991, Mrs Reni Hildenbrand, originally from Germany, who lived many years in Johannesburg, became the new owner of the still 40 hectares original "Rhebokskloof Farm". Being an Interior Architect, renovations on the Manor House and some of the other buildings were a challenge for a professional in this field. The potential of the existing buildings on the farm offered to open a Guest House "with a difference", which Reni since runs successfully.


"KLEIN RHEBOKSKLOOF GUEST & COUNTRY HOUSE"

Many guests from all over the world return to enjoy their weeks longing holidays in this unique environment. Vineyards, orchards, typical farm animals, picturesque views, old oak trees offering shade to relax and the entertainment by Reni is among the attractions very much appreciated by her guests.

New vineyards and olive orchards have been planted in recent years. A total of 14 hectares under vines beside 1700 olive trees became the backbone of this enterprise.

Becoming the first female farmer in the Wellington area meant to prove being professional in every field. For a woman, not so easily accepted in this male dominated farm-world, it appeared as another challenge to maintain its position. As a member of BOVLEI WINERY, her grapes are very much appreciated. Reni has been awarded for best quality grapes of all BOVLEI-Members in 97 and again in 98.

Mrs Hildenbrand put many efforts into the renovation of the nearly 150 year old wine cellar to re-establish its traditional architecture but to install a modern functional working environment at the same time. Reni made her own wine for the first time in 1999, she released her maiden CHENIN BLANC and CHARDONNAY, one wooded and another unwooded only in November 99 under the label "HILDENBRAND ESTATE". The promising CABERNET SAUVIGNON 99 is still maturing in French Oak Barriques and might be available in December 2000.

When HILDENBRAND ESTATE WINE participated in March/April on the VINITALY 2000, one of the biggest wine shows in the world, her CHARDONNAY UNWOODED 1999 has been awarded with ****GRAN MENZIONE**** by the fairs competition between more than 2000 entries from 26 countries. Reni presented her wines personally in Italy and was overwhelmed by the success that has exceeded all expectations.

Reni Hildenbrand is looking forward to the first harvest of her recently planted vineyards of SEMILLON and SHIRAZ in 2001.

Being fascinated by traditional processing methods for olives, Reni travelled to Italys Tuscany focusing the secrets of top quality olive produce. Since 93, her table olives, plain, with herbs or even with garlic, found a widespread appreciation. After Reni discovered the right small scale oil processing equipment in Tuscany she imported it from there. In 98 the first release of olive oil exceeded expectations by far. EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL requires to contain less than 1% of acidity. The laboratorys certificate proves 0.26% for the 1999 and 2000 harvest.

To compare the different styles of winemaking, Reni Hildenbrand travelled intensively to wineries in Italys Tuscany, in Germanys Wuerttemberg and Pfalz, in France Alsace, in Austrias Wachau and several wine areas in West Australia.

Hildenbrand Estate Wine
+27 21 873-4115