Hillcrest Estate is a boutique winery, nestled in the Tygerberg Hills on the outskirts of Durbanville. Only a 30-minute drive from Cape Town, this unique estate offers visitors a host of activities, a casual style restaurant, delicious olives and award-winning wines.
It is the terroir of the farm’s vineyards, cooled by afternoon sea breezes from the Atlantic Ocean, which sets it apart as one of the prime growing grape regions of the Western Cape. Hillcrest’s well-drained slopes are made up from Oakleaf, Hutton and Clovelly soil types, contributing to distinctive fruit concentration, and resulting great wines. The vineyards are overlain and strewn with “Hornfels”, a metamorphic rock generated by the geological compression of sands millions of years ago, imparting a distinct minerality into the wines. The Flagship “Hornfels” Bordeaux Blend, is a beautiful blend of several Bordeaux cultivars.
Our vineyards are planted on Northwest facing slopes between 200 & 380 meters above sea level. Hillcrest’s undulating landscape provides a range of micro-climates which allows different grape varietals to thrive on our estate. Our Sauvignon Blanc vines which benefit from a cooler climate, are planted on the higher slopes. The cooler conditions extend the ripening period, enhancing the accumulation and concentration of fruit that balance out the crisp acidity which defines Sauvignon Blanc as a varietal.
Our five Bordeaux varietals are planted on the lower slopes, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot planted at the lowest points. These are late ripening varietals which require warmer conditions to ensure that the grapes are optimally ripe at harvest. Year-round vineyard management and green harvesting are employed to optimize sunlight penetration, and to attain uniform ripeness at harvest.
Hillcrest Estate was purchased in 1984 to accommodate the head office and workshop of Haw & Inglis, a Cape based Construction Company. The potential for growth of quality wine and olives was soon recognized, and the owners made the exciting decision to plant Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vines. The Durbanville Hills winery was established during that time as well, and so a close working relationship was forged.
In 2001 the owners or Hillcrest Estate were approached by Dr Graeme Read, nickname Curly, who with the dream of a micro-cellar in mind, persuaded the owners to start their own cellar to make wine using the estate’s grapes. They liked the idea, and soon a farm shed was converted into a rudimentary cellar. The following season 8 tons of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes were pressed & vinified making 2002 the maiden vintage for both Hillcrest and Graeme Read.
After shadowing Graeme for a few years Arno Smith has taken over the reigns as wine maker, and proudly harvested his first official crop in 2016.