Delheim's Story

Rooted in nature

Our Conservation Initiatives and Sustainable Practices

Delheim Wines stands as a testament to a legacy deeply rooted in nature, spanning over seven decades. The ethos of conservation and emphasising sustainable farming practices in wine making has always existed on Delheim.

 At the 375-hectare family-owned Delheim estate on the magnificent slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain, we actively conserve large areas of pristine mountain fynbos, including the rare Boland Granite Fynbos, along with 120 indigenous plant varieties and a yellowwood forest.

Our steadfast dedication to biodiversity conservation protects our abundant wildlife including 50 bird species, caracals, Cape fox and Cape leopard.  Our commitment extends to animal welfare-friendly practices that ensure the well-being of all creatures on our farm. Visitors can enjoy this natural splendour with birdwatching, Wine and Fynbos cupcake tastings, mushroom educational events and our Harvest Festival.

Our sustainable practices focus on regenerative nature-friendly viticulture, integrated environmental management, water and energy efficiency, and optimising biodiversity, as well as prioritising employee welfare and engaging our local community.

A founding member of the Greater Simonsberg Conservancy, Delheim is also a WWF Conservation Champion, recognised for our commitment to conservation and dedication to responsible production and farming practices. We are also proud recipients of the Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices Award in 2008, the Nedbank Green Award and the Best of Wine Tourism Conservation Pioneer Award in 2023.

Corlia-In-Vineyards

Family & Heritage

Delheim is owned by the Sperling family. The late Michael Hans “Spatz” Sperling, was the Patriarch and also a South African wine industry legend. His wife Vera still resides on the farm.

Eldest son Victor Sperling and eldest daughter Nora Thiel serve as Directors of the company and live on the farm with their families.

Short History

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!