The cool and temperate West Coast climate lends itself to a variety of different micro- and meso-climates which, along with the different soil types, lead to unique grapes which we guide into even more unique wines. With approximately 95% of all our vineyards being unirrigated (dry land) and roughly the same percentage being bush vines (i.e. not trellised), this is as close as one can get to what nature intended for grapes to be. These varying factors result in wines that are true to the terroir from which they come and are true to the identity which we have crafted over time for our wines. Investment continues in the winery and cellar with some of the most modern and up to date winemaking equipment in our industry today. A modern bottling line, new presses, a barrel maturation cellar, a new grape off-loading system and continuing replanting of vineyards, to include noble cultivars, all contribute to our advances in contemporary winemaking.
Old Bush Vine Range
Darling Cellars Old Bush Vine comes from specific old bush vines which are selected for their uniqueness in prominent terroir flavours. These vineyards are planted in the best terroir for the specific varietal. Vineyards are carefully monitored by the winemaker who ultimately decides when the grapes will be harvested. These grapes are handled separately in the cellar to preserve their natural quality and uniqueness.
Darling Cellars Premium range
Our premium range comes from site specific vineyards which are selected for their uniqueness in prominent terroir flavours. These vineyards are planted in the best terroir for the specific varietal. Vineyards are carefully monitored by our viticulturist and cellar-master who ultimately decide when the grapes will be harvested. These grapes are handled separately in the cellar to preserve their natural quality and uniqueness. After harvest, the grapes are evaluated both before vinification and after fermentation. Regular evaluation of the wine in oak barrels also takes place to ensure that only the best wine is ultimately bottled under the PREMIUM label. The final product is again judged to match our philosophy on Darling Cellars Premium range – Exceptional quality which is terroir and varietal specific. Certain blocks of land are also regularly evaluated for future plantings of vineyards, destined for the Darling Cellars Premium range. Darling Cellars Premium is thus a dedicated concept from site selection, through to the final drop in the glass at the end of a bottle. The majority of vineyards for this range of wines are situated very close to the Atlantic Ocean, some 5 to 15 kilometres from the coast.
Darling Cellars Reserve range
The core of what Darling Cellars is about. Varietal wines which are fruity, accessible and an excellent value offering that can’t be beaten. These are wines to be enjoyed at a social occasion with friends, while at the same time having enough complexity to suit any dinner table or fine dining event. The grapes for this range come from vineyards in the Darling Hills and surrounding foothills. The individual wines comprising the Darling Cellars Reserve range are produced from a selection of grapes which display bouquets of some key characteristics of the unique terroir, are varietal true, fruit driven and over deliver on quality with every sip. Wood ageing is judiciously used on the red wines in the range, giving subtle complexity to support the soft tannins and rich fruit prevalent in the wines.
Darling Cellars Classic range
A fun and easy drinking, quaffing wine range for all those occasions where you want to entertain and have a brilliant time. Light a fire, invite a few friends, open a couple of bottles of wine and you’re set to have a wonderful evening. Grapes selected for their fruit and ripeness make this a range which fulfils the need for an uncomplicated, easily accessible wine fit for a student and professor alike. Fresh, vibrant, clean and fruity!
“Stand Alone Wines”
During the past few years we have introduced a limited number of “stand alone” wines to showcase wines from Darling Cellars and the Darling area. These wines are now available on a “limited release” basis and a brief guide to each of them follows.
Darling Cellars Blanc de Blanc Brut
Methodé Cap Classique: Made in the traditional way by fermenting the wine in the bottle, this does stand apart from the crowd as a wonderful, 100% Chardonnay bubbly!
Sir Charles Henry Darling
Bordeaux Blend: Borrowing its name from the Governor of the Cape Colony who also lent his name to the town of Darling, this Bordeaux blend pays homage to a great proponent of human rights. The maiden vintage was a blend of 4 of the traditional red Bordeaux varietals.
White Blend: A stunning blend of old vine Chenin Blanc, Viognier and Chardonnay, barrel fermented and barrel matured to add complexity and structure and a whole mouth full of wine. Lime Kilns were built in years gone by to burn sea shells to form lime which the farmers used on their lands.
Cellar Master's Signature Selection
A range of wines created to present our faithful customers with an interesting wine every year. No1 is a Petit Verdot, not as dark and inky as you might be accustomed to, but definitely a great drinking example of this Bordeaux varietal, followed by No2 which is Nouvelle.
Lady Ann Darling
A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, which was named Champion Dry White and Grand Champion for the Swartland region. Only days after a triumphant victory at the Swartland Young Wine Show, Darling Cellars went on to even greater glory when this wine was named South African White Blend Champion for 2015 at the national event. It’s the first time the double achievement has befallen Darling Cellars.
Values, Ideas and Look & Feel
Creating an identity stretches further than just a brand and logo. It encompasses a certain look and feel about the cellar, the wine, label and bottle, the attitude of the people and the presentation of all these factors. An integrated strategy is thus followed from grapes to wine.
Passion is essential for this whole concept to work and is a trait to be found in all involved at Darling Cellars. The idea behind the wines is to offer a quality-price ratio that is unequalled in the South African trade, an offering which speaks of class and complexity and one of sincere enjoyment. This all is sought, while staying true to the unique terroir of the West Coast, Darling district and varietal characteristics.
Our Cellar Master summarises it well with: “What nature gives us each year; we try and get into the bottle with passion and honour…”