To produce soft, rich, yet elegant wines that all have the ability to age and retain brightness of fruit – wines that are timeless, classic and fresh. This is achieved through combining decades of in-depth knowledge of our terroir with constant innovation and attention to detail. Our commitment to protecting our precious environment remains paramount in everything we do.
Hartenberg’s regenerative approach to farming encompasses all aspects of the farm, including everyone who lives and works here. The Mackenzie family, owners of the estate since 1986, strive continuously to safeguard Hartenberg and their philosophy to “leave Hartenberg in a better condition than when we started”.
Nestled in a valley on the free-draining, north-eastern slopes of the Bottelary Hills in Stellenbosch, Hartenberg enjoys a Mediterranean climate of warm, dry summers and cold, wet winters.
Our vineyards face north, west, and east, with varietals planted to take advantage of either morning or afternoon sun. There is a difference in altitude of some 250 metres between the northern and southern vineyards.
All our wines are produced, bottled and packaged on the estate and we are known for our red wines, in particular Shiraz, although our Chardonnays have increasingly garnered attention too.
Our underground cellar, the largest privately owner cellar in South Africa, affords us the perfect environment to age our wines for a few years before their release.
The first settlers to cultivate the virgin land of the estate now known as Hartenberg were friends Cunraad Boin and Christoffel Esterhuizzen who were granted permission to work 60 morgen (20 ha) of the land in 1692.
Even then the wine-bearing potential of the soil was recognised and one of the first tasks that the two partners undertook was the clearing of the land to plant 2 000 vines.
In 1704, Christoffel Esterhuizzen was granted the title deed to “Het Hartenberg” by Governer (Willem Adriaan van der Stel) and became the first official owner of the farm. By 1718, he had 10 000 vines on his property and produced four leggers of wine.
The well-known elephant hunter, Paulus Keyser, bought Hartenberg in 1721 and continued the practice of vineyard cultivation and winemaking on the farm until he sold it to Jacob van Bochen in 1725.
Van Bochen, a former accountant of the Dutch East India Company butchery and holder of the liquor retail monopoly, also bought Weltevrede adjoining Hartenberg. The two farms have remained a combined property, forming the Hartenberg Estate as it is now.
For about one hundred years after van Bochen, the farm passed through the hands of various owners including Arrie Lekkerwyn (delicious wine), and Aaron van Ceylon (a freed slave). and in 1838 it became the property of the brothers Jacobus and Johannes Bosman.
The year of the trees
An important period in the farm’s development was ushered in by the Hampf family when they bought Hartenberg in 1928. Mrs Hampf extended the vineyards and planted the many beautiful trees still to be seen around the farm and cellar, while her husband became the first officially recorded winemaker on the estate.
In 1948, Hartenberg was bought by the late Dr Maurice Finlayson (a well-known Cape Town pathologist) and his wife, Eleanor. Discovering the true potential of the estate, they soon began marketing their wines under the label “Montagne”. Besides good wine, the Finlaysons also produced two sons, Peter and Walter, who were to become renowned South African winemakers.
Uncompromising and sophisticated, Eleanor Finlayson’s presence is still felt on Hartenberg today.
Gilbeys were the next owners of the estate, purchasing it from the Finlaysons in 1977. They eventually released the present Hartenberg range as their flagship brand in 1985.
On 1 January 1987, Ken Mackenzie, purchased Hartenberg. His daughters continue a programme of investment in the farm, focusing on three key areas: the replanting to specific sites of premium varietals, the development of production facilities, and upliftment, through knowledge and skills for employees.
Since the early 2000s, Hartenberg has been pesticide-free, pioneering the use of historically indigenous insects to control pest insect populations instead. The end result of this is that all vineyards younger than twenty years continue to be virus free.
Increase soil health and fertility
At Hartenberg we have been planting cover crops for years, but the aim in the past was not necessarily to improve the soil health as it is now. In 2010 our viticulturalist, Wilhelm Joubert, started experimenting with purpose-specific, multi species cover crops between the vineyards as a tool to increase soil health and fertility, and to improve biodiversity.
We first acquired cattle in 2017, primarily for grazing fallow lands. Realizing the potential, Wilhelm Joubert conducted research, revealing that properly managed grazing animals could enhance plant and soil health. The cattle’s hooves, grazing habits, saliva, manure, and urine collectively improve soil health and fertility, as evidenced by positive results in the first season.
In 2023, Hartenberg was named a World Wildlife Fund Conservation Champion for our dedication to regenerative viticulture and the preservation of once-unprotected, critically endangered ecosystems. Our work ensures healthy ecosystems that provide vital services such as fresh water, fertile soil, and clean air, while also safeguarding rare and endangered species from potential extinction.
Overseeing all aspects of winemaking and sustainability at Hartenberg is our Cellar Master Carl Schultz who has been with us since 1994. He is assisted by winemaker Patrick Mgamane (since 2000), viticulturist Wilhelm Joubert (since 2006), bottling & labelling manager & assistant winemaker Oscar Robyn (since 2001).
Carl firmly believes that “wine doesn’t like change” and Hartenberg’s history of retaining staff ensures that the knowledge of our team grows each year, and this is reflected in the increasing quality of our wines.
BOTTLING & LABELLING MANAGER & ASSISTANT WINEMAKER
Family and staff nurturing
There is global concern for the welfare of workers employed in the South African wine industry. Hartenberg is a family-owned business and the Mackenzie family have a long history of retaining staff and uplifting their knowledge and skills.
Social commitment is valued with sponsored after-school facilities and adult literacy classes provided for our permanent cellar and vineyard staff. Staff are transported to and from work free of charge, and their children to and from school at the company’s expense, using buses from a local BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) company.
To quote our Cellar Master, Carl, “wine doesn’t like change” and Hartenberg’s history of retaining staff ensures that the knowledge of our team grows each year, and this is reflected in the increasing quality of our wines.