Heimo Thalhammer first visited South Africa as a student in the early Seventies and was inspired by the incredible beauty of the country. It took Heimo almost 30 years to return to the country that captured his dreams as a young student. In 2002 Heimo, joined by his wife Maria, bought their house in Hermanus and began exploring the area.
In 2005 they met Brandon Scorgie, an architect who would later become their partner in the wine farm they purchased.
When Heimo and Maria first arrived in the Botriver Valley, they fell in love with the area. It was here at Rivendell, with its cool Walker Bay climate, in the shade of the Kogelberg Biosphere and close to the sea and the lagoon that they decided to continue in the wine making tradition of Heimo’s great-grandparents, who owned vineyards in the early 20th century in the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy in Spodnja Štajerska, Slovenia.
And so the dream of a young student came to life more than 30 years later.
Rivendell Estate & Vineyards
Rivendell Estate is located on the Whale Route, en route to Hermanus. This boutique property is nestled between the cool Southern facing slope of the Limiet mountain range that forms part of the Kogelberg biosphere and the edge of the Botriver lagoon. Visitors can spot majestic Fish Eagles as they soar over the farm as king of the sky. Its distinctive cry is, for many, evocative of the spirit or essence of Africa.
Rivendell, like its wine, epitomizes harmony and tranquility, coupled with vibrancy and a spirit of adventure, whilst retaining a classic elegance.
Situated approximately 10 km from the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean climate and moderate rainfall together with the cool Atlantic Ocean breeze and inimitable terroir of the farm ensures a slow ripening process and is ideal for the generation of cool climate grape flavors.
The vines were planted on laterite gravel on clay, weathered Table Mountain Sandstone & Bokkeveld shale. Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz vines were planted, as these two cultivars are ideal for the unique maritime climate of the farm. Three clones were planted on an area of 4.34 ha (Sauvignon Blanc vines: 2.92 ha; Shiraz: 1.42 ha) in 2008.
Most of the Sauvignon Blanc vines were planted on the sandy laterite soil and the Shiraz on laterite gravel and clay soil of weathered shale.
Rivendell boasts an exclusive range of superb wines consisting of Sauvignon Blanc with the 2011 Maiden vintage as well as the 2012 vintage currently available, a Maiden vintage 2011 Shiraz and a 2012 vintage dry Rose, perfect for Al fresco dining at the Mediterranean Bistro on the property. With only 4.34ha under vine, the focus is placed on small quantities and superb quality.
The Bistro is the ideal setting for a small intimate function, business meeting, wedding or birthday celebration. The Bistro is open for breakfast and lunch from 08:00-17:00 daily and Friday evenings for dinner by appointment.
Rivendell’s vibrant executive chef captures the diversity of the Overberg by providing fabulous food sourced from local suppliers that will please the most decadent palate. She also considers the more delicate tastes of Rivendell’s younger clientele by offering some healthy options for toddler taste-buds.
The menu offers a delectable variety of Mediterranean styled dishes as well as a variety of weekly specials, paired with a glass of Rivendell wine. This option ensures the unique dining experience and a chance to taste the wines with the perfect food pairing.
As Rivendell forms part of the Botriver Vineyard Association, the wines from the area feature on a well balanced and well-priced wine list to enable guests to taste the stunning wines our beautiful area has to offer .
The Bistro art features the renowned works of Gail Catlan, first artist in the world to exploit Liquid Crystal in her paintings and contemporary metal sculpture artist Uwe Pfaff. The artworks are all available for sale from Francois Grobbelaar at Walker Bay Art gallery. (Please enquire from your waiter for more information on the artworks.)
Rivendell Function & Conference venue
Rivendell Estate truly is one of the loveliest settings for the perfect function. The peace and tranquillity of these beautiful surroundings holds an irresistible appeal for guests looking for a unique and memorable experience.
Rivendell is easily accessible from all major routes and situated amidst the world renowned Arabella Hotel and Spa, as well as a number of wine farms, with up-market accommodation facilities.
The Function and Conference venue, surrounded by expansive manicured lawns, lush vineyards and an adjacent magical pine forest, set the stage for an exquisite experience that combines beauty, culinary delights and unsurpassable views.
The venue is equipped with state of the art kitchen facilities that can easily accommodate 100 guests in the main dining room, with an additional area suitable for dancing, smaller conference meetings and buffet styled functions. Larger functions are accommodated by using Bedouin-styled tents.
Stack-away doors open up to a beautifully designed walled courtyard with a sculpted garden and can be used as a separate area for pre-dinner drinks, an intimate wedding ceremony or an extension of the dining area.
The peace and tranquillity of these beautiful surroundings hold an irresistible appeal to guests looking for a unique and memorable experience. Personal service and attention to detail comes as standard. Leaving will be your only disappointment.
Rivendell Sundowners and Picnics
During the School- and Public holidays in Season, Rivendell will be offering cocktails and appetizers as a sundowner’s option every Friday between 17:00 and 19:00. Guests will have the opportunity to “guess the correct recipe/ingredients” of the special cocktail every week and stand a chance to win a dinner voucher.
Picnics served in recycled wine boxes will be served from the function venue over weekends during the Season. Guests can either enjoy a picnic on the expansive lawns on the estate or order picnics as a take away. Umbrellas to use on the property, as well as a variety of chilled Rivendell Estate wine, beers, ciders and soft drinks will be available for guests to enjoy.
Rivendell Community Projects & Partnerships
Rivendell Estate has partnered with Whale Coast Conservation in an attempt to raise awareness and funding for the fight against Rhino poaching. As mega-herbivores, Rhinos play a vital role in the ecosystems in which they live. Rhinos have no natural predators, except one….humans. The trade in Rhino horn has been banned by CITES, the resultant decrease in horn supply has pushed up the black market price of the horn. The cruel result is that the Rhino has been added to the critically endangered species list. Currently a Rhino dies every 15 hours from this brutal act and the numbers are rising rapidly.
Rivendell Whale Coast Rhino Project is intent on showing support to the people involved in the national rhino conservation initiatives, as well as supporting the Eco-Schools Project to support Rhino awareness in schools. Guests are encouraged to raise funds to help organisations such as the STTU & Save our Rhino Group, a tracking unit in Limpopo that plays a vital role in the fight to roll out the interventions that are needed to combat rhino poaching. Rivendell Whale Coast Rhino Project has introduced Wetsi, a life-sized wire Rhino who is the replica of Metsi, an orphaned Rhino, and the ambassador of his species.
Rivendell guests can pledge their commitment to protecting the rhino by making a donation and tying a ribbon to Wetsi, who welcomes guests at the entrance of the Bistro. The Rivendell WC Rhino Project has launched the following initiatives: Part of the proceeds of the sales for Mitzi Blue Africa chocolate is donated to the fund, patron donations are facilitated via the ‘tie a ribbon to Wetsi’ initiative, as well as the sale of the ‘bead-by-bead’ bracelets in aid of the Rivendell WC Rhino Project.
Rivendell in partnership with Zotter chocolates, Austria
Rivendell is proud to be associated with Zotter chocolates. Since 1992 Josef Zotter has been producing the unique organically grown bean-to-bar chocolates, sourced from only the very best regional blends of cocoa he can find from fair trade co-operatives, to ensure the best of the harvest and to further develop the communities themselves. Their approach is constantly placed on the uniqueness of the taste, human being & the eco-social responsibility we all bear to our world. They do not tailor make their products to suit the market and never make any compromises on quality. They prefer a holistic and consistent approach to the art of chocolate making.
Another unconventional thinker, artist Andreas L. Gratz joined the company and with is humoristic approach to the packaging, turned Zotter chocolates into a cult. Rivendell is the sole importer for Zotter Mitzi Blue chocolates in Africa, with the Mitzi Blue Africa forming part of the Rivendell Whale Coast Conservation Save the Rhino project. An interesting selection of Mitzi Blue chocolates is available for sale from the Bistro.
Future imports will include the Zotter hand-scooped chocolates, as well as a specially designed Rivendell Sauvignon Blanc infused chocolate to pair with the delectable Rivendell Sauvignon Blanc.