Diemersfontein has belonged to the Sonnenberg family for 3 generations, dating back to the early 1940s. David’s grandfather, Max, bought the 183 hectare farm, which lies in the shadow of the majestic Hawekwa Mountains & boasts a panoramic view of both Du Toit’s Kloof & Bains’ Kloof mountain ranges.
Central to the working wine estate, is the original family manor house, better known as the ‘Groot Huis’. The magnificent gardens were designed by Davids mother, Cecilia Sonnenberg & are reminiscent of an era when gracious living & tranquility were the order of the day. Displaying an abundance of roses & azaleas & set amongst beautiful old trees, this venue has become much sought after for weddings & other special occasions.
Max Sonnenberg, together with his son Richard, were the co-founders of Woolworths South Africa & also members of Parliament during the Jan Smuts Government. He & his family used Diemersfontein as a country retreat & during the war years, Italian prisoners of war were housed in the farm cottages.
During the 1950s, Richard took over from his father & became more involved in the farming operations. His wife Cecilia, a well-known Cape Town actress & producer, was the co-founder of Maynardville Open Air Theatre – famous for its Shakespearian productions.
The family’s association & passion for the arts started with the delightful strains of opera singing that would drift up from the cottages housing the Italian prisoners. (Italians sure love to sing!) This tradition of being patrons & contributors to the arts has continued over the years, as the present owners, David & Sue Sonnenberg continue to be involved. Sue herself, an artist & chorister, understands the importance of encouraging & sponsoring local artists, & providing them the support they need to pursue their talents.
Richard Sonnenberg planted the first vineyards in the 1970s & in 2000 David built a cellar & started producing estate wines. Vineyard plantings include: Shiraz, Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & also the “lesser known” varietals Viognier, Barbera, Roobernet & Mourvedre. Diemersfonteins’ maiden vintage (2001) won the Paul Sauer Trophy for a wooded Pinotage at the SA Young Wine Show, & today the Diemersfontein br& continues to enjoy the success in attaining numerous wine awards.