Tim Hillock Wines – A Balanced Beginning

Producing simple, pared back and elegant wine is what winemaker Tim Hillock is passionate about.

From his family’s cellar at the foot of the Kasteelberg, Tim has been making his Syrah and Chenin varietals since 2021.

Studying first at the University of Cape Town and then at Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute at Stellenbosch University, Tim kickstarted his profession under his uncle Alan Cooke of Yellowwood Winery. Having grown up at Yellowwood – harvesting grapes or throwing and cleaning crates – Tim helped winemaker Thinus Kruger as much as he could, and after working at Publik Wine Bar in Cape Town, Tim decided that he’d like to pursue winemaking full-time. Thus, the time he spent at Joostenberg with Tyrrel Myburgh and assistant winemaker Elmerie Joubert cemented Tim’s decision to produce wine.

Working with organic vineyards and working organically in the cellar was quite an eye-opener, and makes our cellar look easy. Everything (in the Joostenberg cellar) has to be marked with a green card if it’s organic or a red card if it’s not and you run two parallel books where you can’t pump something inorganic before pumping something organic – there was a lot of cleaning, rinsing and pumping. It was a good habit to learn but it was paperwork heavy.”

Tim laughs – “Luckily I didn’t have to do the paperwork!”

Using Alan Cooke’s Field Blend vineyard as a leaping point, Tim dabbled with producing a barrel or two and, assisted by Bobby Wallace from Elgin, made a Syrah and a Cinsault. From here on, as Tim puts it, the bug bit. Four barrels turned into more and in 2021, Tim invested in concrete tanks and the right kit to start winemaking on a permanent basis.

In 2021 I didn’t have any wine to sell, which is always the best vintage for a winemaker as you can focus on nothing else but making wine. You’re not running to the warehouse to pack and export and you aren’t a name yet so don’t have any visitors at the tasting room” Tim explains.

Using grapes from between seven and eight vineyards that year, he mainly worked with Syrah and Chenin Blanc but also with a bit of Tinta Barocca, Cinsault and Grenache to get his blend just right. A year later, Tim decided to focus his efforts on selecting two vineyards that would serve him best long-term. The results of which are his La Cósmica from a schist-rich 37-year-old Chenin Blanc block close to the farm and Paradiso – a Syrah block on the Nativo farm close by.

When asked if he plans to extend the range to more wines, Tim offers a decisive no – “These two cultivars in my opinion epitomise the Swartland and I love working with them”.

A statement that reflects all the attention and patience that goes into Tim’s wines.

Find Tim Hillock Wines on the Yellowwood Winery estate off the Riebeeksrivier Road, off the R46. Please note that tastings are by appointment only. Get in touch by sending an e-mail to tim@timhillock.com

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