Delheim’s Legendary Spatz Sperling Passes Away

Since his arrival in South Africa as a 20-year-old from Germany in 1951, Spatz became a pioneering icon of the South African wine industry.

Words by Greg Landman

Over the next 60 years, Spatz grew this farm on the Simonsberg into one of the most enduringly popular and successful wine destinations. His first effort was the famous Spatzendreck which has been loved by many since 1961.

Heerenwijn, a light and dry white wine, was a first of its kind.  At the other end of the scale, in the 1970s, Spatz recognised growing demand for red wines, purchasing prime vineyard land on Klapmutskop, which he named Vera Cruz after his wife. Delheim’s flagship, the Cabernet-led Grand Reserve, first produced in 1981 and among the early Bordeaux-style blends, comes from these vineyards.

The wine industry’s ultimate recognition of Spatz’s extraordinary contribution came in 2009, when he was honoured with the 350 Celebration Scroll in the year South Africa celebrated 350 years of winemaking.

‘We are highly blessed to have had a father who we could share with so many people. In his honour please raise a glass of your favourite Delheim wine, share the moment and celebrate his journey with us – Prost!’

Spatz is survived by his wife Vera and children Victor, Nora, Maria, Nicholas and grandchildren Rudi, Karl, Gabriele, Michael, Louis and Renzo.

A private funeral service will take place in the Delheim cemetery. A celebration of Spatz’s life will be held at Delheim at a date to be announced.

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