The Rivendell farm is owned by the holding company Whales and Castle Investments (Pty) Ltd. The farm business is operated by the group company Cavaletto 26 (Pty) Ltd.
Shareholders: Heimo & Maria Thalhammer
Kobie Viljoen - Winemaker
Kobie is responsible for managing our Premium Wine Production at Rivendell.
He oversees all winemaking processes from the picking of fruit to the bottling of the wine. Kobie identifies and initiates methods to improve wine quality, and also implements systems to maintain quality standards. His list of responsibilities on the farm are endless, and they include the Management of International Marketing and Sales, Financial Management and leading our production staff at Rivendell.
Kobie graduated from Elsenburg Agricultural College in 1997 with a Higher Certificate in Agriculture and a Diploma in Cellar Technology. He has been in the farming and winemaking industry for over fifteen years, and his experience includes working for many famous wine estates in the Western Cape.
His passion for wine extends in to all areas of his life, and Kobie has been a Show Judge for South Africa Young Wine Show for the past six years. He is currently a member of the Board of Management of SSA (Shiraz South Africa), and of course a valued member of the Rivendell Team.
Schalk du Toit - Viticulturist
Schalk du Toit, Rivendell’s viticulturist, is a Hons. B. Sc. Agric graduate with specialized international and local wine industry exposure. The strategic focus for the small, but unique Rivendell farming area, was to create the biggest possible diversity with clonal selection and identifying different soil patches, as it would create more complexity in the wines. It was proven with the Veritas Double Gold Award for the 2012 Rivendell Sauvignon Blanc., the first and highest accolade for any Sauvignon Blanc in the 30 year wine history of the Walker bay wine region.
Schalk du Toit got involved with the Rivendell when the first agric meeting with Heimo & Maria Thalhammer was held on site on 22nd November 2007. The soil profile were classified and sampled during March 2008, after the bushes and alien vegetation were clearing during Jan/Feb. 2008. Ameliorants (lime, phosphates & chicken manure) were applied to the barren soil during May/Jun 2008. Soil preparation with a shift delve plough was completed during Jun/Jul 2008. The cover crop was established as soon as the bulldozer moved from site, to stabilise the sandy topsoil. The trellis- & dripper irrigation system were installed during Aug/Sep/Oct-2008. The first vineyards were planted during Nov/Dec. 2008. The first grapes – Sauvignon blanc - were harvested on the 24th February 2011. The first olive trees were planted in September 2011.
Schalk du Toit, grew up on the family fruit farm in Robertson (Western Cape), qualified with a Hons. B.Sc Agric (Vine & Viticulture) from the University of Stellenbosch. Schalk’s business, marketing & financial skills were sharpened with additional studies at the Stellenbosch University Business School, the Graduate School of Business at UCT, PSG Academy and others. Schalk was mentored and built vital practical consultation skills during his 18 years working career at the KWV/Vinpro Consultation service in Worcester – as Regional Manager / Viticultural Consultant. During 2003 Schalk bought the family farm in Robertson, while continuing his consultation work with VinPro. In 2004 Schalk started his private consultation service – Viticon Consulting with Viti standing for viticulture for Icon wines. Schalk has visited vineyard areas in California, Australia and Europe and has consulted more than 100 estates and wine farms in most parts of the Western Cape. Schalk’s specialist focus area’s with Viticon is strategic: agric project management, and operational: fertiliser and spray programmes. Schalk has a keen interest in wines and is a qualified wine judge, the first viticulturist is South Africa to taste at the National Young wine show, Vertitas and the Pinotage Top10 competition.
John van Tonder - Farm Manager
John graduated from Elsenburg Agricultural College in 1989 with a diploma in Viticulture and Horticulture. He always had a passion for the wine industry, but awaited the right opportunity. He has 16 years experience in the fruit industry growing various fruits from apples and pears right down to raspberries, strawberries, blue berries and cherries.
He also spent 5 years in the business sector where he gained valuable management experience. His love and ambition for farming, stemming from his childhood years, never went away and when presented with the opportunity to join Rivendell he was overjoyed. His dream is to make his own wine one day.
Carin Carr - Accountant