The estate known as Delta was first planted to vines in the 17th century, but it was only in 2001 that it began to redress the painful history upon which the SA wine industry was built. This was done through the granting of a substantial shareholding to historically disadvantaged tenant-workers on the estate, and the establishment of a museum which provides visitors with an authentic experience that does not gloss over the facts. It explores our history from all points of view, with special emphasis on the personal experiences of dispossessed Khoe-San, pioneer settlers, slaves, and the current resident labourers — who remember only too well what it meant to be a farm-worker in the apartheid years – but also our hopes for the future.
Through recent excavations at Solms-Delta wine estate, archaeologists have uncovered the ruins of a 17th century colonial dwelling. It seems most likely that it was built by the farm’s first owners. Very few such ruins have been excavated. The most unique element of this archaeological find lies in its connection to a prehistoric site lying immediately alongside it. Thousands of Later Stone-Age artefacts dating to between 4,000 and 6,000 years old were found less than one metre away from the 17th century ruin. Both indigenous hunter-gatherers and colonists separated by millennia chose to settle on this same site. From past to present, the history of one particular farm is connected in myriad ways with the struggles and dreams of the ordinary people who inhabited it; from stone age beginnings to modern South Africa, the Delta estate reveals our shared origins.
Visitors to the Museum are treated to free personalised tours of the Later Stone-Age archaeological site, the exposed foundations of the 17th century homestead and various other colonial structures, several historical buildings in various stages of restoration, a magical forest of rare camphors, yellowwoods and oaks (including a 300-year-old National Champion Tree), and walks along a trout-rich river and pond, against a backdrop of the majestic Drakenstein mountains.