A new ultra-premium range of single varietal wines has been launched by one of South Africa's biggest and most modern wineries.

The Rhinofields range forms part of a long-term strategy by Durbanville Hills, a R70m (US$8.66m) joint venture between Distell and seven wine farmers in one of the Cape's most sought after wine areas.

The three-year-old winery made an immediate impact in South Africa when its Durbanville Hill range was launched two years ago and the seven partners, together with Distell, are hoping to develop it into the winery that becomes the Jacob's Creek of South Africa.

At the launch yesterday of the first two wines in the new range, named after the now endangered Rhino Bush (Renosterveld) eco-system, Chief Cellarmaster, Martin Moore, said in the future he also intended developing a single vineyard range to round off the portfolio. The new range presently has a 2000 Chardonnay and a 1999 Merlot, but will be expanded to four wines.