The first settlers to cultivate the virgin land of the estate now known as Hartenberg were friends Cunraad Boin and Christoffel Esterhuizzen who were granted permission to work sixty morgen (twenty hectare) of the land in 1692. Even then the wine-bearing potential of the soil was recognized and one of the first tasks that the two partners undertook was the clearing of the land to plant 2 000 vines.
The estate, which has been owned since 1986 by the MacKenzie family, is nestled in a valley on the free-draining, north-eastern slopes of the Bottelary Hills in Stellenbosch. Hartenberg enjoys a Mediterranean climate of warm, dry summers and cold, wet winters. The vineyards face north, west, and east, with varietals planted to take advantage of either morning or afternoon sun. There is a difference in altitude of some 250 metres between the northern and southern vineyards.