With Elgin producing the majority of South Africa’s apple exports, a tradition commenced when Sir Antonie Viljoen, a medical officer during the Boer War, planted his first orchards, few could have predicted Elgin’s rapid ascent in the minds of consumers seeking out cool climate wines. In a short period, Elgin has developed a world wide reputation for fresh white wines, particularly from well known international varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Riesling. With a growing interest in lower alcohol wines, there is also a renewed exploration of the potential of red varieties such as Pinot Noir and Syrah.
Just an hour from Cape Town, Elgin sits below Stellenbosch, divided by the Hottentots-Holland Mountains, known for their distinctive sandstone soils, and thus, protected from the cold northern winds that rattle down towards the sea. It is this proximity to the sea, just 7.5 miles, that imparts Elgin with a cool, but extended ripening season. In turn, these conditions contribute to the sense of elegance that captivates wine lovers so firmly.
Early wine growing pioneers in the region were the Cluver family. As one of the most established names, and in fact synonymous with Elgin, the Paul Cluver Estate provides an important quality benchmark for Elgin.
Elgin’s general approach to biodiversity and sustainability is one to be admired. The Paul Cluver Estate not only encourages the growth of the Western Cape’s famous Fynbos plants, an assortment of coastal shrubs, they have also initiated fair trade activities that promote opportunities for the estate’s workers to produce their own wines.