Category Archives: At Elgin Ridge

Spring heralds a new era for Elgin Ridge Wines


MEDIA RELEASE  –  6 SEPTEMBER 2021


All good things come to an end, but in the case of Elgin Ridge Wines, their successes will continue under the new ownership of Radford Dale Wines.

Elgin Ridge is the result of a long-lived dream of co-owners Brian and Marion Smith. The couple sold their successful IT business in London and purchased what was then a neglected apple farm in Elgin in 2007 in order to pursue their dream of making small quantities of authentic wines. The tiny valley, with its unique terroir, natural beauty and undeniable character, captured their hearts – it was the perfect place to turn their dream into reality.

Certified organic and Biodynamic in South Africa

Marion’s passion for organic wine resulted in the launch of the Biodynamic Organic Association in August 2017, (BOWSA.co.za), whose aim was to act as the reference point for consumers and interested parties as to which wine producers are certified organic and Biodynamic in South Africa and which would uplift and bring credibility to the organic wine industry.

Brian and Marion are heartened that Radford Dale will continue farming the land organically.

“It brings joy to my heart that the farm will continue on in the spirit it was created, natural vines producing natural wines expressing the distinctive cool terroir of Elgin,” shared Marion Smith.

Although the farm now has new owners, the Smiths will continue to sell their current stock of bottled Elgin Ridge Wines to ensure their wines are available for both local and export customers.

Since 2007 Brian and Marion have lived, slept and breathed Elgin Ridge, they are looking forward to their next adventure, which includes travelling and spending time with friends. They will continue to live in South Africa.

Celebrating biodynamic champion, Marion Smith

Celebrating biodynamic champion, Marion Smith. Passionate about the principles of biodynamics she has worked with producers who are currently certified as organic wine producers. This resulted in the launch of Biodynamic Organic Association in August 2017, (BOWSA.co.za), with the aim  to act as the reference point for consumers and interested parties as to which wine producers are certified organic and Biodynamic in South Africa and which would uplift and bring credibility to the organic wine industry.

Shares Marion:

Biodynamics is organic farming, but there are extra elements. First of all, the farm is seen as a self-contained system, and this way of thinking guides actions.

Harvesting Pinot Noir
Harvesting Pinot Noir

A vineyard should be full of life, and if it’s possible to keep animals as well, for example for using their manure for compost production, this is encouraged. And then there are a series of preparations, made from plant, animal and mineral ingredients that are prepared in specific ways. Some of these are sprayed onto vines, while others are added to composts. Compost is an important part of biodynamic farming. There is no recipe: these preparations provide a toolkit for the winegrower to choose depending on the time of year or the local conditions.

Biodynamic straw at Elgin Ridge
Biodynamic straw at Elgin Ridge

While some of the biodynamic explanations for how these work can sound unusual to the scientifically trained, it’s likely that scientific explanations could be found for their effects. For example, some might be acting as a microbial inoculum, enhancing vineyard life, while others might be acting as ‘elicitors’ – molecular alarm signals that prime the vine’s defences and increase its immunity.

New lamb on Elgin Ridge
New lamb on Elgin Ridge

Probably the best way to understand biodynamics is to visit a vineyard farmed this way. It just looks and feels different. The soil has texture. Instead of the manicured look of a vineyard where herbicides are used to keep the soil clear of weeds, biodynamic vineyards can seem a little untidy, but there’s a natural balance to them, and they just seem more full of life. Frequently, you can taste the difference in the wine. They usually taste more alive, more complex, and more beguiling. You want a second glass.

Elgin Ridge Harvest 2021

We catch up with owner Brian Smith for some harvest 2021 reflections.

Pictured: Brian Smith, vineyard manager Taurai Matunbwa, and Marion Smith

Harvest 2021 – what are your predictions? 
Below average yields, but not as low as 2020, due to windy conditions during flowering. Cool season with above average rainfall resulting in small but high quality bunches. Harvest approximately 7 to 10 days later than usual.

Organic fruit looking resplendent on the vine.

What have been the challenges? 
Wet and windy weather with the threat of mildew – many of our neighbours have been affected although we have mostly avoided the fungus.

Walking through the jewel box that is a vineyard, watching all that promise of the growing season come to fruition. This is Block 11, semillon, is looking the best it ever has.

Plans for the grapes?
This is the second harvest of our Cabernet Franc and we should increase from only 273 bottles in 2020 to about 600 bottles in 2021. I made most of the vintages including 2016 and I will be returning to making the wine.

Block 12, chardonnay – looking good, we’ll be picking next week

What happens in the cellar when it comes to biodynamics?
All ferments are natural with no added commercial yeast, sugar or acid. In addition we do not use settling or colour extracting enzymes or yeast nutrients. Bentonite, a natural clay, is used to protein stabilise the wine just before bottling.

This time last year… our concrete eggs landed, we’re looking forward to using them all over again for #Harvest2021

Elgin region as a whole – what has the growing season been like and the current harvest?
In general Elgin has been cool and a little wetter than average resulting in reduced yields but still maintaining high quality.

Block 5.1 Pinot Noir – this year looks very special – picking in about 10 days time. Note the bird protection! 

Lock Down and Wine Sales

As South Africa heads towards lockdown from midnight, we would like to extend a very special thank you to all of our customers for your wonderful support.

While no wine sales or deliveries are permitted during the lockdown period, we are so grateful to have been able to share our wines with so many of you who stocked up early. May they bring you happy moments of relaxation and reflection over these next weeks.

Remember you can still place an order at our on line shop here and we will have it all packed and ready to delivery once wine sales are allowed

Marion, Brian and the Elgin Ridge team.

Image may contain: grass, sky, outdoor and nature

INTERNATIONAL ORGANIC DAY!

Intl Organic Day discount advert

We are situated at 282 metres above sea level, Elgin Ridge Wines is the home of the Elgin valley’s only certified organic and biodynamic wine estate.

To celebrate International Organic Day and the launch of our new online store, we’re offering 20% off website purchases until 30 September 2019!

Order your favourites using the coupon code “ZRDD3NGF” to take advantage.


*Offer excludes Chaos White, the.Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay.
Discount applies for South African orders only.


 

New additions on the farm

Ten beautiful bouncy lambs were born on Elgin Ridge last week, but we’ve been keeping them cosy inside as it has been so cold and wet ?

Yesterday, they bounded out into the vineyards with their moms to soak up the winter sunshine – and start learning the art of “cover crop management.

Elgin Cool Wine Festival at Elgin Ridge Wines

Join us during the Elgin Cool Wine & Country Food Festival this year and enjoy free tastings, delicious sushi, exclusive farm tours ( pre booking essential ), and great family fun on our organic & biodynamic farm.

FREE TASTINGS

• 3 vintages of our current wines (either Sauvignon Blanc and/or Pinot Noir)

GOLDEN TICKET EXPERIENCE: FARM TOUR

• This experience is available when pre-booked by Golden Ticket holders.
• Take a walking tour on our certified biodynamic farm with us, as we explain our biodynamic preparations and how we use them at Elgin Ridge – and finish with a VIP tasting of older vintages and an exclusive tasting our award-winning Chaos White

• Places are strictly limited to just 6 people per session: Morning session at 11.00am and afternoon session at 14.00pm

( Saturday morning seesion fully booked, 2 places available Saturday afternoon), Sunday still available

• Bookings: marion@elginridge.com

SUSHI

• Enjoy a delicious sushi platter (minimum 10 pieces) and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc for R160 per person

ENTERTAINMENT

• Enjoy being on our biodynamic and organic wine estate and catch a glimpse of our Percheron horse – Maddox – who ploughs our vineyards in winter. Keep an eye out for our sheep, cattle, ducks and chickens, too
• Visitors are welcome to bring their own picnic and enjoy a bottle of Elgin Ridge wine amongst the vines or around the dam in one of our picnic spots.

Bookings for our Golden Ticket Farm Tour and sushi are essential.

Please contact Marion on marion@elginridge.com to book.

Elgin Cool Wine & Country Festival 29th April & 30th April 2017

Join us during the Elgin Cool Wine & Country Food Festival 2017 and enjoy free tastings, delicious sushi and great family fun on our organic & biodynamic farm!

FREE TASTINGS
• Sauvignon Blanc 2014
• Sauvignon Blanc 2015
• Pinot Noir 2013

SUSHI
• Enjoy a delicious sushi platter and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc for R150

ENTERTAINMENT
• Enjoy being on our biodynamic and organic wine estate and catch a glimpse of our Percheron horse – Maddox – who ploughs our vineyards in winter. Keep an eye out for our sheep, cattle, ducks and chickens, too!
• Visitors are welcome to bring their own picnic and enjoy a bottle of Elgin Ridge wine amongst the vines or around the dam in one of our picnic spots (tables and umbrellas provided).

Bookings for sushi and picnic spots are essential. Please contact us on marion@elginridge.com to book!

 

Elgin Cool Wine & Country Festival

Facebook Cover Image 2016 Option 1

Join us at Elgin Ridge for Lunch of Elgin Free Range chicken casserole cooked by Marion, or warm root veggie salad, served with fresh bread, or rice, including a glass of Sauvignon Blanc for R 175.00

Booking is essential to secure your lunch. Please call 021 846 8060 or e-mail: info@elginridge.com

Sales of our certified organic Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc and our special 2011 vintage MCC, by the glass or bottle are also available with lunch.

EggAt the Tasting Room, tasting and sales of our organic wines and an opportunity to see our organic cellar and the newly installed Eggs used for our 2016 vintage, not to be confused with our chicken and ducks eggs !

Hopefully our chickens and ducks will have laid plenty of eggs and you can purchase our free range chicken and duck eggs.