Category Archives: At Elgin Ridge

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, (, 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.

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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.


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


• 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:


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


• 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 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!

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

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

• 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 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:

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.

Biodynamic farming at Elgin Ridge Wine Estate

Cows contribute to our biodynamic farming in several ways; during winter they graze in the vineyards, thus keeping the weeds under control; and more importantly fertilising the soil with their manure, giving energy to the soil naturally.

Dexters at Biodynamic Elgin Ridge
Chad at 1 day old

Elgin Ridge has a growing heard of 70 Dexter cows; including 14 calves born at Elgin Ridge so far this year. Dexter are a natural miniature breed from Ireland.

We have planted 7 HA of pastures this year, and use a rotating grazing system with portable electric fencing; this way our cows graze in our nutrient-rich pastures ensuring they eat when they want, in the best pastures available, as mother nature intended.  We treat our cows kindly, allowing them to roam, and never over milk them. This leads to happy Dexters that produce beautiful marbled beef.

When our non breeding bulls are ready, we supply Andy Fenner at Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants, see with our Dexter beef for his selected customers.

Visit Elgin Ridge and see our special Dexter cattle