Category Archives: Elgin Wine Route

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! 

Taste the Only Organic Pinot in South Africa

04 April 2013 Pinot Noir

On the 6th and 7th of April Elgin Ridge, as part of the Elegantly Elgin Open Wine Weekend, is offering you an unique opportunity to taste and pre order the first organic Pinot Noir in South Africa. The wine has been produced to strict European Organic Standards.

Bunches were 100% de-stemmed, with natural fermentation, and 10 months in 20% new French Oak.

Only 1400 Bottles of this unique wine were produced.

The colour is bright medium to dark red with red summer fruits and hints of warm spices, cinnamon and cloves on the nose

The palate is fruit forward on entry, cherries and raspberries with a slight herbal note on mid-palate with a long finish. The tannins are balanced and approachable.

1st Bottle of Pinot Noir at Elgin Ridge
1st Bottle of Pinot Noir at Elgin Ridge

Alcohol 13.5%, Sugar 2.2 g/l, PH 3.6, TA 5.0 g/l, Free SO2 28, Total SO2 61

Cellar Price R250.00 inc VAT

Proud winemakers, Niels Verburg and Brian Smith,
holding the first South African organic pinot noir.

Marion and Brian

Twitter @ElginRidgeWines

Elegantly Elgin Wine Route launches

Elegantly Elgin LogoWine estates of the Elgin Valley are fortifying their strengths as they prepare to launch an official wine route on the 6th – 7th  October. The wine route aptly named, Elegantly Elgin, will provide the opportunity for visitors and  wine lovers to regularly experience the superior and complex structured wines synonymous with this district.

With a wealth of medals and acclaimed awards from  local and international wine fraternities behind them,  the Elgin Valley wine producers have entered the final straight in forming an official Wine Route. The route is set to take flight through a concept called “Open Wine Weekends”, where once a month sixteen wine estates will open their cellar doors to wine lovers to fully experience all the Elgin wine has to offer. Cellars will be creating an experiential weekend around wine during these open wine weekends with a focus on specific varietals each month. The estates will run normal operations for the remaining part of the month.

Monthly Themed campaigns:

6 -7 October: Flagship Wines – Celebration of Cool Climate Wines
3 -4 November and 10 – 11 November: A Sauvignon Blanc Celebration
open for 2 weekends to coincide with Open Gardens
1 -2 December: A Chardonnay Celebration
5-6 January: Elegantly Elgin Whites (aromatic blends)

Elgin Wine Week End bannerDuring  Varietal themed months –  i.e.  In November the theme will be Sauvignon Blanc wines from the area, we will highlight the best  cellar doors to visit for consumers who are specifically looking for superior Sauvignon Blanc wines in that month. All wineries will have their full range available for tastings, as the varietal themed month is an added benefit to our visitor experience.

The members range from our famous historic estates, frequently publicised, to a growing number of new estates, who together have all contributed towards strengthening Elgin’s offering and placed us firmly on the wine route map. The Sixteen Estates are in alphabetical order: Almenkerk ; Arumdale ; Elgin Ridge; Elgin Vintners; Hannay & Catherine Marshall Wines; Highlands Road Wines, Iona Vineyards; Lothian Wines; Mofam Wines ;Oak Valley Wines; Oude Molen Brandy Distillery; Paul Cluver Wines; Shannon Vineyards; Spioenkop Wine; South Hill Wines; Winters Drift

The Elgin Wine Weekend is the perfect way to experience wines of the valley  and discover why this region  is fast becoming a most celebrated wine-producing area of the Cape.  Here, acclaimed vines benefit from diverse soils and cool maritime breezes which ensure perfect conditions for slow ripening. This allows the grapes to develop their intense flavours, great natural acidity, complexity and strong core of elegance. The wines are predominantly fruity and Sauvignon Blanc, Rhine Riesling, Pinot Noir and Shiraz fare particularly well in this region.

We invite you to join us and enjoy the hospitality as the estates display the fruits of their labour. It is a celebration of the distinctive flavours from the district. Come and enjoy the classic expressions of Elgin Wine.

For more detailed  information on the open wine weekends please log onto www.elginwine.co.za
Come and meet the people behind the wines of Elgin and drink in our passion.

Establishing the ELEGANTLY ELGIN WINE ROUTE as a designation for wine lovers.

Founding Members, in alphabetical order, Almenkerk ; Arumdale ; Elgin Ridge ;Elgin Vintners; Hannay & Catherine Marshall Wines; Highlands Road Wines, Iona Vineyards; Lothian Wines; Mofam Wines ;Oak Valley Wines; Oude Molen Brandy Distillery; Paul Cluver Wines; Shannon Vineyards; Spioenkop Wine; South Hill Wines; Winters Drift

Event Details:
Event Name: Elegantly Elgin Wine Route Launch Weekend
Date: 06 – 07 October 2012
Varietal Focus for month of October: Flagship Wines a celebration of Cool Climate wines
Time: 10h00 – 17h00
Venue: 16 Wine estates located on the Elegantly Elgin Map.

Event Name: Elegantly Elgin Open Wine Weekend
Date: 03– 04 November  and the 10- 11 November 2012
Varietal Focus for month of November: A Sauvignon Blanc Celebration
Time: 10h00 – 17h00
Venue: 16 Wine estates located on the Elegantly Elgin Map.

Event Name: Elegantly Elgin Open Wine Weekend
Date: 01 – 02  December 2012
Varietal Focus for month of December: Chardonnay Celebration
Time: 10h00 – 17h00
Venue: 16 Wine estates located on the Elegantly Elgin Map.

Event Name: Elegantly Elgin Wine Route Launch Weekend
Date: 05 – 06 January 2013
Varietal Focus for month of January: New Year celebration of Elegantly Elgin Whites (Aromatic blends)
Time: 10h00 – 17h00
Venue: 16 Wine estates located on the Elegantly Elgin Map.