The Elgin Ridge wine estate is situated on mountain slopes in South Africa’s Elgin valley, a small yet significant region within the famous Cape Winelands and located just one hour’s drive from Cape Town. At 282 metres above sea level, the cold winters and warm summers create ideal growing conditions for grapes. The Atlantic Ocean lies just on the other side of the mountain and the farm is fanned by cooling coastal breezes which result in a longer ripening period.
Owners Brian and Marion Smith sold their successful IT business in London when they decided that it was time to pursue their shared dream: to make small quantities of outstanding wines. Their search began in the wine-growing regions of Europe – where they did not find their ‘perfect site’ – and then broadened to South Africa resulting in their discovery of the Elgin valley in April 2007. The land they found was a modest and neglected 10 hectare apple farm but it showed great potential. The Smiths moved to South Africa permanently and their first vines – Sauvignon Blanc – were planted.
From the very beginning, the Smith’s objective was to farm organically and today Elgin Ridge is the only certified organic wine producer in Elgin and one of just two certified biodynamic wine producers in South Africa. Their vineyards are, and have always have been, completely untouched by chemicals. Vineyard manager Taurai Matunbwa knows each and every inch of the farm like and a hardworking team of animals all play vital roles – from their Percheron horse, Maddox (now enjoying his retirement) who helped with weeding and ploughing in the beginning, to a herd of Dexter cattle which provide nutrient-rich manure, Dorper sheep which keep the vineyards weed free, and free-roaming Peking ducks and chickens whose appetites keep snails and bugs at a minimum. Biodynamic compost, rich in nutrients and teeming with living micro-organisms, keeps soils and vines in optimal condition.
Elgin Ridge is 282 metres above sea level, so it seemed appropriate to name the 282 Sauvignon Blanc for the altitude of the vines planted.