wine-searcher.com / Elgin Wine
Elgin, 40 miles (65km) southeast of Cape Town, is part of the Western Cape wine region of South Africa. Aromatic varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay feel most at home in Elgin’s cool climate and produce wines with highly expressive fruit and character.
Elgin is located in a basin nestled among the Hottentots-Holland Mountains, which separate it from the famous Stellenbosch region. Elgin rises between 820ft and 1300ft (250m to 400m) above sea level and this (coupled with prevailing southerly winds) contributes to the cool climate that characterizes its terroir and wines.
© WOSA/Charmaine Greiger
Proximity to the South Atlantic Ocean, just 7.5 miles away, means lower average temperatures over summer and refreshing early-morning mists. This combination of climate-moderating factors makes for slower, more-gradual ripening and thus more-balanced wines with great depth and complexity of flavor.
The topography gently undulates across the Elgin Valley, providing wine growers with a diverse selection of sites on which to plant their vines. The soil profile also varies, with gravel, sandstone, clay and weathered shale all contributing to the terroir.
Elgin is traditionally famed for its apples. Sir Antonie Viljoen, a medical officer who was placed under house arrest in Elgin during the Boer War, planted the first commercial orchard and vines on his land during his internment. While Elgin still produces around 60% of South Africa’s apple exports, the region is becoming increasingly famous for its cool-climate winemaking.