The home of really cool wines: farms to visit in Elgin

Posted on 25 July 2023 By David Henning

The reason Elgin is a renowned apple region is thanks to its cool climate, but there are plenty of wine farms in Elgin. With winter regularly falling below zero. Elgin rises between 250m to 400 above sea level meaning lower summer temperatures and misty mornings. This nippiness allows for a slower, more gradual ripening of fruit perfect for varieties such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. 

Wine farms in Elgin

Elgin is the coldest wine-growing region in South Africa, rising between 250m to 400m  and in close proximity to the ocean. This means lower summer temperatures and misty mornings. This nippiness allows for a slower, more gradual ripening of fruit perfect for varieties such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. 

In fact, Elgin is said to be one of the top wine regions in the world to watch out for, with their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir world-class. Don’t just skip this region with blinkers set on the Overberg – you don’t have to all the way to the Hemel and Aarde Valley to get great Pinot, it’s right here on Cape Town’s doorstep.

Also read: A classy pub crawl: 5 wine Bars in Stellenbosch

Wine farms in Elgin

Paul Cluver

Paul Cluver’s wines alongside their seasonal summer menu.

For a fourth-generation family farm, the Cluvers have their vision fully set on the future. Paul Cluver Sr had just received recognition for his environmental practices, receiving the WWF’s Living Planet award- He was also the first landowner in the Western Cape to sign a perpetuity contract to legally bind part of the farm to Cape Nature’s Stewardship programme. Their restaurant always has a seasonal menu, many ingredients sourced straight from their own garden and goes oh so well with their wines. You would be amiss to not pull in for a tasting or lunch at Paul Cluver if you not staying in Elgin, although we strongly recommended that you do – see our list of places to stay here

Charles Fox

Elgin matches so much with Champagne, the climate, the soils, and the grapes. Charles Fox is the only MCC farm in the country, with all their grapes going towards making something sparkling.

This family-owned farm run by Charles Fox and his wife, Zelda is a must-visit. It is also the only exclusively MCC farm in the country and one that is producing some fine examples of a South African sparkling wine.

Paul Wallace

Another family-run farm was meant to sell its grapes to other farms, but a successful batch of Malbec made in the garage prompted the Wallace’s to reconsider. That, and another winemaker feeling as though one of their wines was coming onto him. 

Their Sauvignon Blanc, aptly named Little Flirt, got its name when the Wallaces were providing Sauvignon Blanc for Spier. On one occasion, the winemaker called them in and said that their batch of Savvy B was flirting with him and that it can’t just go into a blend. He sold some of it back to the Wallaces and their Sauvignon was born. 

Each of the wines has a story, you just have to visit them to find out more. 


Wine farms in Elgin

The living plant wall as you enter into the manor house at Lothian Vineyards

From the moment you drive in and see the villa, your jaw drops. A large villa is essentially on a peninsula on a lake, meaning the building is surrounded by water. It is like a lush tropical jungle when you walk inside, with contemporary art and flash chic interiors – you could easily forget that you are here to taste wine. 

They make a fantastic Mouvrede rose and are also one of the few places where the winemaker is also a master of wine. Tastings by appointment only and it’s worth the detour.  

Oak Valley

A wine farm named after, well you can guess, the amount of oak trees on the farm, with its founder declaring that anyone who cuts down one of the oaks, will go to prison. I was told that the long oak table in the tasting room is from a tree that fell down on the property, and no one was detained. 

A predominantly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir producer (it is Elgin after all), the designs for each label were beautifully hand-drawn, complementing the contents of the bottle perfectly. Their tasting room is also the permanent home of the award-winning restaurant, The Melting Pot, so be sure to pair your favourite bottle with lunch.

Elgin Vintners

Wine farms in Elgin

A place where you can go for a classic wine and food pairing – wood-fired pizza. Elgin Vintners are known for their Merlot, which has won coveted awards over the years. But with this being Elgin, their Pinot Noir and and Chardonney are naturally good.

The Elgin Cool Wine Shop

A major reason people visit Elgin is to visit the Elgin Railway Market and fortunately, you can sample some of the region’s great wines right there. Their fantastic staff will advise you on just which bottles you need to take home and may convince you to stay for just one more glass.

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ALSO READ: Places to stay in Hogsback


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