Did you know?
Elim in Agulhas is named after the biblical place where Moses reputedly rested the Israelites on their way to the Promised Land (Exodus 15:27).
Elim Winegrowers’ vineyards hark back to 1824 when Moravian missionaries founded a mission station, and planted vines for sacramental winemaking purposes.
Winemaking on the Elim wine route began in earnest in 1992, when Elim’s soils were found to be not just feasible, but desirable for viticulture. Wine connoisseurs agree that few Cape wines reveal their terroir as forcefully and peculiarly as those from the Elim Winegrowers.
Fierce winds from the Atlantic Ocean batter the the Agulhas peninsula on three sides, year-round. Consequently, Elim’s vineyards benefit from the consistently cool conditions, and vines withstand the harsh environment by growing low, to produce pea-sized grapes that ripen slowly, yielding layers of intense fruit and natural acidity.
Soil types found on this Overberg wine route range vary intensely from shale and sandstone to hard-wearing conglomerate rock, called 'Koffieklip' ('coffee stone'), from which local houses are built.
The herbaceous and mineral-like flavours in Elim wines are attributable in part to the high soil variances (with up to five different types in a single vineyard block), winter rainfall and coastal mists that increase salinity levels in Elim’s soils.
Noted for their non-conformist Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz wines, six wine estates make up the Elim Winegrowers, all of whom have incorporated their farms into the Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (SMA), with the aim of preserving the endangered flora and fauna of the Agulhas Coastal Plain.
Farms on the Elim wine route are located close together, so it’s possible to explore them all in one day, including a wine estate in nearby Napier.
For tar all the way, take the R317 from Bredasdorp, to Strandveld Vineyards, with a small deviation off the R317, on the Wolvengat road, your first stop. ??Return to the R317 and visit Black Oystercatcher, The Berrio, Hidden Valley Wines and Zoetendal vineyards.
A walking tour through Elim village is an option before heading to Quoin Rock vineyards. Either before or after reaching Bredasdorp, make a point of visiting the estate of Jean Daneel and the Dragonfly Farm for organic goat's cheese in Napier.
With wines to match its astonishing geography, the Elim wine route may lead your palate into unchartered territory, but like Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama’s first expeditionary voyage around Cape Agulhas, some risks are so worth taking.