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Western Cape

TThe Elgin Valley Wine Route’s great allies in producing high-quality wines are altitude and a cool climate. 

Amid a patchwork of farms, vineyards, and fynbos reserves in the foothills of the Hottentots-Holland Mountains, the Elgin Valley Wine Guild’s wine producers find the ideal terroir for growing noble grape varieties. 

Variations in meso-climate, altitudes ranging from 300m to 600m above sea level, and soils ranging from Table Mountain sandstone to Bokkeveld shale combine to shape the character of the New World-style wines from this region. 

On the wine route, cool south-easterly sea breezes follow cold winters with abundant rainfall. 

In this elevated zone, extensive cloud cover during the growing season sees fruit ripen up to 2 months later than it does in other Cape vineyards. In most instances, this extended time on the vine contributes to the harmonious balance of low pH, good natural acidity and ripe flavours found in Elgin wines. 

Along the Elgin Valley Wine Route, visitors will find an abundance of award-wining Sauvignon Blancs, with the distinctive minerality, crisp acidity, freshness and after some maturation –  fruitiness typical of cool-climate whites. 

Elgin’s earthy, terroir-driven Pinot Noir and Syrah wines, with excellent ageing potential, are also grabbing awards and wine lovers attention. 

Additionally, Riesling, Semillon, Chardonnay, Viognier, Gewürztraminer, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and small experimental quantities of Grenache Noir are grown here. 

Certain Elgin Wine Valley Guild estates, including Paul Cluver, Almenkerk, Elgin Vintners, Highlands Road, Oak Valley, Ross Gower and South Hill Vineyards, are open for public tastings. 

Tastings at Arumdale, Belfield, Elgin Heights, Elgin Ridge, Elgin Valley Vineyards, Iona, Kingsbridge and Shannon Vineyards are by appointment only. 

A leisurely self-drive meander along the Elgin Valley Wine Route begins outside the village of Grabouw at Oak Valley Estate. Off the N2, on the Viljoenshoop road, visit Elgin Vintners, a partnership of 6 dedicated grape growers, and the new Almenkerk Winery. 

Return along the Viljoenshoop road and turn right into Highlands Road. Here, you’ll reach Highlands Road Winery, which has a superb deli and offers light lakeside lunches. 

Off Highlands Road, in Valley Road, sample Ross Gower Wines’ Pinot Noir Brut, Elgin’s first Cap Classique (as the sparkling wines from this region are designated). Farther along, South Hill Vineyards has an art gallery and fine-dining restaurant. 

Your final stop on Valley Road is the multiple award-winning estate of Paul Cluver. Its Weisser Riesling noble late harvest is a sweet ending to your Elgin Valley Wine Route adventure. 

Did You Know?

TTravel tips & Planning  info 

Who to contact

Elgin Valley Tourism Bureau / Wine Guild 
Tel: +27 (0)71 267 9785 

How to get here

Take the N2 from Cape Town in the direction of Somerset West, about a 30-minute drive. Follow the N2 over Sir Lowry’s Pass, where you’ll have grand views of False Bay. Still on the N2, you will reach the R321 Villiersdorp road that takes you to Grabouw-Elgin. 

Best time to visit

In spring (September to November), Elgin’s fields, orchards, vineyards and flower gardens are at their most beautiful, while summer is invitingly cool. 

Around the area 

Visit fruit and flower farms, plant nurseries and nature reserves. Outdoor pursuits include horse riding, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, quad biking, mashie golf and water-skiing. 

The Green Mountain Eco Route in the Cape Floral Kingdom has numerous self-drive routes and hiking trails. 

Also, explore nearby Walker Bay, Hermanus, Kleinmond, Pringle Bay, Rooi Els and Betty’s Bay. 

Tours to do

The 4-day Green Mountain Trail is a highlight for hikers. Visit an apple museum and tour the Oude Molen Brandy Distillery. In season, farms and vineyards conduct pack-shed, orchard and cellar tours. 

Get around

Self-drive is the best way to reach and explore the Elgin Valley Wine Route. 

What to pack

Elgin experiences wet, cold winters (June to August), so pack accordingly. Cool summers require a warm jacket or sweater for the evenings. 

Where to stay

Accommodation ranges from farm cottages, guesthouses, B&Bs, hotels and self-catering options to tented accommodation; there are also 5-star boutique hotels. 

What to eat

Country pubs, casual eateries and farm stalls abound in Elgin, and you’ll find fine-dining havens at several wine estates – see the listed sites for options. 

What's happening

The Elgin Valley Market happens every Saturday. Harvest festivals usually take place around April. In summer, local contemporary musicians perform at the Paul Cluver Amphitheatre. Elgin Open Gardens sees 20 gardens open to the public on the last weekend in October and the first weekend in November. 

Best buys 

Buy homemade produce, honey, cheeses and olives from the Orchard, Peregrine and Houw Hoek farm stalls. Also for sale are apple cider, apple juice, roses and indigenous plants. 


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