The Elgin Fruit Valley
We frequently hear of “Elysian fields”, where valleys are “of beechen green, and shadows numberless”. But where on earth are they to be found?
For almost two centuries, the Elgin valley has been regarded as South Africa’s premier apple farming region. Some of the more famous cultivars include Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Winter Pearmain and Golden Delicious.
And then, about twenty years ago, a horticultural audit was conducted here. The results were pleasantly surprising. For most of the factors which make up a “terroir”, the valley was declared to be almost indistinguishable from Burgundy.
Enter the wine farmers
New but thriving wine estates in the valley include South Hill, Almenkerk, Paul Cluver and Iona.
These and several others are cool climate vineyards, making this region ideally suitable for the production of white wines in particular.
And if you are a connoisseur of Method Cap Classiques, you will find no finer example in the Cape than the delicious wines crafted by Charles Fox at his winery of the same name.
The Elgin Valley has three stand-out eateries of exceptionally high quality – South Hill, where one eats in an art gallery; Fresh, on the Paul Cluver Estate; and Oak Valley, on the estate of the same name. These restaurants will rival or beat anything in the more famous Franschhoek culinary region.
Because the apple cultivars traditionally grown in the Elgin area were not quite suitable for cider production, Mark Stanford imported appropriate root stock from the west of England. Today, Windermere Cider from Elgin is crisp, clear, dry and delicious. While it is available from many outlets in the city, it’s far nicer to purchase from the farm where it is made.
So, where is this Eden to be found?
The Elgin village lies a mere 50 minutes from the city.
Coaches full of tourists? No!
Indifferent restaurant staff? No!
Wines available for tasting too young and raw? No!
Essentially, a visit to Elgin now is very reminiscent of any Cape wine country visit forty years ago, when true Boland hospitality had yet to be compromised by promises of profit.
Contact us if you would like a tour into the Elgin Valley, where the roses of summer are a fantastical added attraction!