Geert De Baere
Elgin Ridge - Biologische wijnen uit Elgin
Elgin Ridge is een biologisch én biodynamisch gecertifieerd wijndomeinen in Zuid-Afrika. Eigenaars Brian en Marion Smith verhuisden in 2006 van het Verenigd Koninkrijk en kochten in 2007 een kleine vervallen appelboerderij in Elgin.
Hun eerste aanplantingen waren Sauvignon Blanc. Nu zijn er al 6,5 ha wijngaarden aangeplant. Op 282 meter boven zeeniveau is Elgin Ridge gezegend met koude winters en warme zomers. Dit zijn natuurlijk dè ideale omstandigheden om wijn te verbouwen.
De wijngaarden worden bemest met de mest van hun eigen koeien, de schapen wieden en grazen tussen de druivenranken, kippen en ganzen bestrijden slakken en andere insecten.
Minimale interventie in de kelder, zodat de smaken en kenmerken van de wijngaard, het terroir, optimaal in het glas te proeven zijn.
The home of Elgin’s only certified organic and biodynamic wine estate
The unique Elgin Ridge wine estate is situated on mountain slopes in South Africa’s Elgin valley, a small yet significant region within the famous Cape Winelands and located just one hour’s drive from Cape Town. From this vantage point, endless panoramic views stretch out over our vineyards to reveal the valley below, framed by rugged mountain peaks and dotted with lush, green farms.
Traditionally, Elgin has been renowned for its apple and pear production. Thanks to the combination of high altitude and cool climate conditions, diverse soils and a multitude of micro-climate sites, Elgin’s terroir is also ideal for wine production. Over the past few decades, the Elgin wine valley has firmly established itself as an exceptional appellation both locally and internationally.
At 282 metres above sea level, Elgin Ridge is blessed with cold winters and warm summers – ideal growing conditions for vineyards. With the Atlantic Ocean lying just on the other side of the mountain, our farm is fanned by cooling coastal breezes which help to moderate temperatures even further. This cool climate effect results in a longer ripening period, which makes for perfectly balanced, elegant and expressive wines.
A pioneering spirit has always prevailed at Elgin Ridge, the only certified organic wine producer in Elgin and one of just two certified biodynamic wine producers in South Africa. Our philosophy of organic and biodynamic wine, made naturally, begins in the vineyard and ends in the bottle. Every bottle that displays the Elgin Ridge name truly represents our passion for sustainability and dedication to quality.
The Elgin Ridge Story
Years ago, before Elgin Ridge was even a twinkle in their eyes, owners Brian and Marion Smith sold their successful IT business in London and decided that it was time to pursue a dream that they’d always shared – to make small quantities of outstanding wines which reflect their passion.
Thus began a search that took them to most of the wine-growing regions of Europe, but without finding “the perfect site”. They cast their gaze further afield and the journey led them to discover the Elgin valley in South Africa in April 2007. This tiny valley, with its unique terroir, natural beauty and undeniable character, captured their hearts – it was the perfect place to turn their dream into reality.
The site itself, a modest 10 hectare apple farm, was neglected and had remained fallow for many years, but showed great potential. Papers were signed, the Smiths readied themselves for the permanent move to South Africa and our very first vines – Sauvignon Blanc – were planted. Thus began the story of Elgin Ridge!
Outstanding Natural Wines of Authenticity
From the very beginning, our objective was to farm organically. This decision was championed by Marion right from the start, who was committed to farming in a way that is sustainable and truly reflective of the site. For Marion, organic was always the only option.
Today, Elgin Ridge is proudly certified biodynamic by Demeter (since 2016) and certified organic by ECOCERT (since 2012) and CERES, (since 2019). We are the only certified organic producer in the Elgin valley and one of just two certified biodynamic producers in the whole of South Africa.
Our vineyards are and have always have been completely untouched by chemicals. Vineyard manager Taurai Matunbwa knows each and every inch of our farm like the back of his hand. We have a hardworking team of animals who assist Taurai, who all play vital roles – from our Percheron horse Maddox (now enjoying his retirement) who helped with weeding and ploughing in the beginning, to our herd of Dexter cattle which provide us with nutrient-rich manure, Dorper sheep which keep the vineyards weed free, and free-roaming Peking ducks and chickens whose appetites keep snails and bugs at a minimum. We also produce all of our own biodynamic compost needs, rich in nutrients and teeming with living micro-organisms, which keeps our soils and vines in optimal condition.
In the Vineyard
At Elgin Ridge, we work every single day to maintain our certified biodynamic and organic vineyards. Of paramount importance is the soil, as this is the home of our vines and imparts a sense of place on each and every grape. This over-arching focus (or obsession – and proudly so!) not only gives our vines nourishment that is sustainable, but ensures that the wines they produce truly tell a story of the site itself.
The adage “good wine begins in the vineyards” couldn’t hold more truth. The Elgin valley in fact has a cool climate similar to that of Burgundy, the French appellation famous for producing elegant and subtle wines, sought the world over.
Our vineyard practices include the production of our own biodynamic compost and use of biodynamic preparations, as well as the daily efforts of our team of hardworking animals – “weed eating” is undertaken by Dorper sheep, snail and insect management is seen to by Peking ducks and chickens, and our herd of miniature Dexter cows keep up a steady supply of enriching manure.
Our vines are rooted at 282 metres above sea level, in soils which have been completely untouched by chemicals. With the highest quality grapes, where there is a perfect natural balance, there is less to do in the cellar – which seamlessly complements our winemaking philosophy of “minimal intervention”. This results in more flavour and expression in the glass and creates a natural approach throughout from vine to bottle.