Elgin Winter Festival 2019

Winter and wine is a match made in heaven, add a fireplace and the picture is complete. It actually doesn’t really matter the weather or season, when it’s wine time it’s fine time.

There’s nothing quite like the peace and beauty of the Cape Winelands in winter. What better way to experience the wintry winelands of Elgin at its finest! This time of the year the beautiful valley of Elgin greets you with a cold, crisp air as the sun touches the valley for a bit of warmness.

At the Elgin Railway Market – the old apple packing shed – there are delicious food and treats to buy. Anything from curries, samoosas, steaks, burgers, pizzas to pies, fresh juices and L-Gin, an artisanal gin bar serves up local craft gins.

You have to come and see The Beast in action, arguably the most efficient heater in South Africa! It generates a fierce 480-degree heat which makes this place the hottest market in the coolest wine valley.

Elgin Grabouw Tourism hosted their very first Elgin Winter Festival – WINTER, WINE AND WORDS – that took place over the long weekend from 9-11 August 2019 at the Elgin Railway Market with 13 wine producers showcasing their finest wines of Elgin.

We tasted the following wines:


The complex nose leads with citrus, lemontree flower, white peach and fresh coconut complemented with a floral tone that underscores its minerality. The zesty palate is softened by the lees contact, leading to a lingering finish. Typical Elgin cool-climate elegance. Will drink youthfully for the next 2-5 years and can be cellared up to 10 years.

The estate is owned by the Belgian/Dutch van Almenkerk family and run by Natalie and Joris van Almenkerk. They offer both relaxed wine tastings and more technical tastings, depending on your preference. Arrange in advance and they can also give cellar tours as part of the experience.


An attractive rose gold, elegant-style Rosé.  Fresh strawberries and summer red cherries on the nose will entice you to sip and further enjoy this delightful dry Merlot Rose.  An enchanting combination of strawberries, red cherries with a touch of watermelon, supported by a lively acidity smoothed by hints of vanilla, will have you reaching for more. Delicious and refreshing.

In the heart of the Elgin Valley, nestled between vineyard rows, orchards of apples and pears with an amphitheatre of the Kogelberg and Hottentots Holland mountain ranges, lies the brand home of Elgin Vintners on the Elgin Orchards farm which dates back to 1890.


Pale straw coloured with a hint of green. On the nose, flinty grapefruit and cut grass with a subtle undertone of green gooseberry and white peach.  On the palate, a bouncy acidity combines well with the fruit and gravelly flintiness of the typical Elgin Sauvignon Blanc to give this wine a lovely mouthfeel and a lingering finish.

The Highlands Road Estate is a small, family owned and managed estate in the beautiful Elgin valley.


Enticing and exquisitely balanced. The initial aromas of apple and pear are covered by secondary layers of caramel, vanilla and roasted almonds. Well-rounded with a light, fresh citrus mouthfeel and a polished finish that showcase the high-altitude origins.

Idun Wines was born when the family travelled to the southwest coast of South Africa to scout out a special needs school for their son Leo. On their visit, they passed through the fruitful Elgin Valley, which is as famous for its outstanding wines as it is for its delicious apples.


On the nose the Iona Sauvignon Blanc 2018 has a beautiful purity of lime and ripe gooseberry with tropical, floral and fine herbal notes. There is some ruby grapefruit and white pear drop on the finish. This cool climate Sauvignon Blanc is vibrant, mineral, elegant, balanced and delicate with a long layered and complex finish.

The Iona vineyards are set on a mountain plateau that is 420 meters above the sea level. They are surrounded by the beautiful Kogelberg Nature Reserve and enjoy the cool breeze that comes off the Atlantic Ocean.


The nose is delicate and hints of dark cherries. The first taste impression is of the silkiness and fineness of the tannins. All the elements of the bouquet persist. The balanced wooding, the gentle handling of the grapes during the ferment, shows in the quality of the tannin profile. It is fine-grained but lends a strength and presence to the wine not apparent from the entry.

On the banks of the Palmiet River lies Lothian Vineyards and the architectural marvel that is Lothian House.


Oak Valley ‘Fountain of Youth’ Sauvignon Blanc expresses fruit aromas of passion fruit, white peach and litchi with a slight herbaceous undertone. Flavours of passion fruit persist on the palate, particularly granadilla, lemons, white pear, gooseberry and a lovely saline finish that reminds one of fresh oyster shells or sea salt.

In 1989, Sir Antoine Viljoen, the founder of Oak Valley, discovered a crystal clear fresh water spring on the lower foothills of the Groenlandberg Mountain range soon after his purchase of the property. So good was this water that Sir Antoine had it piped over many miles to his home and proclaimed it the fountain of youth.


The grapes for this Sauvignon Blanc are grown on Shannon Vineyards in the cool climate of the Elgin Valley where meticulous viticulture leads to a flavour expression of citrus blossom, pear, fynbos and white pepper. 

Shannon Vineyards is situated in the Elgin Valley within the Kogelberg Biosphere with mountains on our western boundary and the Peninsula Dam forming the eastern boundary. The Elgin Valley which has long been regarded as the apple and pear centre of South Africa, now has some of the country’s most highly regarded winemakers establishing vineyards in the area, testament to its obvious winemaking potential.


The colour is pale, with a beautiful green apple tint. The nose shows fresh green apple, apple blossom, beeswax and fynbos honey notes. The palate is crisp and clean – lemon sorbet-like. There is a great interplay between the naturally retained residual sugar and the acidity. It is the reason for the wine structure and the lingering after taste.

Paul Cluver Wines is a family owned and family run winery, focused on producing wines that reflect the uniqueness of the cool-climate Elgin terroir. The family is proud to have pioneered the Elgin appellation and for being seen as a leader in the sustainable farming.


A bouquet of tropical fruits with hints of gooseberry, pear and apple on the palate backed by an underlying mineral core. Acidity is well balanced with a long finish.

Surrounded by vineyards, natural dams with abundant bird life and unparalleled sunsets, Wallovale Vineyards, the Home of Paul Wallace Wines, is a little piece of paradise.


A crisp, cool climate wine with generous passion fruit and black currant aromas. This wine has a soft, well integrated natural acidity with a well-balanced concentrated palate with no hint of greenness and a long finish.

South Hill wine farm is situated on the cool mountain plateau of Elgin, right in the heart of apple country, about eight kilometers from the N2 highway along the Valley Road. Known for its excellent wines, South Hill is surrounded by the Kogelberg mountains, orchards, fynbos and indigenous trees.


The highlight at the Elgin Winter Festival was an off-the-record wooded Chenin Blanc from the Elgin Valley. The Elgin Valley is the natural home for lovers of fresh food, cool-climate wines and beautiful country living.

The wine has an attractive pale straw colour. A broad spectrum of flavours unfolds delightfully on the palate with a full, rich buttery mouthfeel. On the nose an explosive character of citrus and lime awaits you. Layers of complexity culminate in a long lingering finish.

The Elgin Winter Festival was a huge success. An array of activities were offered at various venues throughout the Valley over the weekend, with an impressive schedule of events designed to entertain and warm the hearts of visitors young and old.


Saturday 12 October 2019 will see Chardonnay aficionados flock to South Hill Vineyards in Elgin for the fourth annual Elgin Chardonnay Colloquium.

A panel of four wine experts, Richard Kershaw MW, Cathy Marston, Dan Nicholl of The Dan Nicholl Show and Joe Wadsack, UK drinks expert and TV host, will guide guests through Elgin’s elegant Chardonnays created in the valley’s unique cool climate.

Producers will showcase their 2017 vintage at a morning tasting, and the afternoon will comprise a blind tasting of Elgin Chardonnays, chosen by a select panel, pitted against top Chardonnays from around the world.

In addition to the incredible Chardonnays, there will be bubbly, welcome drinks and snacks, a harvest table lunch, and drinks and eats at the close of the day, offering time for guests to relax and chat with fellow Chardonnay lovers, producers and the panel.

Categories: Almenkerk Wine Estate, Elgin Ridge Wines, Elgin Valley, Event, Highlands Road Wines, Idun Wines, Iona Wines, Lothian Vineyards, Oak Valley Wine Estate, Oneiric Wines, Paul Cluver, Paul Wallace Wines, Shannon Vineyards, South Hill VineyardsTags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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