Elgin is a lush plateau completely surrounded by steep mountains forming a natural amphitheater. With vineyards up to 500m above sea level, the higher altitude and colder winters make Elgin the coolest wine region in South Africa. This cool climate allows for the perfect ripening of grapes, creating wines that have freshness, flavour and balance.
Our Elgin Range offers uncompromising quality and accessibility for all wine lovers. Here, purity of fruit is key. Each label is hand-drawn, with its own unique story, borrowed from the annals of Oak Valley’s rich history.
Along the lower foothills of the Groenlandberg Mountain, Sir Antonie Viljoen, the founder of Oak Valley, discovered a crystal clear fresh water spring. So good was this water that Sir Antonie had it piped over many miles to his home and proclaimed it the Fountain of Youth.
During 1898, the year in which Sir Antonie Viljoen purchased Oak Valley, plans were underway to build a pioneering railway from Sir Lowry’s Pass to Caledon. Elgin existed in isolation until the track opened in 1902. The line was chiselled out of solid rock to conquer Sir Lowry’s Pass, the steepest gradient in the country. And so this solid steel on quarried stone would inspire an era of prosperity in Elgin. The era of Stone & Steel.
The South-Easter, known locally as the Cape Doctor, is our prevailing wind in summer. In Elgin, the Cape Doctor blows cold sea air over the vineyards and blankets the valley under cloud. These clouds lower our daytime temperatures and slow the ripening of our chardonnay grapes, leading to better flavour development. Herein lies the magic of Beneath the Clouds.
High on the southern slopes of the Groenland Mountains lies an isolated vineyard exposed to the elements of our cold climate. Wind whistles through the neighbouring fynbos, the only sound that breaks this eerie silence at altitude. Our Pinot Noir takes comfort in austerity. It thrives on hardship. And it lives alone in the Sounds of Silence.
Towering above our mountain vineyard is the Groenlandberg, with its highest peak of 1,181m, higher than Table Mountain. The Groenlandberg has a major influence on fruit development by casting its shadow over the vines and directing cold air down the valley at night.
This range embodies our vision to create Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that speaks to this unique site. Focused exclusively on fruit from these mountain vines, the Groenlandberg range has its own character and we’re only beginning to understand its potential.
The Groenlandberg Chardonnay is hand-picked and sourced from our mountain block situated on a south-facing slope at an altitude of 430m. The high altitude, unique microclimate, and whole bunch wild fermentations, create a wine that is delicate, yet rich in character, carrying a strong sense of place.
The Groenlandberg Pinot Noir is sourced from a selection of south-facing vineyards situated between 430m and 470m above sea level. There is minimal intervention in the cellar. Whole-bunch fermentations, gentle punch downs and a careful approach to oak maturation, create a delicate Pinot that expresses wonderful fruit and a strong sense of place.
The Latin phrase for ‘Clean Slate.’
The concept stems from our imaginary view of Oak Valley as an appellation within the Elgin plateau and our search for new sites that produce exceptional wines. TABULA RASA is single-minded, single vineyard and single clone. With grapes sourced from a handful of vines within a block, focused exclusively on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Our mission is to create wines from a blank canvas that represent the ultimate expression of our terroir.
Fruit is hand-picked from selected vines within our South Ridge block, placed into lugs and meticulously hand sorted at the winery. Whole bunches are tipped into the press with a low free run recovery of 580 litres per ton. The high solid juice undergoes spontaneous fermentation in barrel, with no added yeast or enzymes. A careful approach to oak maturation using lightly toasted new French oak from artisanal Burgundy cooperages encourages finesse, balance and allows the fruit to come to the fore. Barrel maturation for 10 months before racking and bottling.