Elgin Ridge, a biodynamic pioneer in South Africa's Elgin region

Elgin Ridge winery from the air

Brian and Marion Smith are biodynamic pioneers in the Elgin Valley, with their Elgin Ridge wine estate. I visited them for a look around the vineyards with vineyard manager Taurai Matunbwa, and then a tasting with winemaker Koysie van de Merwe. I really like what’s going on here, and [...]

In Elgin: Corder Wines

I met Ian Corder (above) at Almenkerk, where his wines are made. [As an aside, he kindly offered to take me up in his autogyro to see the Elgin Valley from the air. You can read about this, and watch the video here.] The vineyard that is now Corder Wines  was originally an apple farm when [...]

Elgin wine region: Almenkerk

Almenkerk began when Joep van Almenkerk moved out to South Africa from Belgium in 2002 and bought a 32 hectare apple farm. He wanted to turn it into a wine farm – apples were bad business at the time and the region was looking very promising for grapes – and he asked his son, Joris, [...]

Elgin wine region: visiting Iona, including a Chardonnay vertical

Iona is one of the leading wineries in Elgin. Currently, there are 60 hectares under vine here on two sites, and 400 tons pass through the winery, which on my visit was lacking a roof. Owner Andrew Gunn took it off so he can make the winery a bit taller.

Andrew Gunn, Iona

Winemaking here has [...]

Video and pictures: Elgin from the air

Here’s a short film and some pictures from my gyrocopter flight over Elgin with Ian Corder. It was an amazing experience. But gyrocopters are tiny and it was a little bit scary. Thankfully Ian is a safe pilot.





Elgin Ridge winery

The currently roofless Iona winery

Iona, house


Ian Corder


In the Elgin Valley, South Africa

I’m in South Africa’s Elgin Valley. The reason for my visit is this weekend’s Chardonnay Colloquium, but I’m spending five days here, aiming to get under the skin of the region and understand what’s going on. I previously visited back in 2010, just for one day.

I’m not trying to visit all the producers or try [...]

Notes on the 2016 Cape Winemakers Guild Auction wines

Each year, one of the most anticipated events in the South African calendar is the Cape Winemakers Guild annual auction. Ad it’s coming up next weekend. Special lots of wines made by the Guild’s members are sold off, badged with the famous CWG auction label. These represent some of the Cape’s finest wines, and they [...]

Interesting wines from Bosman Family Vineyards with Corlea Fourie

Corlea Fourie is the winemaker behind Bosman Family Vineyards, based in the Wellington region of South Africa. I caught up with her to taste some interesting new releases, including the fabulous Optenhorst Chenin Blanc, made from vines planted in 1952.

Bosman Fides 2013 Wellington, South Africa
This is a skin-fermented Grenache Blanc. This particular vintage had 8 [...]

Video: interviewing Adi Badenhorst about his new wines

I caught up with Adi Badenhorst at Intrepid last week. He’s got some new wines out. Two in particular really appealed to me: a flor-aged Sauvignon Blanc called John Strikes Again from Under a Veil of Good Fortune, and a stunning Chenin Blanc called Dassiekop Steen.

Here’s the interview:

And notes on the wines:

Badenhorst John Strikes Again [...]

Duncan Savage, Savage Wines: video interview and notes on the latest releases

Duncan Savage was until recently the winemaker at Cape Point. He made a great reputation there, coaxing profound, mineral, saline white wines with proper ageing potential from these interesting, exposed terroirs. A few years back he began his own project, Savage Wines, in tandem with his day job. Earlier this year, he decided to strike [...]