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SA Wine: Green adventures in the Elgin Valley

A visit to the Elgin Valley and surrounds is sheer green magic. Around an hour’s drive from Cape Town, this region is a firm favourite with outdoor sports enthusiasts, wine connoisseurs and nature lovers alike.

And the good news is that several farms in the area are WWF Conservation Champions – making them leaders in sustainable winemaking while opening their doors to nature enthusiasts too. Here are some reasons to visit.

The wine, of course 

With vineyards located up to 500m above sea level, the high altitude and cold winters make the Elgin valley the coolest wine region in the country – and their proximity to the Cape mountains means wine farms in the area have a responsibility to conserve a unique natural heritage.

Paul Cluver Wines, Oak Valley Estate, Almenkerk, and Elgin Orchards (who supply Elgin Vinters) are leading the pack when it comes to blending wine and biodiversity.

These four WWF Conservation Champion farms are known for their mindful, green approach to farming and winemaking. While producing award-winning wines, they also play their part in protecting our natural heritage.

As trailblazer farms, they have committed to sound conservation principles, assuring green-minded consumers of eco-friendly production practices in both vineyard and cellar. Their commitment spans the management of water, energy, waste and invasive alien vegetation, as well as sustainability.

Beyond this region, there are another 36 WWF Conservation Champions who have worked hard to earn their status as industry leaders. These farms can proudly use the striking Cape sugarbird logo on their wine bottles to demonstrate their dedication to the conservation so look out for it with your next purchase.

You can catch up with some of WWF’s Conservation Champions at the Cool Wine and Country Food Festival on the weekend of 27–28 April. Save the date and tootle through to Elgin to enjoy some seriously cool wine, delicious food and much more.

Cape Canopy Tour. Photo: WWF Rob Tarr

Cape Canopy Tour. Photo: WWF Rob Tarr

Get your heart racing in nature

Whether you want to enjoy nature at a leisurely or heart-racing pace, the Elgin Valley and surrounds have it all, attracting mountain bikers, hikers, trail runners, birders as well as burnt-out city slickers in need of some fresh mountain air.

The little hamlet of Elgin is surrounded by steep mountains, forming a natural amphitheatre. Towering above the valley is the Groenlandberg, its highest peak of 1 181m surpassing that of Table Mountain.This is the heart of the fynbos region and a biodiversity hotspot of note.

Enjoy spectacular natural scenery while hiking on the slopes of the iconic Groenlandberg, traversing parts of Paul Cluver and Oak Valley wine farms. The Green Mountain Trail is especially popular among slackpackers who want to enjoy the great outdoors in relative comfort. This route is the first in the world to be based on the philosophy of sustainable wine production combined with wine tourism.

Adrenaline junky? Look no further than the Cape Canopy Tour– a world-class zipline adventure at the source of the Riviersonderend which traverses the rugged mountainscape of the nearby Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve.

Almenkerk Wine Farm

Almenkerk Wine Farm

Feed your senses – and your tummy

Elgin and its surrounds offer impressive dining options, regular live music events, food markets and more.

Book your table at Salt (Paul Cluver) and The Pool Room (Oak Valley) for an authentic farm-to-fork restaurant experience.

The Elgin Railway Market, situated in a converted apple warehouse, boasts a host of local vendors and live music. This vibey “steampunk station” now even offers rides on a steam train.

The area is also known for its farm stalls offering locally sourced fresh produce and deliciously aromatic baked goods.

Two firm favourites are Houwhoek and Peregrine (the latter a must for their legendary springbok pies).

**You can be a sustainable consumer, such as when choosing wine or wine farms to visit in the Elgin Valley. Support WWF’s Conservation Champions– the eco-leaders in SA’s wine industryand download the Champion Wine Farm Guide app and stand a chance to win some fantastic prizes.

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