The Nuwejaars Wetlands Special Management Area is not only home to critically endangered wildlife. You’ll also find wineries enjoying the special terroir of the Nuwejaars, to make unique cool-climate wine. There are five wineries that are Nuwejaars Wetlands SMA members.
That means these wineries are not only working the land responsibly; they’re also actively protecting their natural landscapes. These are:
1. LANDS END
Lands End was first to plant vineyards in our Elim area in more than a century, planting in 1996. And four years on, they released their Lands End Sauvignon Blanc – the first wine of origin Elim. The wine is now made by Du Toitskloof Winery in Rawsonville. But they use the grapes from our very special countryside, formed in our Nuwejaars conditions.
Strandveld Vineyards allows the cool conditions and hardened landscapes to capture the distinct qualities and characters in their grapes. Strandveld is officially Africa’s southernmost vineyard and winery. And working off 69 hectares, the winemaking team creates the Strandveld and First Sighting wines. www.strandveld.co.za
3. BLACK OYSTERCATCHER
The Black Oystercatcher is a family-run wine farm – creating boutique wines from the 9 hectares of vineyards planted on the Nuwejaars. They operate according to the motto: Working the land with the least possible interference, in the most natural way. The Black Oystercatcher owner and founder, Dirk Human, is also Chair of the Nuwejaars SMA. www.blackoystercatcher.co.za
4. THE BERRIO
The Berrio’s grapes are formed in the very unique Nuwejaars winds. These cooling winds allow the grapes to remain on the vine longer, and that brings greater intensity and layered complexity. Today the Berrio wine is made at the Cederberg Private Cellars – but the grapes are still crafted in our special winds, before they make the journey north. www.theberrio.co.za
5. GHOST CORNER
Ghost Corner Wines also make their award-winning wines at the Cederberg Private Cellars. But their vineyards are situated in the Nuwejaars SMA, and they make the most of our extreme climate. Their inspiration comes from our hazardous coastline, where more than 130 ships have wrecked over the centuries. www.ghostcornerwines.com
What’s so special about our terroir
For one, it’s the only winemaking region IN THE WORLD that’s touched by the maritime influence of two oceans. The south easters and south westers blow off the oceans at the tip of Africa. And it’s here at the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. These are both cool winds – which funnel their way through the vineyards planted in the Nuwejaars. And that in turn keeps the berries small, and crafts intense flavours.
Then there’s the soil
Quite poor in nutrients, but RICH in minerals – like the layers of Koffieklip (Coffee stone), Iron Ferricrete, quartzite, sandstone gravel and shale. These layers add unique flavours and a minerally expression. The vineyards are planted on transformed landscapes, and the surrounding natural Fynbos and Renosterveld are protected, and are being cleared of invasive species one block at a time.
A rich winemaking history
The Elim Wine Route may be one of the newest winemaking regions in South Africa. But it’s steeped in history. In fact, sacramental wine was made here more than a century ago, in the small missionary town of Elim.
During February and March, our Nuwejaars wineries start their harvest season. That’s when the vineyards burst into life, as the grapes are handpicked, and taken to the wineries, where the winemaking process starts. From here, the wine is created, labelled, and bottled. And while the wine from our 5 wineries end up on the shelves of retailers around the world – it all starts on our Nuwejaars landscapes.