Tackling the prospects of climate change by sharing knowledge and experience is one of the drivers behind the formation of the Agulhas Wine Triangle (AWT).
There are currently eight (8) brand owner members, located in a triangle stretching from Gansbaai in the west to Napier, across to Buffeljags and Malgas in the north east and incorporating Elim in the very south.
The locally-based members are Lomond, Bruce Jack Wines, Olivedale Wines, Sijnn, Black Oystercatcher and Strandveld Vineyards. The two other members are Ghost Corner and Trizanne Signature Wines both of whom source their fruit in this area.
“Climate change has made the Cape’s cool regions more important than ever. I’m very excited about what’s happening in the Agulhas Wine Triangle” says Tim Atkin MW.
We anticipate that the trend to planting in cooler areas will continue and predict there will be more vineyards along our Southern coast, where they benefit from the prevailing ocean winds. And, like elsewhere in the world our growers will also experiment with hardier, drought –resistant varieties, which we’ve seen with The Drift Estate, Sijnn and Olivedale Wines.
This latest collaboration in the South African wine industry brings together wineries flourishing in one of South Africa’s most extreme viticultural terrains, as well as some of South Africa’s most celebrated winemakers. Cold, sea-borne winds sweep inland across the Agulhas plain where it is believed that 330 million years ago Africa and Antarctica were once part of the same giant continent. The resultant soils are unique in the world.
Today the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet at Cape Agulhas, Africa’s most Southern point. It’s an area exceptionally rich in biodiversity, and the members’ shared commitment to protecting the extraordinary abundance of plant and bird life as well as the great white sharks, whales and plentiful sea life is another driver that brings these wineries together. The Elim growers have for example, along with several neighbours, created the remarkable Nuwejaars Wetland SMA, successfully re-introducing hippos and buffalo to the area, with many other similar initiatives by members within the AWT.
The maritime climate and cool ocean winds result in lower yields and gradual ripening of the grapes with the result that the wines from the Agulhas Wine Triangle show a very distinctive common theme of elegance, with concentrated flavour and depth. The Agulhas Wine Triangle collaborative aims to highlight the wines from this climatically distinct region which they believe is poised to be the next exciting discovery to unfold in the South African portfolio.
Traveling Sommelier and respected wine judge, Higgo Jacobs says “We should acknowledge and celebrate the incredibly unique identity of Sauvignon blanc and Semillon whites from the Agulhas Wine Triangle. The flavor pointers for this well-awarded terroir is globally recognizable and the wines retain their freshness and only really come into its own after some years in the bottle.”
The collaborative is managed by André Morgenthal who is well known for his work on South Africa’s Old Vine project and for his roles in wine tourism, along with Nadia Hefer, qualified winemaker and MBA in Responsible Management. André believes that wine tourism will feature strongly in the region’s growth and describes the tourist experiences as refreshingly authentic- perfect for explorers and adventurers.
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