At the southern-most tip of Africa, where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, one finds the 'Cape of Storms', or more commonly, Cape Agulhas. On this peninsula lies the Elim ward and Overberg region, where we source the grapes for Indwe Sauvignon Blanc. Indwe is the Xhosa name for the Blue Crane, South Africa's national bird. It is an endangered species and endemic to South Africa, particularly the Overberg region. The Blue Crane is very special to the amaXhosa and amaZulu, often associated with warriors and royalty.
Owner and Winemaker is Trizanne Barnard. During her productive vinous career, she has seized every possible opportunity to broaden her knowledge and experience, pressing them for every drop of goodness they offered, enriching her life, her work and her wine. With a B.Sc Agric under her belt she stepped into the real world of wine, completing harvests in Western Australia, Alsace, Bordeaux, Rhone and Douro Valley. Back on home soil, after a year at Klein Constantia she was challenged with setting up a winery in the Helderberg. After four successful years,she decided it was time to venture on my own, creating her own project.
The historic mission settlement of Elim on the Agulhas Plain comprises 6 500 hectares of land. Half of this land is under agriculture and for the past one hundred years has been cultivated and the remaining + 3 000 hectares of Elim ferricrete fynbos is managed by the Moravian Church and the community at the Elim mission station.
Elim was established in 1824 by Moravian missionaries and sacramental wine was required for church services, and the first vineyard planting in this region subsequently occurred over 100 years ago however viticulture didn't really establish until 1997 when it resumed again.
First Vineyard plantings: 1996 – Lands End. After Lands End, The Berrio planted the next vineyards in 1997.
Producers in Elim: The Berrio: 33.7 hectares (planted with 80% of white grape varietals)
Black Oystercatcher: 18 hectares (planted with 68% of white grape varietals)
First Sighting: 70 hectares (planted with 55% of white grape varietals)
Zoetendal: 7.46 hectares (planted with 85% of white grape varietals)
Total hectares of vineyards 129.16 Ha = 319.161 Acres
White grape varietals found on Elim: approximately 80% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Semillon and the rest is small parcels of Viognier, Nouvelle. The unique terroir of the Elim ward with the prevailing winds due to its proximity to both ocean masses provide a very cool ripening season, ideal for Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
The constant sea breezes creates chills in the air even on the hot summer days, therefor the vines are constantly cooled down and endeavors a long ripening period. This in affect allows the vine to absorb nutrients over time and developing a complex array of flavors and body. The harsh conditions caused by the coastal winds restrict vegetative growth of the vines, resulting in more concentration in the fruit. Together with the unique flavor profile, the grapes acid is in balance and rarely if ever needs any acid adjustments, assuring a very natural end product, with very little interference during the wine making process. Together with the distinctive cold air of Elim due to proximity to the oceans, the diverse soils are another important factor contributing to Elim's unique terroir. It is believed that Elim being part of the most southern tip of Africa is situated on a coastal shelf that formed close to 900 million years ago and it is believed that it was once part of Antarctica. Diverse soils range from sandstone, to cold laterite soils- Iron Ferro Crete and Quartzite and broken shale – ensuring minerality, tropical notes, depth and structure in the wine.
The Agulhas area receives approximately 450 mm of rainfall per year. With the high chill factor due to the constant winds, there is little excess moisture during the rainy periods allowing for very good dormancy – which is not common in coastal vineyards. Although Elim does not receive a very high rainfall, there is speculation that a huge underground lake resides beneath the coastal shelf – due to the occurrence of lots of fresh water springs, therefore irrigation is hardly necessary once the vineyards have been established.
The Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grapes from this area are proving to develop and become more expressive with every vintage, showing freshness, fullness and balance along with ample persistence even early on, with remarkable potential to develop further in the bottle.
There is a new emphasis upon biodiversity in the Cape Agulhas area. Elim is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom and the winegrowers are vital to the survival of the Fynbos plant. With the Biodiversity and Wine initiative, the impact of farming on the natural vegetation is being addressed and aims to encourage farmers to reduce carbon footprint and farm more sustainably.
"There’s plenty of variety (and harvest-time driving) in Trizanne Barnard’s vinicultural life – even beyond making wines for her own not insubstantial brand with grapes from both cool Elim, Darling and warm Swartland, her elegant, restrained vinifications happening in rented space at far-away Cape Point Vineyards. She also sources grapes and wine for offshore clients, including bulk wines. Exports of these and her signature bottlings are increasing yearly, she affirms."
- Platter's Winery of the Week (May 24th 2017)