Who would have expected such decadence to be found around Gansbaai? The environmental extremities of this area did not make a likely candidate to produce fine wine. Yet somehow, the wine connoisseurs of this area have managed to tame the wild climate into a symphony of flavours.
To say that people in South Africa ‘like’ their wine is a serious understatement. Drinking wine has become a hobby, a form of art, a way of South African life. The swirl of the liquid in the glass as the rich woody or fruity smell encompasses your senses is in one word: satisfaction. One drop contains within it the unique geography and subtle variance of each wine maker’s style.
The wineries in South Africa could easily challenge the popular likes of France and Italy and the wines originating in the Gansbaai area are no different. The wine pioneers of Gansbaai take pride in their ability to recreate South Africa’s tradition in every drop, while also offering an entirely unique experience.
Elim lies between Bredarsdorp and Gansbaai, and is popularly dubbed “the graveyard of ships” due to the untamed Cape storms that have devoured countless ships. The wine makers of this region embrace the task of creating quality wine just as the seamen embrace a venture into the unknown: with determination and passion. One of the environmental factors that impact the growth of the vines is the fierce south-west and -easterly winds. The winds obstruct vertical growth, but also encourage the vines to harness their energy into a more concentrated fruit. The culmination of this unique and challenging environment produces wines that truly embody the lay of the land.
A trip through the wine route in Elim is highly recommended not just because of its unique flavours but also because it is the most southern wine route in Africa. Along the way a stop through the B’Bos Art Route would add a dash of culture and intrigue to this wine-tasting extravaganza. A meander through Baardskeerdersbos could entail a look through the interesting art on display, a glimpse into the allure of rural life and a visit to one of the local bars for a beer (or more wine) and a burger. The local bars are a great opportunity to meet the interesting locals that inspire these artists.
The only way to truly enjoy a wine route is to take it leisurely. One should never rush the act of swirling and sipping wine when you have an unbelievable view of mountains, fynbos and fresh pastures. Thankfully Gansbaai is blessed with an array of well suited accommodation options and locals that will go out of their way to make you feel welcome. So cleanse your pallet, clear you senses and embark on a new kind of wine-tasting adventure in Gansbaai.