If you know where to look, you can find a little piece of Tuscany just an hour’s drive from Cape Town. Set on a cool plateau, encircled by iconic mountains, is the Elgin Valley and South Hill. The landscape may be reminiscent of Italy, but the weather here is always temperate and enables the crafting of unique boutique wines.
Developed with passion over the past 21 years, this cool climate wine farm is literally in the coolest area in the Western Cape – not just in temperature but in all that lives on it too. At between 350 to 420 metres above sea level, temperatures in summer here range between 12°C and 25°C while the grapes are ripening. This is ideal for a gradual rise in sugar levels and intense fruit flavours to produce their unique red and white wines. Most of the farm is cooler south-facing slopes, hence the South Hill naming. Elgin has become one of the most sought after wine area’s with a number of iconic wine brands including Tokara, Thelema, Vrede en Lust, Boschendal and more recently Radford Dale investing in farms . Elgin also has its own home spun brands like Oak Valley, Paul Cluver, Iona, Elgin Vintners, Richard Kershaw, Shannon, Lothian, Highlands Road, Oneiric , Paul Wallace Vineyards and a number of other new brands have recently settled in the area. Elgin also has its own established wine route along with many tourist attractions making it an investor friendly region for tourism entrepreneurs.
About 24 hectares of the farm’s 59 hectares is under vine, with another 11 hectares being ideal for planting. Water is abundant here (there are six dams on the property), so you can really plant all you please. Already 70% of the current grape harvest is sold to renowned wineries in the area, the rest is crafted into eight exquisite red and white wines under the South Hill and limited edition Kevin King KK labels. These cool climate wines are not just highly sought after, but award winning too. The red wines are crafted in South Hill’s new wine cellar which has been built with an eye to expansion of the wine brands. The cellar area consists of a production area, red wine maturation cellar, SARS bonded store, offices, stores, workshops and farming equipment storage.
Hospitality is the other enticing offering on South Hill. Set in the vineyards is a luxury six-bedroom guest house built in a contemporary Cape architectural style. Rated four-star, it offers a luxury country escape from the city. While here, you can walk, hike, mountain bike or even go fishing in the expansive dam. The Pump House honeymoon cottage is just for two to cocoon from the world and is particularly convenient for wedding celebrations hosted on the farm. South Hill wedding venue is magical and can comfortably seat 70 guests, though up to 150 can be hosted under marquee. The liquor licence and all other documentation is of course long in place. Day visitors to South Hill can enjoy sumptuous country-style bistro meals at the restaurant and visit the ever-changing art exhibitions in the resident gallery.
So South Hill is not just a boutique winery, grape farm, wedding and conference venue, restaurant and guest accommodation offering, but also a magnificent lifestyle farm property with enormous potential for development. And there’s plenty of space to do so too. It’s hard to imagine it’s just 80km from Cape Town to Tuscany – or as close as you can ever get without a passport.
Price: R39.5m (excluding VAT)