Yearning for summer, crayfish and wine in Doringbaai

FRYER’S COVE VINEYARDS on South Africa’s West Coast some three-and-half hours drive north of Cape Town are so close to the sea that there is a distinct maritime influence on the wines! In fact some of their grapes grow just 600m from the waves where the cold Atlantic Ocean crashes onto the shores of Doringbaai, the fishing village south of Strandfontein. Moreover, the office and wine-tasting rooms are in the little harbour, right at the water’s edge, with one of the tasting venues literally on the pier. We’re talking about extreme winemaking, with Jan van Zyl looking after the vines while his partner and brother-in-law Wynand Hamman is in charge of the cellar. Irrigation water is delivered by way of a 30km pipeline, and the winemakers rely on a cooling system for the fermentation tanks that runs through the sea-water below the pier…

Fryer's Cove Tasting Room - jpg (smaller)

The tasting room at Fryer’s Cove, Doringbaai

Doringbaai is one of those remote getaway destinations. The population is small, there’s peace and quiet and a natural beauty – wind-swept and somewhat desolate in parts. There’s a guesthouse, one or two places to lunch at, and a lighthouse…

Fryer’s Cove’s first vines were planted little more than a decade ago and a winery on the premises where a crayfish factory once thrived was only completed last year, but today this is one of the must-visit SA wine cellars for those with a sense of adventure and a love for  the great outdoors – Doringbaai is also popular for whale-watching, spring flowers, eco-tourism.

The first remarkable vintage for Fryer’s Cove Vineyards was 2005, with their Sauvignon Blanc awarded a 5 Star rating in the SA Wine Magazine. Then came the 2007 Sauvignon which earned 4½ Stars and “highly recommended” in Platter’s SA Wine Guide. Today there are two Sauvignon Blancs and a Pinot in the range – a Bay to Bay Sauvignon (R60pb) made from grapes that include a percentage sourced from Lambert’s Bay to the south, plus the flagship Bamboes  Bay Sauvignon (R60pb) and the Bamboes Bay Pinot Noir (R130pb) made from grapes sourced exclusively from the Fryer’s Cove vineyards in Doringbaai – the village being located within the Bamboes Bay ward of the Olifants River region.