Winters Drift calls it a day despite growing respect for wines of Elgin

IN WHAT AMOUNTS to a closing-down sale running until the end of March, the prices of everything at the Winters Drift shop next to the Elgin railway station east of Grabouw were slashed by 35% following a decision of the powers that be to cull the brand and to replace the vineyards with orchards – apples and pears. Apparently the wine side of the business couldn’t deliver sufficient return on investment, although it wasn’t clear what would become of the Platform 1 Eatery at the train station, one of the more unusual lunch venues in the Cape winelands.

winters-drift-wine-elgin-veritas-award-shiraz-chardonnay (cropped)Winters Drift Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from the 2011, 2012 and 2013 harvests were welcomed with numerous good reviews in 2012 to 2014. Then came a quiet year on the ratings front, but, given the promising start, it would have been interesting to see how things might have transpired with a bit more patience, possibly a different approach in the fields or the cellar – the brand was only launched as recently as 2010, and you wonder whether in their hearts the trustees were ever really committed to this venture.

The Top Elgin wine producers overall on the basis of track records going back 10 years are Iona, Oak Valley, Paul Cluver and Shannon (in alphabetical order). However in recent years there have been numerous Elgin wines that have shared the limelight as regards a district so attractive to vintners that some based outside the basin buy in grapes from the area or have their own vineyards in Elgin from which fruit is trucked to cellars elsewhere.

ELGIN WINES IN THE LIMELIGHT

WHITE

Elgin Vintners The Century Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
Highlands Road Sauvignon Blanc
Highlands Road Sine Cera
(blend)
Iona Chardonnay
Kershaw Chardonnay
Oak Valley Chardonnay
Oak Valley Mountain Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
Paul Cluver Chardonnay
Paul Cluver Gewürztraminer
Paul Cluver Sauvignon Blanc
Shannon Sanctuary Peak Sauvignon Blanc
Sutherland Chardonnay
Tokara Reserve Collection Elgin Sauvignon Blanc
Winters Drift Chardonnay

RED

Elgin Vintners Pinot Noir
Oak Valley Blend
Oak Valley Pinot Noir
Paul Cluver Pinot Noir
Shannon Mount Bullet Merlot
Shannon Rockview Ridge Pinot Noir
Spioenkop Pinotage
Winters Drift Pinot Noir

SPARKLING

Charles Fox Cap Classique

DESSERT

Paul Cluver Riesling Noble Late Harvest

For an indication of cellar-door prices, see here

2 comments

  • Sander Mahieu

    So sad to hear about Winters Drift. Great wines. We were about to chat to them about imports to the Netherlands.

  • Regarding Winters Drift… It turns out that the restaurant will continue and the wines will still be available until all sold out! According to Michael English of Fruitways, Elgin: “The Tasting station will continue as it is till the end of April (2016) and it will then be absorbed into the Fred and Max restaurant area…”