The Upper Langkloof valley in the Garden Route, South Africa has been known for its wild and untamed nature. In the 19th century this valley was visited by game hunters from the coastal towns during the winner months to stock up with the fresh game meat and hides. The skins were salted and the meat cured in barrels and carted by ox-wagon over the dangerous Outeniqua Mountains to the settlements on the coast.
In the 1840's farmers settled in this fertile valley for farm cattle, sheep and rain. Later the area was found suitable for apple and apricot farming, and soon many farmers started exporting these fruits to Europe. The famous Appletiser brand contracted many farmers to supply apples to produce their juice.
Situated 2500ft above sea level, the Upper Langkloof (long valley) runs east/west, north of the Outeniqua Mountains, only 15km from the Indian Ocean. The valley is known for its dry and cold climate. The annual average rainfall is between 250mm and 300mm. Strong and cool summer winds rush in on-shore and rise over the 5000ft mountain range cooling even more. These winds bring in cold and moist air which cools the valley during summer to temperatures between 20 to 23 degrees Celsius, while the nearby Karoo bakes away at 40 degrees Celsius. The extreme terroir motivated us to install a weather station to research the best area for the planting of vineyards in 1993. Soil samples and profile holes were sunk to determine the proper vine selection of cultivar for planting.
It was found that the valley has an annual temperature of only 17 degrees celsius (very cold for South Africa)
The soils are from table mountain sandstone and shale combination, deep stony red soils were ripped for drainage on various slopes on the farm.