Doring Bay | In 1999, the first vines of Fryer’s Cove were planted amongst beach vegetation. This area, which is eight hundred and twenty meters from shore and about twenty meters above sea level, is sought after for its ideal climate which translates into the prominently unique flavour and character of Fryer’s Cove wine.
Some 302kms from Cape Town the R362 winds its way up the picturesque West Coast. Along this largely unspoiled coastline lies Doringbaai, home to a small but hardy fishing community and arguably the world’s only vineyard this close to the Atlantic Ocean. The vines of Fryer’s Cove dot the hillside 820 meters from where the cold ocean throws its breakers against a rocky shore. The locals are as robust and unfettered as the landscape and it is this terroir that imbues every bottle of Fryer’s Cove wine. Fryer’s Cove wines have a distinct maritime flavour, hence our slogan ‘forged of the earth, tempered by the sea’.
The French term terroir is not easily defined, but among winemakers it represents all environmental factors that shape the personalities of wines from a specific vineyard or region. In our district, nature is unrelenting. It rains an average of only 50mm per year and the Southwesterly wind constantly buffets the coastline, but thanks to a series of fortunate coincidences this region is ideal for winemaking.
Because we have virtually no summer rain, our vineyards run little risk of being felled by rot and disease. The ocean and the wind further flavour us by carrying salt flakes onto the vine leaves. Not only does this alkalinity repel downy and powdery mildew it also gives our wines the distinct minerality that bears testimony to the close proximity of the Atlantic Ocean. Best of all, we get to be more environmentally friendly than some of our colleagues, by using less chemicals and introducing some organic methods as well. We believe in sustainable farming practices, so we planted our grapes among existing indigenous plants that provide a natural ground cover and protect the roots of the vines.The cove and nearby cliffs (after which our vineyard is named), acts as a natural buffer against the wind, stripping it of its destructive force and leaving only a cooling breeze. The cove also helps produce our microclimate, which averages 17 degrees Celsius. This and an abundance of sunshine enable our grapes to ripen slowly over a longer period of time, developing the outstanding flavour components associated with Fryer’s Cove wines. Another of nature’s gifts is the soil. It consists of a well-drained upper layer of red sand mixed with seashells and deeper layers of limestone that imparts a flinty character to our wines.