The Black Oystercatcher is a family-run wine farm at the cool southernmost tip of Africa. Tucked away off the beaten track close to Elim, we boast over 80 hectares of vineyards and three charming cottages.
Our unique region crafts our cool-climate wines, creating penetrating fruit flavours and a distinctive minerality.
Boasting the southernmost vineyards on the African continent and renowned for being one of South Africa’s most wild and rugged wine regions, Agulhas wine farms are scattered across a vast distance, from Gansbaai to the west, coastal Cape Agulhas in the south and across to Malgas in the east.
The region’s most famous landmark is arguably Cape Agulhas (also known as L’Agulhas), a charming coastal village and national park located at the southernmost tip of Africa, just under a three hour drive from Cape Town. Here, the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet and Cape Agulhas’ dramatic coastline boasts rocky beaches and an iconic working lighthouse dating from 1849.
Cape Agulhas is just 32km south of the town of Bredasdorp. It is believed that in May 1488, Portuguese explorer Bartholomew Dias named the area “Cabo dos Agulhas‘ meaning Cape of Needles. It is said that Agulhas received its name due to the unforgiving coastline, the “needles” referring to the rocky shoreline.
It is believed that South Africa saw approximately 150 shipwrecks in its early days, with the majority of these found along the Agulhas coast. Survivors of these shipwrecks settled in the area and moved further inland to what is known today as the towns of Bredasdorp, Arniston, Elim- and Struisbaai.
In time, as more international ships started arriving in the Cape, a lighthouse was built and this iconic landmark is still in operation today (it is the second oldest lighthouse in South Africa). While Agulhas’ name has Portuguese origins, it later changed to L’Agulhas when French settlers started arriving in the Cape.
The Agulhas region is an ancient landscape exposed to two oceans with a flourishing fauna, protected wetlands and abundant marine life. The first vines were planted in the region around 150 years ago by missionaries, however it was only in the late 1990s that commercial wine farming really took off. The Agulhas Plain is raw and windswept, which forges unique low yield wines of outstanding character, deeply reflective of their cool climate and maritime terroir.
The official wine route of Cape Agulhas, the Agulhas Wine Triangle, is made up of a few pioneering wine producers, spread over 100 kilometres apart from west to east.
Average summer temperatures in the area are around 20 ℃ making it the coolest wine producing region in South Africa. These low temperatures combined with the cold oceanic winds from the nearby coast lengthen the ripening season.
This allows the grapes to develop strong concentrated flavours, while still retaining their acidity. Add into the mix the unique minerality of the terroir and the results are fragrant Chardonnays, elegant Syrahs and light, tropical Sauvignon Blancs that have been compared to those being made in wine regions such as Marlborough in New Zealand and the Loire Valley in France.
Although the Agulhas wine region is vast, some of the wine farms are grouped together geographically, making it relatively easy to visit two at a time. The farms themselves are mostly off the beaten track yet accessible; rustic and charming in design with opportunities to meet the winemakers and enjoy platters of locally sourced seafood and meats.
There are plenty of things to do in Cape Agulhas and the wider Agulhas region, in addition to sampling the area’s unique cool climate wines. The villages of L’Agulhas, Struisbaai and Arniston are popular coastal tourist destinations with the Cape Agulhas National Park being the home of the point where the two oceans meet.
If you’re looking to learn about the area’s rich maritime history then The Cape Agulhas Lighthouse and the Bredasdorp Shipwreck Museum are great places to stop by. The entire area is also a haven for bird life, marine life and mammals – expect anything from whales and dolphins to small antelope and swathes of Blue Cranes.
Agulhas is also known for serving up some of the freshest seafood, so be sure to stop at the Struisbaai Sea Shack, where all the locals hang out for freshly caught fish and chips with a spectacular ocean view.
Looking to spend the weekend? Well then you’re spoilt for choice with a great range of accommodation options spread throughout the Agulhas area. A handful of the wine farms feature accommodation such as Strandveld and Blackoystercatcher, however the highest concentration of -guest houses, camping and caravan facilities plus self-catering units are found in Struisbaai and L’Agulhas. However options including farm stays and luxury eco retreats are also available, from Gansbaai to Elim and De Hoop, all boasting beautiful views of this incredible area.