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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.
Nature's perfection
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.Our terroir is so unusual that in 2005 South Africa's prestigious Wine Magazine gave our Sauvignon Blanc a 5-star rating, making it only the second Sauvignon Blanc to do so in 12 years.


Community driven
Despite our growing reputation for producing limited edition collector's wines, we remain focused on growth to the benefit of the Doringbay community. The people who have made their living off this land for generations are part of the extended Fryer's Cove family and that is why our expansion drives are targeted at areas like the Doringbay harbour.The formerly dilapidated harbour now hosts the only ocean level wine cellar and tasting locale that we know of in Africa, and perhaps the world. We trust that renewal projects like this will play a major role in the resurgence of a struggling community.
Fryer's Cove wines have already made their way onto the must-have list of wine connoisseurs, with the addition of the Doringbay 'waterfront', it has also become a must-do for culture- and eco-conscious travellers the world over.
Our owners
In 1985 an aspirant winemaker studying at the Elsenburg Agriculture College, holidayed in the Strandfontein area, and had a dream. He shared it with his (now) in-laws and 14 years later Fryer's Cove was born. Wynand Hamman was the student and his in-laws were Jan and Ponk van Zyl.The initial going was tough. Not only did the winemakers have to contend with the unknown factors of wind and sea, but the area was drought prone. Without a reliable water source the venture wouldn't get out of the starting gates. They investigated using existing groundwater, but the salt content was too high and desalinisation proved too expensive.A pipeline from Vredendal - 29,5km away - was the only solution and they had to cross three adjacent farms to get there. After the neighbours agreed to the pipeline, Jan built it himself in 1999, with the aid of his farm workers. In exchange for their co-operation, the neighbours received water from the pipeline.
A buffer dam was also built on the Laubscher-brothers' farm. The Laubscher brothers were given shares in exchange for their 10 ha of land. These 10 hectares afforded Fryer's Cove its view of the ocean and the planting of the first three hectare vineyard commenced in 1999.

Our origins
Doringbaai was first settled in 1925 when the North Bay Canning Company instructed a Dutchman named Koos Bleeker, to establish a crayfish packing factory in the West Coast area. When Bleeker arrived in Doringbay he found nothing more than an abandoned wooden shack, but there was no shortage of crayfish. So Bleeker set out to find locals who'd be willing to help with the construction of the factory and the first man he discovered was Jan Laubscher from the Sandveld. In the 2000's the original Laubscher brothers were still farming the area and it was on a part of their farm that the Fryer's Cove vineyards were founded.Fryer's Cove was named after the first commercial farmer in the area, British settler Richard Fryer who entrenched a tradition of community investment in the area. The original Fryer build the first school in Strandfontein and today Fryer's Cove remains involved in school sponsorships and job creation efforts in the area.
By the 70s the West Coast fishing industry had lost its lustre. Fish and major fisheries had begun to migrate southwards and had forced the closure of the Doringbaai factory. This set the tone for a long period of economic decline. Only through tourism and alternative commercial ventures do these authentic West Coast fishing villages survive. It's one of the last outposts where hospitality, fresh crayfish and excellent wines come with the territory. To us, it's a tradition worth saving.