Nuy is in the wine district of Worcester, in the Breede River Valley District of South Africa, and is possibly one of the least-known wine producing areas named as a ward, district or region. The area is a very historic location, not far from Worcester which has been a location for German Settlers since the 1800s. Vines were first planted here at the same time, and as a heritage place, Nuy certainly has plenty of claim to being one of the historical wine capitals of South Africa. However, it is for another aspect of its location that Nuy is named as a ward.
The locations of most of the wards have focused upon cooler areas, which are now being used by many farmers to create better stocks of grapes. The wards which have been recently named are all associated with this colder climate, and in fact it seems that South Africa is turning away from its traditional wine making methods, and relying upon cold air to produce the tastes and complexities that are required of the best wines. Areas such as Klein Karoo are being left to grow Port vines, or similar tough grape plants that will be able to survive the harsh summers and winters in that area. On the other hand, Nuy, in the lush Breede River Valley, does not have that problem.
What distinguishes Nuy from the rest of the towns with many wine makers is the climate, but in Nuy’s case it is mild, even warm. The Breede River Valley has mountains all around it, preventing too much cold air, and too much sun, from getting into the wine farm. This ensures a moderate, unmoveable climate that produces stable ripeness. However, it is not always calm, because there is a great deal of difference between the temperatures of the floor of the valley, and that of some of the vineyards on the mountain slopes above.
It is this variation, plus the variation in soils, that make Breede River Valley so unique, and why Nuy was given protected status. Nuy is located in the bottom of the valley, where there is security from bad weather, and also a little bit of warmth, ideal for producing vines that need a little bit more encouragement than usual, such as the Pinot Noir. The loam of the river bed is also pushed onto the valley floor during times of flood, leaving an area which is better fertilized than might be expected, considering the harsh granite rocks above.
The Nuy wine ward is designed to tell drinkers that all of the wine available comes from a small location, inside a climate-controlled mountain range, and after the grapes have absorbed the nutrients and minerals pushed up by the river as it rose. It can also offer good experience for those who are unsure whether they prefer wines grown in the cold, or in a traditional warm climate, since Nuy is clearly a ward marked out as different from the ordinary wine-making land.