Today the Elgin valley is renowned for its apple and pear orchards, its greenhouse cut flowers, its rose growing, and, increasingly, for the production of high quality cool climate wines.
Over 40 percent of South Africa’s apple production is exported, and the Elgin Valley produces about 60 percent of the total annual apple crop of about 819,000 metric tonnes (2012 data). Industry and government export estimates can vary slightly. The United Kingdom is the top destination for South African apples, with Malaysia, Benin and Netherlands as the next largest importers of South African apples. Granny Smith and Golden Delicious were the top apple varieties exported in 2007/08. South Africa is said to be the only southern hemisphere county that produces a top quality Golden Delicious apple, a major advantage against competing exporting countries.
Elgin has more recently developed a large and thriving wine industry, and wines from the region have won several international awards. It is South Africa's coolest climate wine growing region. Other key geographic factors include its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, the prevailing wind directions, and its altitude. The cool temperatures and plentiful winter rainfall mean that the Elgin basin has a set of conditions for wine growing which are markedly different to those in surrounding areas. Of the many varietals grown in the region, special attention has been paid to Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.
The region is historically significant for South Africa's wine history, as it was one of the regions with the earliest movement towards Black ownership of vineyards and wineries. The Elgin winery Thandi was in fact the country's second post-Apartheid winery with significant black involvement (after New Beginnings in Paarl).