ALTO Wine Estate is celebrating 100 years of (exceptional) winemaking this year, and, to honour this milestone, has a special collection of wines from the estate, packaged in a beautiful, specially-created, branded Alto box that pays homage to a Stellenbosch champion and the people who have made it so.
The estate has a magnificent history. Although the title deed is dated 1693, its 100-year heritage of winemaking began with Manie Malan, whose red blend became the prototype for Alto Rouge. Soon after the first vintage, Manie invited his mentor, the legendary Prof Izak Perold, to taste the wines. He was so impressed a consignment was shipped to London … and so began the start of a decades-long relationship with British importers.
Four decades later, the vineyards were told to fourth generation winemaker Piet du Toit, who gave us Alto’s first Cabernet Sauvignon. In the early 80s, Oom Piet retired and handed over to his son, Gerhard (better known as Hempies), who’d been raised at Alto. Under his tenure, Alto launched its first Shiraz, made from vines planted and groomed by Hempies.
The turn of the century saw the start of a new era under Schalk van der Westhuizen, who was instrumental in galvanising Alto’s reputation in South Africa and abroad, and who in 2010 launched Alto’s flagship M.P.H.S, a wine dedicated in acronym and stature to the remarkably few winemakers that held sway over Alto estate’s long history.
Today, Alto wines are made by Schalk’s son, Bertho van der Westhuizen, the fifth winemaker in the winery’s long history. 2015, the year he took over, was one of SA’s best vintages, and the year that Alto’s Bordeaux Blend was launched, a wine that spoke not only of a long and fruitful heritage but the promise of an exciting future too.
The exclusive collection of these five wines is available from the Alto tasting lounge in Somerset West, and and online.