Heritage and tradition
The original red wine estate
Stretched out along the steep northern slopes of the Helderberg, for close to a century Alto has built a reputation as one of the most respected red wine producers in South Africa. The estate’s name pays as much homage to the farm’s altitude as it does to the winemaker’s continuous pursuit of excellence.
Red born and bred
Although the title deed to the farm dates back to 1693, it was only in 1919 that the estate was planted entirely to vines. Alto has been world renowned for its hand-crafted, bold red wines ever since the first shipment of Alto Rouge was received in London in 1922. To this day, the estate is one of the most celebrated in South Africa.
In the early 1900’s farmer Manie Malan, together with his father Hennie, recognised the potential for making exceptional wine in the land’s unique aspect, soils and slopes. They nurtured and expanded the vines over four decades before selling the property to Piet du Toit in 1959. When Piet retired in 1983, he handed the honour of winemaking to his son, Hempies du Toit, a man as famous for his success in rugby as in the cellar. At the turn of the century Schalk van der Westhuizen joined the lineage of crafters and in 2015 continued the tradition of passing the baton down through the generations to his son Bertho van der Westhuizen who is only the fifth winemaker in Alto’s rich history.
The Alto estate forms part of what is known locally as the Golden Triangle, the exceptional wine producing area which stretches from Somerset West to the edge of the Stellenbosch mountains.
The high granite slopes with elevations of up to 500m provide the ideal conditions for creating exceptional, flavourful and lasting wines. With False Bay close by, the vines are cooled by ocean breezes producing smaller berries with concentrated fruit flavour and smooth tannins.