Alvi’s Drift’s 221 Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top Ten Challenge Winner

Alvi's Drift Private Cellar’s 221 Chenin Blanc was among ten other wines crowned winners at last week’s Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top Ten Challenge 2022.

Alvi’s Drift’s 221 Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top Ten Challenge Winner

This is the third time that an Alvi’s Drift Chenin Blanc wine has been included among the Top Ten winners, since the Challenge’s inception in 2014.

Speaking on behalf of the Challenge's five judges, panel chair James Pietersen said the winning line-up was arguably emblematic of the country's best in Chenin Blanc winemaking. "A very diverse group of wines, together they reflect a combination of innovation, accomplished experimentation and altogether dextrous and imaginative winemaking. Even better than last year's outstanding Top Ten Challenge winners, they make us proud of the story they tell about the energy and creativity coursing through our industry."

Submissions were judged blind against critically acclaimed non-entrants, to ensure the panel was rating the wines within the broadest possible context of the industry's best examples.


"The Top Ten wines will help South Africa to put its best Chenin face forward when they are tasted at the time of CapeWine 2022, the triennial exhibition for the global trade and critics in October, and then again at the multi-disciplinary Chenin Blanc International Congress in November."


South Africa has more Chenin Blanc growing than anywhere else in the world combined, and our country is internationally regarded as the varietal’s biggest champion. Our country is also considered to have pioneered a new generation of original and versatile Chenin Blanc styles, inspiring others across the globe to find their own, unique expressions.

Craig Polkinhorne, Head of Commercial Banking for Standard Bank, South Africa, with Ken Forrester, Chairman of the Chenin Blanc Association and Richard Bradfield, Head of Sales & Marketing at Alvi's Drift Private Cellar. Photographer: Danie Nel Photography.

"Chenin's demonstrable climate resilience has recently made it a renewed favourite in France's Loire Valley from where the grape comes, as well as in other wine-producing countries that are having to contend with climbing temperatures," Pietersen said.

"Amongst the 137 wines submitted, we saw even greater stylistic daring and diversity than previously. We encountered fruit from newer wine-growing regions, the greater use of skin contact, of natural fermentation, as well as a greater willingness to work with a wider variety of fermentation and ageing vessels. The results have been spectacular.”

Ken Forrester, co-founder and chair of the Chenin Blanc Association, said: "What is not surprising is that standards continue to rise. As a group, local winemakers are continually upping their game. Their Chenin fervour galvanises them to keep on striving harder. What is surprising, however, is that so many entrants were able to rise above the harrowing pressures and constraints of the pandemic and give of their best to Chenin. That tells you something about their prowess and bravery."


The Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top Ten Challenge winners, listed alphabetically, are:

  • Alvi's Drift Private Cellar 221 Chenin Blanc 2021
  • Kaapzicht Wine Estate Kliprug Chenin Blanc 2021
  • Nabygelegen Private Cellar Chenin Blanc 2021
  • Piekenierskloof Wine Company Bergendal Chenin Blanc Old Vine 2021
  • Rascallion The Devonian Chenin Blanc 2021
  • Rijk's Cellar Touch Chenin Blanc 2020
  • Spier Wines Seaward Chenin Blanc 2021
  • Stellenbosch Vineyards Bushvine Chenin Blanc 2021
  • Stellenrust Wine Estate Stellenbosch Manor Fermented Chenin Blanc 2020
  • Stellenrust Wine Estate Old Bush Vine Chenin Blanc 2021

Photographer: Danie Nel, Danie Nel Photography | Copyright:

The competition awards a cash prize to each of the producers of the Top Ten Chenin Blanc wines selected every year. A condition of the competition is that the money must be used towards enhancing the quality of life of farm workers and/or their communities.

“When we launched our Alvi’s Drift 221 Chenin Blanc in 2019, we were so pleased to be included in the South African Top Ten. The following year, our 2020 vintage was awarded Double Gold at the Veritas Awards. To now be included in the Top Ten with our 2021 vintage is an incredible achievement and certainly shows the consistent quality of the product,” says Alvi’s Drift winemaker and owner, Dr Alvi van der Merwe. “What an incredible accolade for our winery and our winemaking team! I’m sure Springbok Number 221 would have been proud of this amazing achievement!”, he added.

“What’s more, this award makes an incredible difference in the lives, and futures of the children in our community. As part of a larger agricultural business, Alvi’s Drift supports several initiatives, including a safe school environment and the transportation of learners to and from school,” says Alvi. “Alvi's Drift also supports the town of Worcester’s world-renowned School for the Blind. Thank you to Standard Bank and Ina, Ken and the team for their remarkable efforts, to not only raise the profile of Chenin Blanc, but to positively impact the lives of the South Africans contributing to the growth of this industry!”

Says Stephan van der Merwe, Head of Commercial Clients at Standard Bank Western Cape: "As sponsors, we see this feature as an essential part of the Challenge. To date, R2,1m has been directed towards farm worker community projects. The prize money provides tangible acknowledgement to farm workers for their role in making award-winning wines."


Shop Online for Alvi’s Drift’s Award-winning 221 Chenin Blanc

Ready to taste our award-winning wine? Read the tasting notes here, then purchase our 221 Chenin Blanc from our online shop.

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