Defying Wine Industry Challenges: At Alvi's Drift, We'll Never Compromise On Quality

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Alvi's Drift cellar master Riaan Marais shares how our award-winning South African wine farm faces industry challenges while always pursuing excellence.

Defying Wine Industry Challenges: At Alvi's Drift, We'll Never Compromise On Quality

At Alvi’s Drift, every bottle of wine we make tells a story of teamwork, innovation, and an unwavering passion for our craft.

Read our Q&A with cellar master Riaan Marais to learn more about our practices and philosophies at our third-generation wine farm. We also explore how the Alvi’s Drift team’s relentless pursuit of excellence helps them overcome industry challenges, without ever compromising on quality.

How does Alvi's Drift ensure quality and consistency in winemaking amidst industry challenges like inflation and a global drop in wine sales?

Riaan: The first thing to understand is that challenges in this industry are nothing new. The South African wine industry has weathered many storms over the past 350 years. Here at Alvi's Drift, we try to keep our minds open, embrace innovation, and think differently to overcome challenges or obstacles we may face.

As a winery, we always aim to align ourselves with industry partners who share our forward-thinking approach. We also ensure that we stay up to date with the latest processes developed by Wine Industry Bodies, giving us that competitive edge. 

Keeping up with the latest innovations and technological advances in our field is absolutely critical. This is something we never lose sight of.

“Problem solving is something we’ve become very efficient at. You have to be able to anticipate challenges that might arise, so that they can be averted well ahead of time.”

Every harvest season comes with its own unique challenges. How do you go about bringing out the best from each harvest at Alvi’s Drift?

Absolutely. There are so many factors that make each harvest completely unique. They can vary enormously from year to year, and indeed, our goal is simply to bring out the best in each vintage. 

To do so, you have to think creatively and apply critical thinking at all times. 

While cost is always a factor, at Alvi’s Drift, we remain steadfast in our commitment to never compromise on quality. Our goal is always to deliver the best possible product at the best possible price, and we believe our loyal customers appreciate this about our winery. 


From our vineyards to our cellar, as a team we truly are relentlessly committed to excellence. I also believe our unique winemaking practices and our business philosophy set us apart. It’s what allows us to consistently produce great wines.

What challenges has Alvi's Drift faced in maintaining quality standards during the winemaking process, and how have you addressed them?

Riaan: As I mentioned, harvests differ from year to year. For example, some years, the structure of our reds may be lighter. We then put extra effort into preparing our red wine tanks to achieve maximum extraction. 

Speaking of quality standards, harvesting grapes at optimal ripeness is absolutely crucial. Like a great chef who continually tastes and adjusts their culinary creations, we taste and refine throughout our entire winemaking process to ensure an exceptional experience for anyone who tastes our wines.

How do you maintain the balance between running a cost-efficient, profitable business while also protecting the environment and keeping sustainability in mind?

Riaan: As an agricultural enterprise, sustainability is essential and must always be a priority for us. At Alvi’s Drift, we believe in keeping it simple and cost-effective. As a family-owned business, this is something close to our hearts. We’re the custodians of this land, but also of our planet and its resources.

We need to do everything we can to preserve it for our own children, and also for all the generations that will come after us.

Running a cost-effective business that remains profitable is also incredibly important to us, as this ensures stable incomes and job security for our employees, who need to take care of their families. 

When making decisions, and also implementing those decisions, sustainability is always top of mind for us. Whether it is planting trees to attract birds that help keep the rodent population under control, implementing an underground irrigation system that helps us to conserve water, or using wine bottles that require less glass to produce.

As a business, we always try to go above and beyond, regardless of what is asked of us. This applies to sustainability at our farm too. We really just always try to do more.

“I think our work ethic was inspired by our slogan, ‘Taste What's Possible’. When it comes to winemaking, the possibilities really are endless. It’s also something that inspires us to just keep working harder to keep producing excellent wines.”


In your pursuit of winemaking excellence, what unique practices and philosophies distinguish your business from its wine industry peers?

Riaan: Innovation is at the core of everything we do. It’s something that Alvi, and all of us are especially passionate about. We’re always on the lookout for new technologies and processes to put to use in our work. We never say no to any idea. Our passion for our work makes us extremely inquisitive. It helps us to keep an open mind in how we go about our work.

Teamwork is another thing we value highly at Alvi’s Drift. No one here works in isolation. Everyone on our team has unique strengths or talents that play a part and makes us stronger as a team.

Are there any other points on wine industry challenges that you’d like to share with us?

Riaan: Sometimes it's better to simply face challenges head-on. At Alvi’s Drift, we make sure we’re aligned on our goals, and then we simply get on with the job, supporting each other through the process.

This helps us to navigate the challenges that come with this industry. It also allows us to stay true to who we are, as a family, as winemakers, as a company, and also as a brand.

Working together like this, I really believe we are well prepared and ready to face any challenges that life may throw at us.

At the end of the day, we’re here because we love what we do, and our goal will always be to simply make the very best wines possible. 


Have You Tasted What’s Possible? 

Explore Our Award-Winning South African Wines Today

Browse our online shop to discover your favourite among our Alvi’s Drift wines, or visit our blog page to learn more about our family-owned winery, our dedication to people and our planet, and the rich history of our third-generation wine farm.

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