In 1928, South Africa took note when a young, unknown rugby player, Albertus Viljoen van der Merwe – “Alvi” to his friends – made history by scoring the first try in history against the All Blacks on African soil.
Today, we make history with award-winning wines recognised by South Africa and the world.
A few years before hanging up his rugby boots, Oupa Alvi acquired a piece of fertile farmland nestled on the banks of the Breede River in the Western Cape’s majestic Breede River Valley. In 1930, to allow locals easier access to the land, a low-water bridge was built across the river running through the property. The locals christened the bridge “Alvi’s Drift” after “Oupa” (Grandad) Alvi as he was instrumental in building it.
This is the name by which it is still known today.
Today Oupa Alvi’s grandson, Alvi van der Merwe, has turned both the farm and the family legacy for creating exceptional wine, into a vision that has surpassed all expectations when it comes to connecting people and enriching their enjoyment of what really matters in life.
Widely known for his perfectionism, dedication and passion for his craft, Alvi’s Drift winemaker Alvi van der Merwe initially studied medicine, pursuing a career as general practitioner. While practicing medicine in Canada, the UK and later in South Africa, Alvi’s dream of creating world-class wines from the family vineyards persisted.
“When creating our wines here at Alvi’s Drift, we’re not trying to compete with anyone. We simply try to do what’s right for us, and we try to do it to the very best of our ability.”
- Alvi van der Merwe -MORE ABOUT OUR FARM
In 2003, while still in private practice, Alvi returned to his childhood home to assist his father, Bertie, with the running of the family’s orchards, vineyards, and winery.
While Oom (Uncle) Bertie, as he was affectionately known by all, remained focused on bulk wine production, Alvi, with his father’s blessing, began exploring his passion for winemaking.
A Chenin Blanc and a Cape Fusion red wine blend soon followed, and when the time came to choose a name for his wine-making enterprise, Alvi decided to name his wines for the low-water bridge built by his grandfather back in 1930.
And so, Alvi’s Drift Winery was born.
“One year, after my dad had picked his grapes, I was allowed to pick and use what was left. I really put in a lot of effort and made just a little bit of Chardonnay and Muscat de Frontignan. I had to buy my own bottles, and barrels for maturation, but I was fortunate to win quite a few awards with my first wine.”
- Alvi van der Merwe -
Today, Alvi and wife Junel, a Cape Wine Master and well-known lecturer, speaker, and wine expert, form a formidable partnership.
Together with their winemaking team, they have built a reputation for creating exceptional wines of singular character and complexity, with the end goal always the same: nothing less than excellence in every outcome.
“The Alvi’s Drift family is not just us. It’s our entire winemaking team, all our employees, and everyone who enjoys our wines. Our passion for what we do really goes into every bottle of wine we produce.”
- Junel van der Merwe -