Solo Winter: Does a century of Winemaking make Alto Wines idyllic for Wine Tasting?

The answer to the question, is: "Yes!"

Wine gulpers never quite mind heading into supermarkets for mass-produced & processed wine, nor do the aficionados falter in making use of delivery apps like ‘Drizly‘ and ‘MyVinos’, to get their influx of the (sometimes hard-to-come-by) agricultural adult grape juice produced just outside Cape Town.

However, when one lives near famed winelands (Stellenbosch to Franschhoek), where a globally diverse demographic of wine enthusiasts come to sip our Pinotage and Chenin Blanc, it becomes imperative for locals too, to explore what the fabled ‘Golden Triangle’ has to offer – more than thrice yearly.

Among thee, frankly, extensive list of wine estate options, are: unfettered newbies coming up rather quickly in renown due to evolving wine-producing techniques, as well as the dignified titans of the game, holding up South Africa’s prolific wine reputation with their decades of history and refined wine quality.

2019 marks the winemaking centennial of one of Stellebosch’s most beloved estates, Alto Wine Estate.

“Alto has always been about doing justice to the terroir in the best way we can. It’s a credo you can trace all the way back to those very first vines.” – Bertho van der Westhuizen, winemaker at Alto Wine Estate

The title deed may read 1693, but Alto’s heritage wine began 100-years ago, with the Malan father & son duo, establishing the first vines. Decades of passion, and generations of diligent (soil, aspect, climate, and market) observation, has led to Alto Wines heralded as being one of a select group of South African winemakers who produce quite a few iconic wines.

The farm was reborn as Alto, in reference to both elevation and the family’s pursuit of excellence. Soon after the first vintage, Manie invited his mentor, the legendary Prof Izak Perold to taste the wines. Prof Perold was so impressed a consignment was shipped to London – the start of a decades-long relationship with British importers. His red blend became the prototype for Alto Rouge.” – Alto Wine Estate, by Manley Communications

If it is not the full-bodied red wines which bring you to the Alto Estate – remembering that Alto Wine flavors develop uniquely thanks to the oceans soothing breeze slowing the fruit ripening – it may be the property sitting spread across Helderberg Mountains shoulders, which draws you in.

Look farther out, and the valley, bedecked in a waterfall of vines, disappears into a picturesque drop.

Wine Tasting

I regularly roll Solo whenever I am exploring, so do not doubt my sincerity when I say Alto Wine Estate’s tasting experience can be enjoyed alone, and even in winter.

Tasting experiences in South Africa, are a quintessential tradition of sorts – but have not lost their exciting spark, thank goodness!

It is always interesting seeing the pride estates maintain, when showcasing their fine ambassadors to wine enthusiasts – and even educating new palettes.

Alto Wine Estate utilizes SA’s beloved biltong -naturally cured meat –  to pair with their wines, during the Alto Wine & Biltong Tasting.

The one pairing of Alto’s M.P.H.S & Umami, was the single greatest thing I’ve ever tasted during such a session…No Spoilers, but: the resulting taste explosion in your mouth may have something to do with…truffle oil!

Decadent views from elevated northern slopes, and award-winning wine matched with bites which highlight a wine characteristic & the elixirs versatility, at the eponymous Stellies estate, make this pairing tasting coveted.

Visitors to the farm, are free to roam the grounds, immersing themselves into the winemaking and wine-enjoying culture of the region.

The cellar shows the seriousness of Alto’s care with their wines, and the vastness of their investment.

With Western Cape’s temperament, the weather on a day you choose to visit, could mean basking in the sun with a tasting picnic, or cosying up near the tasting lounges fireplace for your pairing experience.

There’s frankly, no bad time to visit...but just in case, here are the details to know:

Wine Tasting

Standard Tasting – R50 (5 wines)
Standard Tasting (including Signature Blend) – R65
Standard Tasting (including M.P.H.S) – R75

Premium Tasting – R90 (all 7 wines, subject to availability)

Biltong & Wine Pairing – a Story of Flavour
Each pairing is designed to highlight a characteristic in the wine. Come and accentuate your palate and indulge in a story of flavour. R140 per person.
(5 wines with 5 unique biltong flavours)

Alto Cheese Platter
Relax on our deck while enjoying a glass of fine wine, an Alto platter and our picturesque view. R140 per platter.
(Includes 3 cheeses, biltong, fresh fruit and a preserve)

Alto Wine Estate

Alto is located on the Annandale Road off the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West.

Wine Tasting and Sales Times:

Monday to Friday: 10am – 6pm
Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays: 10am – 5pm.
Closed on Good Friday and Christmas Day.

Booking essential for groups of 6 or more.

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