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“We’re more than just winemakers”: How Alvi’s Drift’s Passion for Empowerment and Sustainability Is Making a Difference

At Alvi's Drift we're passionate about empowering our people and protecting the environment. Read our blog to learn more about our efforts and credentials.

At our third-generation winery, we realise that our success is only possible through the dedicated labour of our workforce.

As one of the largest employers in our area, with a team of more than 500 workers, we value and acknowledge the unique contribution of each of our employees.

We also recognise the importance of integrity, equality, fair compensation, and career advancement opportunities in a safe and inclusive working environment.

Our Employees: The Heartbeat of Our Enterprise

Our wine farm is home to over 500 employees and their families, with a school, crèche, and community centre available for their use.

Without the hard work and commitment of each of our staff members, none of our award-winning wines would exist.

We acknowledge the tremendous contributions of our workers, not just by offering them proper remuneration, but also opportunities for career advancement while treating them with respect, equality, and appreciation in everything we do.

Alvi’s Drift: Proudly WIETA Level-A Certified

WIETA is South Africa’s Wine and Agricultural Ethical Trade Association. The organisation “strives to ensure fair treatment, respectful relationships, and dignified lives for workers toward achieving a transformed agricultural sector.”

The WIETA Code

  • Social management systems and ethical code implementation
  • No child labour & the protection of young workers
  • No forced labour
  • Safe & healthy working conditions
  • Freedom of association & the right to bargain collectively
  • Fair treatment
  • No discrimination
  • Decent working hours
  • Fair remuneration & sustainable incomes
  • Provision of regular employment
  • Housing & tenure security
  • Social responsibility & community development
  • Environmental stewardship
winemaker in cellar
Mr Bernard Louw joined the Alvi’s Drift cellar team aged 18. “Bernard is an exceptionally talented trainee winemaker. He’s completed several WineTech courses, and is currently completing his winemaking diploma. We couldn’t be more proud of him.” – Alvi van der Merwe
“Our farm network manager, Jan du Toit, is a driven person who sets goals for himself. He is an example of what’s possible if you give your best in everything you do. Jan alone deserves the credit for all he’s achieved in his career.” – Alvi van der Merwe
farm manager in vineyards
Mr Jan du Toit, initially a patient of Dr Alvi van der Merwe, joined the Alvi’s Drift team in 2005 as a vineyard consultant.
“As our volumes grew, so did my responsibilities. Jan gradually took over from me, and today he manages all the properties in our network. The entire community looks up to him, we all do.” – Alvi van der Merwe

Protecting Our Planet and Its Resources

“We’re more than just winemakers. As custodians of this land, we farm hand-in-hand with nature. At Alvi’s Drift, we’re serious about protecting our natural heritage.” – Junel van der Merwe

At our Breede River Valley winery, located in the cool-climate wine ward of Scherpenheuvel, we’re dedicated to ensuring that our employees are equipped with the tools for success, while also producing wines that reflect our commitment to sustainability.

We’re proud to say that we bring forth internationally acclaimed wines that are not only delectable but also responsibly produced.

bottle pouring white wine into a glass
This sticker on our wine bottles certifies that, as a proud WIETA member, Alvi’s Drift adheres to an ethical and sustainable value system and culture that contributes to the continuous improvement of labour practices on our farm, its production sites, and cellars.

At Alvi’s Drift, safeguarding our planet and its precious resources for future generations remains a top priority. Here, we take great pride in producing sustainable, eco-friendly wines in a manner that also minimises our impact on the environment.

Our efforts include taking tangible measures to actively restore vast tracts of land to its original state – reintroducing endemic species of fauna and flora in order to create a safe environment for them in which to thrive.

dancers in traditional outfits
Our wine farm is a proud sponsor of local traditional dance troupe, The Stoftrappers. Here they are seen performing at a 2022 Alvi’s Drift wine event.
Our passion for our people is equalled only by our commitment to sustainability. As third-generation winemakers, our dedication to protecting our environment is rooted in our love for the land, and we’ll continue doing our part for generations to come.

A Passion for Sustainable Winemaking

Our compliance with a number of South African sustainability schemes assures both buyers and fine wine enthusiasts that, at Alvi’s Drift, we carefully consider all pillars that support true sustainability, a critical part of which is the environment.

Our compliance confirms that all our wines are produced in an environmentally responsible manner and that our award-winning wines are safe for consumption.

The integrity of our wines is guaranteed by the Wine of Origin (WO) system, which is managed by South Africa’s Wine and Spirit Board (WSB).

Our family-owned winery is also IPW certified, underscoring our dedication and commitment to environmental sustainability in all our winemaking endeavours.

winemaker and farm manager in vineyards
The Alvi’s Drift vineyards are fertilised by manure from the farm’s livestock herds, and nourished by an innovative irrigation system that conserves water while nourishing our vines’ hair roots. Future plans include the installation of solar panels to sustain vineyard operations.
Renosterveld landscape
Alvi’s Drift actively monitors and protects the abundance of protected Renosterveld flora that naturally occur on the farm. Species include the indigenous botterboom, wolfkos, vygie, botterblom, and slangbos.
game running across a plain
Our wine farm is home to several species of free-roaming game, including springbok, eland, oryx, ostrich, and zebra. Here, wildlife corridors are kept clear to ensure the safe migration of various species. Other faunas on our farm include rooikat, the Verraux’s eagle, goshawk, aardvark, and leopard.

Why Fair Compensation for Our Wines Is Crucial

“Fair compensation for our products at each level is essential – our workers' livelihoods depend on it.”

– Richard Bradfield, Alvi’s Drift Sales & Marketing Manager

At Alvi’s Drift, our mission is to create a working environment where our employees and their families can flourish and reach their full potential in order to thrive. That’s why, as one of the main employers in our area, running our enterprise in a fiscally responsible manner is of the utmost importance.

“We always strive to find new and innovative ways to improve efficiencies and pass this saving on to our customers,” says Richard Bradfield, Alvi’s Drift Sales and Marketing manager. “We love the idea of offering a great experience and growth path through our tiers. The concept of fair compensation for our products at each level is essential – our workers' livelihoods depend on it.”

Our wine farm’s popular House & Garden competition for employees is a highlight on the annual Alvi’s Drift calendar.

Empowering Our Employees and Their Families to Thrive

This insightful documentary highlights the plight of the embattled South African wine industry, brought to its knees by a lack of understanding on the part of some international buyers not prepared to pay fair prices for South African wines.

In this time of worldwide economic pressure, operating in a declining industry that increasingly sees local wineries closing their doors out of financial necessity, the growth of our business not only ensures the livelihood of our employees and their children but, often, their extended families as well.

As an employer with the best interests of our workers at heart, we’re compelled to sell our wines at prices that will enable our enterprise to grow and thrive, safeguarding our employees’ livelihoods through job security.

Learn More About Our Award-Winning South African Wine Farm

Established in 1928 by Springbok rugby legend and family patriarch, Albertus Viljoen van der Merwe I, our third-generation Breede River Valley wine farm boasts a rich and storied history.

Learn more about our family, our vineyards and our wine region, or head over to our online shop to browse our selection of internationally acclaimed, multi-award-winning South African wines.

Alvi’s Drift. Dare To Be True.