The Sparkling Wine Trophy was awarded to Alvi’s Drift Wines for their Alvi’s Drift Blanc de Blanc 2020 at the 2020 SA Women’s Wine & Spirit Awards.

The fifth SA Women’s Wine & Spirit Awards took place much later than originally anticipated. Michelle Grimbeek, the convenor of judges and her team welcomed the all-women panel on the morning of 19 November at the Nietvoorbij campus in Stellenbosch. A short briefing followed the necessary photo sessions, and then the judges were hard at work.

By far the biggest volume of sparkling wine is not bottle fermented, because of the expense and labour involved. The importance of normal sparkling wines in the wine market cannot be overstated, as they are easy on the pocket and are most often the wines that newer wine drinkers drink, and eventually progressing to enjoying and buying Méthode Cap Classique.

Sparkling wine has come a long way from being the ugly duckling and has evolved to being a style on its own, that is often preferred by bigger segment of consumers.

In partnering with Spiegelau, SA Women’s Wine and Spirit Awards could assure that panellists taste from truly superior stemware. The tasting was done using the Spiegelau Expert Tasting glasses, designed and made for exactly this purpose.

The aim of the annual competition is to find worthy wines, spirits and liqueurs judged by all-female panels, and to award the best products entered.

Trophy for Sparkling wine of the Year:

The Trophy for Sparkling wine of the Year goes to Alvi’s Drift Wines for their Alvi’s Drift Blanc de Blanc 2020.

We asked winemaker Dr Alvi van der Merwe a few questions. 

Q: Where did you grow up, and what made you go into winemaking?

A: I grew up on the estate. I practiced medicine till the age of 40 and then gradually joined this wonderful industry. I have always loved the industry as it encompasses science, geography, chemistry, history, geology, and art.

 Q: Who played a vital role for you to become a well-rounded winemaker and why?

A: We have so many wonderful winemakers and we have a wonderful team of winemakers at Alvi’s Drift. If I may single out one person, it would however be my wife Junel (a Cape Wine Master and a Chevalier of Champagnes). Her love of champagne and sparkling wines has always been a motivation!

Alvi’s Drift Wines received the Trophy for Sparkling wine of the Year for their Alvi’s Drift Blanc de Blanc 2020.

Q: What makes Alvi’s Drift Blanc de Blanc 2020 special?

A: The elegance combined with a wonderful attack or explosion, freshness without sacrificing complexity 

Q: What is the most important thing to keep in mind when making sparkling wine?

A: Elegance and avoiding any harsh flavours.


Q: What cellar practices do you use that brings out the best in your sparkling wine?

A: Attention to detail and the preservation of fruit.

Q: How to do you see the future of sparkling wines, and their place in the market.

A: It is a celebratory product and in life you should always have a reason to celebrate! Then surely it must have a great future!

Well done

The competition in the best sparkling wine category was very fierce, so to be handed the trophy at this event is a remarkable achievement.

Judging during the 2020 tasting

The 2020 team that made it all possible.
The judges on the wine panel were Lisa du Toit, Wanda Cronje CWM, Tanja Beutler, Erika van Zyl, Esme Groenewald and Nadia Hefer. The judges on the spirit and liqueur panel were Dr Caroline Snyman CWM, Manzi Sishi and Marené de Beer.
We want to thank our partners in making this event possible:

Details about the 2021 SA Women’s Wine & Spirit Awards will be announced in the last week of January 2021.

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