Bertho van der Westhuizen is only the fifth winemaker in the estate’s 100-year history and took the reins from his father Schalk in 2015.
A tall, humble man with a jovial demeanour, Bertho is keenly aware of the history that precedes him.
It was perhaps inevitable that he would embark on a career in wine. Circumstances led to
Bertho being born in a wine cellar not far from his current workplace.
When his father moved to Alto, it meant Bertho would too. The boy spent a large part of his youth at the estate overlooking False Bay before embarking on a Bachelor of Science degree in viticulture and oenology at the University of Stellenbosch. He graduated in 2002 and spent the ensuing years at Citrusdal Cellar, Kleine Zalze in Stellenbosch and Boschendal near Franschhoek.
Returning to Alto could not have been a better match. It was the Alto air he breathed and its vineyards in the foothills of the Helderberg Mountain that he roamed until they became his to take care of.
“If you talk to anybody about red wine, Alto’s name will be one of five estates mentioned, and usually in the top three,“ says Bertho. “Its reputation for classically structured wines is well-deserved, and it is therefore a massive honour and privilege to be able to make wine here. The vineyards thrive in the estate’s unique terroir.“
In his care are the wines of an estate that is one of South Africa’s most respected red wine producers.
A big rugby fan who always loves a traditional South African braai, Bertho is married to Mitzi. They have two children, Sara-May and Schalk.
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