Alto Estate is situated on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain in the Stellenbosch Wine of Origin district. Its trellised vineyards cling to the high granite slopes that rise from a 100 to 500 metres above sea level, which are ideal for the cultivation of red grape varietals. The Estate’s sound reputation for producing world-class red wines can be ascribed, in part, to its excellent terroir. It is no coincidence that the area is known, locally, as the Golden Triangle. The vineyards face north, north-east and north-west. In summer, when the vines are drenched in sunshine, the late-afternoon sea breezes that rise from False Bay cool the grapes, thus lengthening the ripening period and preserving the complex flavours of the noble varietals grown at Alto. They are also experts in making fortified port-style wine. The cool 2006 vintage produced superb, slow ripening Shiraz grapes with concentrated fruit flavours. Hand-picked at optimum ripeness, the grapes were destalked and crushed. Colour and tannins were extracted during a short fermentation which was halted by the addition of fine brandy spirits in the traditional manner. Wood was used judiciously. To preserve the fruit components, the winemaker opted for 12 months in 300 litre oak barrels. This fortified red wine is, of course, the South African version of Port, and is known as Cape Port in South Africa. It is made from 100% Shiraz.