About us

WINTERS DRIFT is the wine brand of Molteno Brothers (Pty) Ltd, a farming business situated in the cooler climate Elgin area of the Western Cape Province of South Africa.

WINTERS DRIFT is the wine brand of Molteno Brothers (Pty) Ltd, a farming business situated in the cooler climate Elgin area of the Western Cape Province of South Africa.

Although the Winters Drift brand was only established in 2010, the then young Molteno Brothers acquired the farm Glen Elgin in 1903, where they settled and spent the rest of their lives. Glen Elgin and the neighbouring properties that were later bought, led to the establishment of the farming business that bears their name today.

Winters Drift is named after a crossing through the Palmiet River on the old route through the Overberg, indicated on old maps of the area as a "winter ford of the river". The Palmiet River rises in the surrounding mountains and flows down the length of the Elgin valley. This old route passes through what is today Glen Elgin farm, home of Winters Drift.

The Molteno Brothers Trust was formed in terms of the will of Harry Molteno who died in 1969 to continue to conduct the farming operations and activities and to use the income derived therefrom in the furtherance of 'educational, cultural and charitable interests'.

Historically Molteno Brothers has been a fruit farm and apples and pears continue to comprise the largest part of the farm at approximately 420 hectares. The first grapes for wine production were planted in 2004, with plantings taking place since then growing the total are under vines to 54 hectares today. Cultivars planted are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon, Viognier, Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Grenache and Mourvédre. Under the 2010 vintage (our first vintage) Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Rosé (Merlot) were released, and under the 2011 vintage Shiraz and Pinot Noir were added to the wine range.

Molteno Brothers, as owners of about 500 hectares of uncultivated mountain veld, are founder members of the Groenberg Conservancy formed in 1998. This is a formalized grouping of farms registered with Cape Nature, surrounding the Groenlandberg that has as its aim the conservation of the remaining un-spoilt Fynbos areas. In recognition of its conservation efforts, Molteno Brothers has enjoyed BWI accreditation since 2007 and in 2012 we were awarded Champion status.

Winter Ford of the River – Map of 1832

The reference to Winters Drift comes from the indication of the river crossing on the old map (dating from 1832) marked as "Winter Ford of the River". In Apples of the Sun the quote referring to the crossing and the farm reads as follows: "The Palmiet River, which formed its border to the west, as well as several streams and springs, kept it supplied with water throughout the year; kraals and a dwelling house surrounded by a small area of arable land were in existence approximately where the Elgin railway station is situated today. An interesting feature of the farm is marked on the diagram as "winter ford of the river:. Since the land was granted on condition that "in the event of the Palmiet River being impassable Travellers shall have a right to unteam their Cattle on the land hereby granted - that all Roads and Thoroughfares running over this land shall remain free and uninterrupted".


Molteno Brothers Trust
The Molteno Brothers, Edward (1877-1950) and Harry (1880-1969) Molteno, were sons of Cape Prime Minister, John Molteno, by his third wife Sobella Maria. Pioneering and successful farmers and exporters, they had a huge influence on South Africa’s fruit industry and left the farm that was built up over their lifetimes in a trust that continues their charitable work to this day.

The two brothers first invested in the Palmiet area in the early 1900s. They may have been influenced by the purchase of some land in the area by their older brothers Percy and Frank Molteno (Percy Molteno initially assisted his younger brothers with his connections in the export industry and a loan to buy their first plot). From modest beginnings farming vegetables, they eventually built up a vast farming enterprise that spanned the valley in what is now the largest single export fruit producing area in Southern Africa.

They restructured the South African fruit farming industry along scientific lines, pioneering new farming and cold storage practices and were influential in the development and uplifting of rural communities in the area. They also founded the Cape Tercentenary Foundation in 1950 to promote and support the arts and the environment in the Cape (Both brothers were extremely well read, appreciators of music and the arts, and were deeply concerned about the natural environment).

The name of their original farm - Glen Elgin - subsequently came to refer to the whole region. The Elgin area is today one of the more intensively farmed districts of South Africa and produces a large portion of the national apple crop.

The Molteno Borthers Trust (NPO No: 025/351/NPO)

A body that seeks to support education, cultural institutions and charitable causes in Southern Africa. The Molteno Brothers Trust was set up in terms of the will of the younger brother, Harry Molteno, who died in 1969. Annual donations from the trust to such causes are derived mainly from the income of Ted and Harry Molteno's Elgin farms, which was bequeathed to the Trust. The operations are today managed by a company staffed by qualified managers who are overseen by a board of Trustees, also appointed according to Harry's will.

The current Board of Trustees consists of:
Mr J A C McGregor (Chair)
Mr D G Bowden
Mr L de Waal
Ms R Kadalie
Mr P M Naylor


While fruit - in particular apples - dominates the scene at Molteno Brothers and Glen Elgin Farms, the challenge of diversification has introduced a new crop - Fynbos.

The Glen Elgin Fynbos Division was established in 1995 where it was undertaken to establish Fynbos as a commercial cut flower crop, planted in fields. Plant material was difficult to obtain, so it was necessary for the Farm to start its own nursery. This soon grew and established itself as a commercial nursery supplying the industry with top quality rooted cuttings. In 2006, the decision was made to expand the Nursery facility to produce Potted Fynbos Plants for sale to the Retail Nurseries.

Garden Plants
Glen Elgin Potted Proteaceae Plants arose from gardeners and landscapers requiring a larger, healthier and stronger fynbos plant to plant in their gardens. Glen Elgin Potted Plants make excellent garden and landscape subjects. They have a diverse range of textures and colours, are waterwise and indigenous. Not only should they be planted outside in the garden, but could also be suitable for a tub on a patio.

Commercial Plants
When wanting to start or expand your Protea Fields, who do you go to? Glen Elgin Nursery is able to supply commercial farmers with rooted cuttings for their fields. The rooted cuttings are placed in perforated bags (90mm x 150mm).

Cut Flowers
Glen Elgin grows quality cut flowers both for the local and overseas market. These are sold wholesale and either go to the to the Dutch Auctions via an agent or are made up into bouquets (by Agents) and sold to top U.K and European supermarket chains.

Winters Drift