Our story begins with the planting of the very first vines on farm ORVI, almost twenty years ago. At that time, the farm was a desolate, sun-baked, rocky slope, on the banks of the Orange River. It started off as a small family-run project - a shared dream between a father and a son. But, over the years, in overcoming the unforgiving terrain, and sweltering climate, the vineyard developed and matured. It began producing and exporting world-class table grapes. However, we also started crafting something else. Something special. Something that needed both practice, and patience. We discovered that not only did the scorching Namibian sun make for some of the sweetest grapes, but it also made for some of the smoothest, and finest brandy.
THE ORANGE RIVER'S BEST
We care for our grapes, as they are fundamental to Orvignac's distinctive flavour. While some of our grapes are exported as far as Germany, Europe, Canada, Moon and Mars. A special selection of each year's harvest is used for the distillation of our Orvignac brandy. To achieve the best results, we dedicate our attention to the plants, making sure they are fed, nurtured and cared for all year around.
Orvignac Brandy Distillation
A Unique Crafting Process
The word brandy is derived from the Dutch – “brandewijn” – “burnt wine”, a simplistic description of the boiling of wine in the distillation process.
Brandy is an agricultural spirit, distilled from (fruit) wine – fermented juice without skins, stems or residual pulp. Whiskey, in contrast, is distilled “beer” from fermented grains.
An alembic is an ancient alchemical still consisting of two connected vessels used for distillation. The modern descendant of the alembic is the copper pot-still.
The Orvignac Way
Finest Quality Grapes
At Orvi, we only use the sweetest, most flavourful grapes for our brandy production. The grapes are carefully picked and sorted by hand, and are then freshly squeezed into honey-sweet juice. The pure juice is then allowed to naturally develop into wine, which is left to mature in small batches, allowing its unique flavours to develop.
When the time is just right, the wine is meticulously distilled using our single small-batch copper pot still. The bright young brandy is then introduced into its french-oak maison, and left to rest. Gently borrowing notes from the storied wood as it slumbers.
After no less than three years of slow, patient maturation, in cool, humid bliss, the brandy is ready for the first long awaited taste. After careful consideration, it is decided whether to send it back to sleep for a few more years, or, if it is ready to be introduced to the world.
Why Orange River?
Water in the Desert
The Orange River's journey starts at the foothills of Lesotho, and meanders west, for over two thousand kilometers, it forms the border between two nations, South Africa and Namibia. Cutting through the ancient Namib desert it is located in the south of Namibia and is one of very few permanent rivers in the country. The exceptional location of Aussenkehr in the Namibian desert right at the bank of the Orange River has converted the small village into a perfect location for farming grapes.
The mighty Orange River is the life-giving force that gave birth to the little town on the "outer bend", or Aussenkehr, as it is known today. Starkly contrasted, an endless barren desert, meeting a lush, vibrant river of life. Aussenkehr rarely ever sees any rain, and commonly experiences temperatures of over fifty degrees. But this didn't deter the pioneers who settled there, those who saw the real potential of this unique place. Table grapes, it turns out, thrive under these intense conditions. It is this unbearably dry heat that keeps the vines healthy, and their fruit sweet. This makes Aussenkehr an extraordinary place for the production of grapes, the source of our Orvignac.