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It sometimes seems like there are more wine farms in the Cape Winelands than there are blades of grass in the Serengeti. So it can be tricky to stand out as something different from the vast offering of beautiful views, delicious wine, and slick restaurants. Yet Spier does just that.
Look, it has some distinct advantages. It’s one of the oldest farms in South Africa with an estate large enough to farm vegetables, beef, and chickens, as well as wine. (Fun fact: Spier’s chickens produce 4,000 eggs a day). More than its award-winning wine and unique activities it offers, it’s the environmentally-conscious and vibrant energy that really distinguishes Spier. Spanning 620 hectares, the farm consists of a 153-room hotel, a conference centre, three restaurants, winery and farming operation.
Here are some of the reasons we love it;
Mosaic installation at Spier Wine Estate – The Dying Slave Photo Credit: Spier Wine Estate
Spier’s claim to art fame is that it has one of the most extensive collections of contemporary art in South Africa. The diverse range of rich work is rotated on an annual basis to keep the spaces fresh and alive.
Spier also has its own art academy in Cape Town, which offers employment-based training in professional mosaic. More than 140 apprentices have joined the academy since inception in 2008. The Spier Art Academy runs an exciting project called Creative Block in which artists produce work on standard wooden blocks. The best works are immediately bought from the artist before being sold to collectors worldwide.
Segway through vineyards at Spier Photo Credit: Spier Wine Estate
Spier’s list of activities is as long as the Eerste River that passes through the wine estate. Guests can enjoy a pre-booked picnic on the lawn next to the river under shady trees, or create their own picnic at their new Spier Farm Kitchen on the Werf. Enjoy wholesome food fresh from the farm can be enjoyed at Eight Restaurant. Award-winning wine can be tasted with delectable treats on the banks of the dam, and there are a number of more adventurous things to do, too.
There are walks such as the River Walk, which takes walkers past a large variety of proteas on the farm and a vineyard tour on Segways, which combines a beautiful glide through the farm with a load of interesting facts about the estate.
The children will love Eagle Encounters, a bird-of-prey rehabilitation and conservation project. There are over 100 birds of prey and over 20 different types of raptors. Visitors can hold tame birds, as well as watch and participate in the daily flying display.
The serene surroundings and buildings of Spier Wine Estate Photo Credit: Spier Wine Estate
Spier is one of the oldest farms in South Africa, with a recorded history dating back to 1692. A symbol of this proud heritage is the farm’s unique architectural feature: an unrivalled 21 Cape Dutch historic gables. To delve into this history, visitors can go on the Heritage Walk, which combines a beautiful amble through nature with some interesting facts. The walk takes guests past some of the historic buildings such as the 1822 Manor House and South Africa’s oldest dated wine cellar.
Image credit: Spier Wine Estate
Well, we are in the Winelands after all, and Spier produces some delicious wines. The tasting room sits on the banks of the popular Spier dam, with stunning views of the Helderberg Mountains. There are wine tastings paired with seasonal food, grape juice tasting for kids, and, my personal favourite, the chocolate and wine tasting. Inspired by their Spier Signature Méthode Cap Classique and Spier Creative Block blends, the chocolatier has carefully crafted chocolates that complement and unlock nuanced flavours in each of the wines.
Eight Restaurant Photo Credit: Spier Wine Estate
When it comes to food at Spier, guests are spoiled for choice. There are four dining experiences to choose from. There’s the flagship, farm-to-table Eight Restaurant, where natural and organic ingredients are combined to create an exciting menu.
There are popular picnics available from the Spier Farm Kitchen, which are prepared according to the same principles as Eight Restaurant and can be enjoyed on the lawn next to the dam. There is also the Spier Hotel Restaurant, which is perfect for elegant a la carte dining.
Also on the Werf is the Hoghouse BBQ & Bakery, a lip-smackingly good smokehouse that slow cooks grass-fed beef, pork, lamb and free-roaming chicken. They have a machine called “The Hog,” which smokes meats the low-and-slow way for up to 16 hours.
Farming at Spier
A spirit of conservation and sustainability runs through everything they do at Spier. Whether it’s sourcing organic and local ingredients for their restaurants or in working towards uplifting the local communities in a myriad of ways, it’s all and always about giving back and helping to create a world that is sustainable as well as beneficial for all. This rings true through the Spier experience and is their singular driving force.
Spier has been recognised by Condé Nast Traveler, WWF, Fair Trade in Tourism and the African Responsible Tourism Awards for their enlightened environmental policies. Of all the projects, the Tree-preneurs is my favourite! This fantastic initiative encourages people in impoverished communities to grow trees in exchange for essential goods.
Spier’s environmental and social initiatives are many and include ways to reduce water usage. 100% of its wastewater, and more than 95% of its solid waste is recycled. The estate also supports entrepreneurs by helping them create micro-enterprises linked to Spier.
Eagle encounters at Spier Photo Credit: Spier Wine Estate
Spier is one of the best places for families in the Winelands. They have a kids’ playroom to keep them entertained throughout the day and the accommodation also caters perfectly for families. Of course, there are all the other aspects we’ve already mentioned too, like Eagle Encounters, the picnics, and the grape juice tastings.
If you’d like to stay at Spier or find out more about the Cape Winelands, then simply send us a message and we’ll point you in the right direction with a no-obligation quote.
Matt discovered a passion for writing in the six years he spent travelling abroad. He worked for a turtle sanctuary in Nicaragua, in an ice cream factory in Norway and on a camel safari in India. He was a door-to-door lightbulb-exchanger in Australia, a pub crawl guide in Amsterdam and a journalist in Colombia. Now, he writes and travels with us.
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