At the beginning of the month, I was invited to spend 2 nights at Spier Wine Farm and Hotel with my partner, perfect timing too, it was the week after my 26th birthday! Anthony and I spent 2 nights and 3 beautiful days in the Cape Winelands, with a jam packed itinerary full of activities like wine tasting, of course, Segway vineyards tours, and a gourmet picnic in the gardens, it was magical you guys. Below is a photo gallery and brief description of all the amazing things we got to do and see. When you get to the bottom, there is a cheeky little promo code for all my readers to make the most of their Spier Wine Farm Stay. Enjoy!
Glide through the vineyards. Breeze through the River Garden. Take a turn past the yin-yang water recycling and re-energising plant. Two-wheeled, self-balancing, battery powered personal transporters: Segways are the coolest way to do a breezy lap around the farm. Anthony and I took a 2 hour tour around the Vineyards and grounds late afternoon. At first, I couldn't quite get the hang of it, my balance was somewhat off, only because I went Segwaying in my signature kitten heels, I know, fail, so instead I took them off and went barefoot, salt of the earth stuff. It was just the two of us on our gorgeous tour, and of course our guide Dylan who helped explain the different parts of the farm, the animals, the agricultural practices and of course, take pictures of us.
Spier Segway Tour
±1 hour, R350pp
A whistle-stop tour, showing you the vineyards and natural farming practices in action against the backdrop of the soaring Helderberg.
Tour times: 9am, 10:30am, 12pm, *1:30pm, *3pm (*Summer: 2pm, 3:30pm) Not for children under 10.
Spier Wine Farm & Vineyards Glide
± 2 hours, R550pp
Glide around the indigenous River Garden and yin-yang wastewater recycling plant, then through the leafy vineyards. Go via the farmlands before resting your wheels and stopping for a wine tasting. (Not for under 12s.)
Tour times: 9am, 12pm, 3pm (wine tasting not available on last tour)
In summer, due to the heat, we do not offer the 2-hour tour at midday.
Spier Sunset Tour
±2 hours, R 700pp
Breeze through the champagne-like, balmy summer evening air. Peaceful and quiet. A Segway tour around the winelands at dusk is a great way to see the sun set on another perfect day in the Cape.
Spier Artisan Studio
THE SPIER ARTISAN STUDIO IS A MOSAIC AND CERAMIC WORKSHOP WHERE MASTER ARTISANS COLLABORATE WITH VISUAL ARTISTS.
The Spier Artisan Studio Stellenbosch is a satellite of the Spier Artisan Studio Cape Town – a master mosaic and ceramic studio – situated next to Eight restaurant close to the farm’s historic Werf.
The airy, light-filled space at Spier allows guests to see artisans at work as they create pieces in mosaic and beadwork in collaboration with South African fine artists. Creative Block artworks and other images are interpreted in these mediums and, upon completion, are available for purchase by the public.
The studio is administered by the Spier Arts Trust which develops arts projects that make a significant contribution to the Southern African cultural environment. Anthony and I hung out with Dean on two of the days we stayed, to check in on his progress. He was hand cutting and fitting the most intricate mosaic I have ever seen, and even kindly took us to the Mosaic Kraal to show us some of the previous works done by the class, on display in the garden. The work was so intricate and vibrant, I think we spent a good couple hours in there working up an appetite for lunch!
A PROJECT THAT GIVES MORE THAN 100 PEOPLE LIVING IN SOME OF THE CAPE’S POOREST AREAS THE OPPORTUNITY TO CHANGE THEIR LIVES.
Tree-preneurs empowers over 100 people from some of the Cape’s poorest communities with the opportunity to change their lives. Ranging in age from 5 to 93, Tree-preneurs are taught how to care for indigenous trees and plants. They are given seedlings to nurture; once these have reached 30cm, they can be exchanged for vouchers for food, clothing, agricultural goods, tools, bicycles and educational support.
Originally established in KwaZulu-Natal by Wildlands Conservation Trust, Tree-preneurs now operates in more than 24 communities countrywide. In 2009 – as part of its commitment to making a positive environmental and social impact through business – Spier teamed up with Wildlands to launch Tree-preneurs in the Western Cape, providing it with a base on the farm from which to operate, as well as free water and electricity.
The driving force behind Tree-preneurs is Lesley Joemat, a Spier employee who has built a personal relationship with growers in eight impoverished communities across the province, including Blikkiesdorp, Kalkfontein, Lynedoch, Meerlust, Heather Park, Tafelsig, Nagenoeg and Klapmuts. Lesley visits them on a weekly basis to distribute seedlings, containers, soil and compost, and to offer advice on growing trees.
Ripples of change
The items exchanged with growers in return for trees – whether bikes for those without transport, or educational support for those struggling to pay school fees – unlock opportunities, provide support and spark inspiration. The project nourishes environmental consciousness in the communities where growers live; it also empowers others to make a positive difference. A powerful example of this is Tannie Babs Visagie, a Tree-preneur from Heather Park who runs a food kitchen, using the vouchers earned from her trees to buy food for orphans in her community. Since she joined the project in 2011, she has bartered 5600 trees, including 500 spekboom plants currently showcased on the verandahs at Spier Hotel.
Working together for ecological regeneration
Tree-preneurs isn’t just uplifting the communities in which it operates: through key collaborations, its efforts are having a far-reaching impact on the health of Stellenbosch’s environment. The project supports the Stellenbosch River Collaborative (a multi-stakeholder partnership which aims to restore health to the Eerste River catchment) through the establishment of a team that is currently rehabilitating the Plankenbrug, clearing alien vegetation and planting indigenous riverine species. Western Cape Tree-preneurs have grown 25,000 indigenous trees since the project began in the province. 10,000 of these have been donated to the Stellenbosch municipality's Million Trees initiative. These have been planted in disadvantaged areas of Stellenbosch in need of greening such as Cloetesville, while riverine species have been planted as part of the Plankenbrug’s regeneration.
EIGHT IS A FARM-TO-TABLE EATING EXPERIENCE. LIKE ITS NAME, THE RESTAURANT IS AN EXPRESSION OF BALANCE, CYCLES, HARMONY, INFINITY AND ABUNDANCE.
The produce used at Eight is either grown on the farm or sourced from nearby farmers. Natural and organic ingredients are preferred, creatively combined to create nourishing, healthy, and delicious food.
Eight’s menu changes seasonally.
Greens and fresh veggies come from the food garden where they are grown without the use chemical fertilisers, pesticides or artificial chemicals. The fillet, sirloin and sausages come from grass-fed cattle reared on Spier’s pastures, along with delicious eggs laid by happy hens that scratch around freely in the fields. Both the chickens and cattle are raised without the use of antibiotics or hormones. A children’s menu is also available to be enjoyed by kids after they’ve played on the rolling lawns and wooden jungle gym outside or discovered the secret bamboo ‘forest’ nearby. Spier’s award-winning wines complement the menu, along with freshly-squeezed vegetable and fruit juices and a selection of craft beers and artisanal sodas.
Eight’s décor embodies the restaurant’s ethos, with lights made by local artist, Heath Nash. The impressive ceiling on the terrace has been lined with over 10 000 individually crafted flowers made from recycled white plastic milk bottles, and lit with low voltage LEDs. The light fittings in the main part of the restaurant were made from recycled plastic bottles.
Eight was included in the 2016 Eat Out 500, a list of the top restaurants in South Africa as determined by a panel of food and restaurant experts.
For dinner on our first night, we had the most exquisite 3 course meal, paired with my favourite easy drinking wine, the award winning 21 Gables Pinotage, named for the 21 Gable style buildings on the farm. I had a divine Butternut Souffle to start, Sweet Potato Gnocchi main, and a tart for dessert. I ate half of Anthony's Wild Beetroot starter, but of course being a veggie, let him have the Grassfed Beef all to himself. We were completely stuffed by the time we rolled up to the room on our little golf cart, but there waiting was a bottle of champagne and a gift from the marketing team. While Ant lit a fire, I opened it up to find the coolest little White Instax Mini camera with a apck of film, and the loveliest happy birthday message. Needless to say I felt extremely special, and that kind fo attention to detail is priceless! I don't have pictures unfortunately, because I was so engrossed in the romance of the whole thing, I completely forgot to take any!
TUCK INTO A HAMPER PACKED WITH DELICIOUS FARM-STYLE FAVOURITES.
One of my favourite meals of the trip was the farm-style packed picnic lunch. We got a separate hamper each because my dietary needs differ so greatly from Anthony's, each with it's own bottle of Spier wine. Winning. We took a long lazy, boozy lunch on our backs under a massive tree sipping wine and chatting. The afternoon was topped by a champagne in-room spa massage with the breeze blowing in and gentle tunes wafting through the room. It really was one of the most romantic trips we've taken, and we had so much fun. When we finally pulled ourselves from the relaxed stupor of the afternoon, dinner was served as a wine pairing in the Hotel Restaurant where we got to learn a little bit more about the flavours in the wine and how they compliment each dish.
To help make your stay at Spier Wine Farm and Hotel as memorable as ours, I am giving you a promo code for a picnic hamper worth R580 for your stay! Use the code SpierKenny when making your booking, and just a heads up, there is a winter special running until the end of September for 20% a 3 night stay!