Spier Wine Farm

Spier, one of the oldest wine farms in South Africa, rooted in a rich heritage dating back to 1692, was generous enough to host me, allowing me a holistic view of their exquisite and breath-taking property. I had such a memorable and enriched day where I was whisked away to this marvelous Winelands getaway destination so immersed in the tranquility of nature, that it’ll be challenging to put to words!

the hotel

My visit at Spier started off with a site inspection of the 4-star village-style hotel situated along the Eerste River. We set off as Lee-Anne, Leisure and Incentive Sales Executive, took me on a walkabout of the facilities showcasing an artfully decorated reception area, delightful restaurant, inviting pool and lounge area, serene spa and the quint hotel, set around 6 private courtyards, each boasting their own swimming pool. The rooms are spacious with a very simple and tastefully decorated interior and over-looking a quaint and charming garden.

the farm

Now, Spier is by no means a small property. So, to get around the 600-hectare wine farm a little easier, we hopped on a couple of bikes and cycled our way across the farm, making stops along the way by Vadas Smokehouse and Bakery, the Songsmith of singing rocks and the Spier Artisan Studio whilst cycling past the spectacular sculptures lining the tree-shaded walkway. It was such a delight cycling about as I haven’t been on a bike in years, and those childhood memories just couldn’t resist surfacing to the front of my mind.

the art

Art as far as the eye can see! Spier is all about the art; and wherever you look, you’ll be able to find some art form gracing the walls whether it be paintings, mosaics, something made from recycled materials, or interactive singing rocks perched beside the dam (still can’t wrap my head around that one). The art scattered across the farm and the Arts Trust, dedicated to the growth of visual artists and artisans in South Africa, is truly inspiring and insightful.

lunch at eight restaurant

We cycled our way to the Eight Restaurant for a “farm-to-table” lunch experience. Let me tell you, that was probably the best lunch I’ve had in a long time! The meal was so scrumptious, it will definitely be difficult to find a meal like that elsewhere! All the dishes are organic, fresh and made on-site. The whole concept of “farm-to-table” is that everything on your plate come straight from Farmer Angus’ farm, or fresh from nearby farms that also practice sustainable farming, with the purpose of creating wholesome and delicious dishes.

vineyard segway tour

With bellies full and hearts happy, we made our way over to the Segways where we would go on a 2-hour trip through the vineyard. When I got on the Segway, at first and throughout the 15-minute training period, I was a bit wobbly; however, I quickly adjusted and soon felt like a Segway Protégé. Off-roading on dirt pathways through the vineyard, with those sprawling Helderberg mountains in the distance, on a Segway at 20 kilometers per hour is about as wild as it sounds… and trust me, that 20 km/h is plenty fast! It was pure bliss soaring through the farm past all the cows, pigs and chickens. At one point we took a break to observe the chickens grazing on the lush green pasture and as soon as we set foot off the Segway, the chickens flocked and completely encircled us. I just couldn’t stop myself from sinking to the grass and having these strangely interactive chickens peck away at my jeans as I tried, and failed, to keep my giggles at bay – it was the strangest thing ever, but I was amused beyond words!

eagle encounter

You can imagine that, after a property walkabout, lunch, and a 2-hour Vineyard Segway Tour, we were properly exhausted, which is why we ended the day with a visit to the eagles, owls, and falcons and enjoyed a show showcasing these majestically breath-taking and powerful birds. Eagle Encounters has been going strong since 2001, rehabilitating and releasing birds of prey, promoting conservation and education, on land donated by Spier. Birds of prey keep the farm’s ecosystem in balance, making it possible to naturally control pests, without pesticides.

All in all, I had a wonderfully delightful day accredited to the hospitality and exquisite aesthetic appeal of Spier. It was the small things like the pure tranquility of a farm with rolling green grassy pastures, tree-shaded picnic areas and walkways, cycling about the grounds and even being immersed among chickens that made my day and left me feeling content. It was beautiful, exciting, entertaining and blissful.

Monique Marais