Spier Wine Farm was the third farm on Ryan‘s and my itinerary during our recent visit to the Cape winelands. Situated along Baden Powell Drive off the N2 highway – a main arterial road into historic Stellenbosch, Spier is the definitive go to wine estate. It has every facility to tantalise the simplest to the most discerning of palettes, and its close approximity to Cape Town makes it an easy choice for a day visit.
Everything at Spier has the mark of taste, from the farm-to-table food philosophy, its reputable range of fine wines to the magnificent works of art, which can be found throughout. The farm’s ambience is both redolent of the Old Cape, mixed with a savvy appreciation of what the modern traveller looks for in a four-star go-to resort. The rooms in the Spier hotel are superb with their pared back French country furnishings, white cement floors, hemp rugs and linen curtains. The subtle, elegant backdrop in my room was offset with a flourish of red in the bed throws, chairs and the scatter cushions, which carry South Africa’s national flower – the King Protea.
The hotel rooms too have an energy saving strategy – the hallmark of the sustainability ethos, which is inculcated throughout the farm – from the grey water system, which recycles 95 % of all water consumed, to the free range eggs from the free range chickens and their mobile chicken hutches, which are routinely rotated to fertilise different parts of the land.
The history of the Spier wine farm dates back to 1692 and while we were there the original farm “werf” or yard, was being restored back to its former glory. Authenticity is a necessary counterpoint to what is clearly a big business. It is a large part of what visitors to Spier want to see – an original truth when one explores the original homestead, cellar and surrounding farm buildings. And while Spier knows how to pack a crowd, with its 430-seater conference centre and 1100-seater amphitheatre, which holds huge festivals throughout the summer season, everything is discretely situated and spaced out in exquisite gardens, to ensure that its beauty and aesthetic is retained.
Personally, I loved the beautiful art collection, works of which are displayed to perfection in the restaurants, tasting rooms, reception and lounges, offsetting the gorgeous and restrained textured décor.
The Spier Art Collection is one of the largest contemporary South African art collections and includes works by Willie Bester, Lindile Magunya and Ernet Fulani, which have been created on
corrugated iron from shacks destroyed by fire, an expression of the devastation caused by these frequent crises in shanty towns. A favourite were the woven works by Tamlin Blake, often produced in collaboration with the Qubeka Bead Studio, which have been created from discarded newsprint.
Ryan persuaded me to join him on a farm tour via Segway, which was a first for me. I surprised myself at how easy it was to master the basics and was soon whizzing with the rest. I loved the freedom that comes with being outdoors and being able to go considerable distance without huge physical effort.
Spier’s impeccable taste and standard in amenities, accommodation and great great wine, make it worthy of its go-to-favourite status among both local and foreign tourists. Spier is a beautiful sure bet for a good time.
How to get there:
The Spier Wine Farm is about a half an hour’s drive (26.0 km) from the Cape Town International Airport via the N2 and Baden Powell Drive (R310). To get there follow Settlers Way/N2 in Crossroads from Borcherds Quarry Rd/M22. Follow the N2 and take exit 33. Follow Baden Powell Dr/R310 to Stellenbosch. Spier Wine Farm is on your right. Thompson Holidays have block flights and bookings with most of the leading wine estates at competitive pricing. To find the latest deals at Spier go to http://www.thompsons.co.za/deals/the-spier-hotel