How to Spend a Weekend at Spier Wine Farm, South Africa
South Africa is known for its breathtaking scenery, delectable food and wine, unparalleled wildlife and warm hospitality – so if you’re thinking of heading on holiday there, it’ll come as a pleasant surprise that there are many parts of SA where you can happily combine the lot.
If you’ve opted to do the Cape Town, Wine & Safari itinerary, or the Garden Route – among our many tailor-made South Africa holiday suggestions – you’ll be lucky enough to be heading to the celebrated wine region of Stellenbosch. Stellenbosch is known for its countless wineries, quirky museums and galleries and beautifully quaint town, showcasing the best of Cape-Dutch architecture. On a recent trip here, my group and I stayed at one of the most prestigious wineries – Spier Wine Farm – to experience the best of the region’s spoils. But if you thought it was all about wine… you’d be wrong. Read on to discover my list of the top things to do at Spier Wine Farm...
Segways at Spier - Image: Emily Cater
Segways at SpierImage: Emily Cater
Ride a Segway
One of the first things we did when arriving at Spier was make our way to the Segway tour centre, just a five-minute walk from the main hotel. Here, we learned the basics of Segway riding from two extremely funny and friendly guides, including how to move forwards, turn, and stop our Segway. Once we were prepped and ready, we set off zooming around the local countryside and vineyards, a beautiful sight to behold. It was tricky to begin with, and there were certainly some near misses (I might have driven into the back of my colleague once or twice…) but a lot of fun and a definite must-do if you’re staying at Spier.
Spier Wine Tasting - Image: Emily Cater
Spier Wine TastingImage: Emily Cater
Wine Tasting with Chocolate Pairing
You've most likely come here for the wine, so it makes sense you should enjoy a spot of wine tasting at Spier. Why not be ultra-indulgent though and try a wine and chocolate pairing, as we did? We tried two delicious white wines both paired with a complementary chocolate treat, and a full-bodied red. You can also accompany your wine tasting with a cheese or cured meat board, if you’d prefer.
Take in the Art Displays and Gables
During our tour of Spier, we were able to visit some of the original 17th-century Cape-Dutch gables, which are now home to some of the hotel’s eateries and wine cellars. Spier Wine Farm also has art at its core – with the Spier Light Art Festival running every year, usually from early December to late January. Experience 22 diverse artworks scattered around the farm, some of which are playful and interactive, and some of which have audio elements. Sunset is a great time to visit, where you’ll get the chance to see the lights being turned on. There is also an on-site Artisan Studio for mosaic and ceramic-making, where you can watch local artists create beautiful pieces in mosaic and beadwork in collaboration with South African fine artists.
The gardens at Spier - Image: Lauren Spence
The gardens at SpierImage: Lauren Spence
Walk, Jog or Rent Bikes
The scenery at Spier really is stunning, set against the backdrop of seemingly endless wine country, with rolling fields and farmland, home to some 80,000 vines. Why not walk, jog, or rent bikes and explore the land for yourself? There’s a 5km or 10km running track, while bikes can be rented on site. If you fancy cooling off afterwards, relax by the hotel’s large outdoor pool on one of the sunbeds, and rehydrate with the hotel’s fresh fruit-infused water.
Baby Owls at Eagle Encounters - Image: Julia Duelks
Baby Owls at Eagle EncountersImage: Julia Duelks
Visit the Animal Conservation Centre
Definitely a firm family favourite, if you’re spending a weekend at Spier, you’ll definitely want to put aside an hour or two to visit Eagle Encounters. This on-site animal conservation centre was primarily established for the rehabilitation and conservation of birds of prey, and you can also arrange something not dissimilar to an animal meet-and-greet, which needs to be booked before your visit. Alongside the birds, you’ll find snakes, lizards, meerkats, piglets, tortoises and rabbits.
Wine tasting and nibbles at Spier - Image: Yohan Foong
Wine tasting and nibbles at SpierImage: Yohan Foong
Grab Lunch or Dinner at the Hotel’s On-Site Eateries
There are numerous spots to grab lunch or dinner at Spier, starting with breakfast in the main hotel restaurant. Opt for freshly-made scrambled eggs or perhaps pancakes with fresh fruit. For lunch, head to Spier Farm Kitchen – a 200-year-old building that serves delicious seasonal produce grown on site in the Werf Food Garden. If the weather’s good, I’d recommend grabbing a picnic basket which you can order 24 hours in advance. Choose from options like rotisserie chicken, beef sandwiches and fresh salads, with bread from the bakery, and of course, a bottle of the estate wine. At the Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery, you can sample smoked beef brisket, juicy smoked pork and other meats with delicious sauces, as well as plenty of vegetarian dishes too. The bakery is not to be missed, with treats like blueberry and nectarine, pecan, and lemon meringue pie on offer. All in all, you really can eat and drink 'til your heart’s content here.
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