Spier Media Coverage
House & Leisure September 2011 Spier Wines Article Gabled glory A heritage walk at a Stellenbosch wine farm offers a valuable art-history lesson Text Leigh Robertson Photographs Adam Letch
Heritage Day, the public holiday held every year on 24 September, may have been annexed 'national braai day' by many a South African, but it's also opportune for exploring some of the finer efforts underway to preserve aspects of our multifarious heritage. A notable example is Stellenbosch wine farm Spier. For all its associations as a tourist hot spot, Spier's award-winning wines, support of the arts and proactive focus on environmental issues are well known. But there's much more afoot says its CEO Andrew Milne. 'Spier was established in 1692 and, as such, has a long and colourful history. We're completely committed to protecting and reflecting this unique heritage,' he says. Part of this commitment has been an extensive restoration project on the farm, including the refurbishment of its manor house (a national monument), which was stripped of centuries of inappropriate plaster work and then re-plastered using a traditional sand-and-lime mixture. Another project was the commissioning of a study of the farm's Cape Dutch architecture and magnificent collection of gables by wellknown architectural historian and author Dr Hans Fransen. The result is the establishment of a heritage walk that takes visitors on a self-guided tour of the farm, a meander through the lovely oak-shaded grounds, passing buildings such as the manor house, Jonkershuis and the oldest-dated wine
cellar in the country (1767). 'Although no longer used for wine production, it's one of the most beautifully proportioned and preserved buildings on the farm,' says Andrew. The walk affords a comprehensive overview of the architecture of the period. 'Of all the hundreds of surviving Cape Dutch farm complexes in the Cape, Spier boasts the greatest number of gables: 21 in all, all beautifully preserved,' writes Dr Fransen. 'A leisurely walk around the farmyard... amounts to a lesson in art history!' Later this year Spier will unveil a new wine-tasting centre, while the old stables are being converted into a barrel cellar. And fans of the farm's winelands picnics can look forward to a similarly revamped experience this summer. Spier, spier.co.za
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP Spier's historical buildings boast 21 well-preserved Cape Dutch gables, including the holbol end gable of the old wine cellar; a holbol on the old stable building, currently the wine centre; the neoclassical centre gable of the ochre-coloured manor house; a side gable of the current wine-sales building; the hue holbol centre gable of the Jonkershuis building.
Taste Magazine 2011 21 Gables Article Gracious Gables
Country Life January 2011 Spier Wine Farm Article Grand Gables The crowning glory of homesteads, gables are a defining feature of Cape Dutch architecture TEXT: MARIANNE HERON PICTURES: DAVID MORGAN What would you pick as the Cape's most distinctive feature? Table Mountain, voted one of the seven natural wonders of the world? Cape Point, or perhaps Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens? It all depends on your
point of view. But for architectural historian Dr Hans Fransen, one feature stands head and shoulders above the rest "Cape Dutch architecture is by far the most important contribution made by settlers to world culture. It is absolutely unique," says Dr Hansen, heritage consultant and author of the old buildings of the Cape. "Nowhere else has developed such a distinctive style of architecture." Set amid oaks and vineyards, gracious Cape Dutch homesteads, with their gleaming white plaster and exuberantly decorated gables, are one of the most captivating sights of the Cape. And the story of their architectural heritage is as fascinating as the buildings are appealing. After the Dutch East India Company established a base in the Cape in 1652, the first settlers built basic rectangular dwellings with no more than three rooms. A century later burgeoning prosperity allowed for more ambitious building, and a new architectural style was born. Although drawn from the Baroque
style in vogue in the Netherlands, once European design took root in South Africa it developed in a way that had its own special character that was both appropriate to local conditions and remarkably consistent. Many factors played a part in the evolution of Cape Dutch architecture, from practicality and a desire for status to the skills of slave craftsmen. "When it came about as a style in the early 1700s, people built what was best for the circumstances," explains Dr Fransen. Builders had to work with what was available â€“ local bricks,for instance, were made of sun-baked clay and did not weather well, so had to be protected with plaster made with lime from sea shells, which gives Cape Dutch Houses their characteristic whiteness. The walls were thick â€“ two brick courses deep to provide protection against heat and damp, while the steep pitch of the roofs was dictated by the need to have runoff from the reed thatch. Glass for window panes had to be imported from Holland. But above all it is the central gables that make Cape Dutch architecture so
distinctive. At first it was the curvaceous Baroque silhouettes adorned with swirls and curlicues, while later gables were in the more restrained neoclassical style. And there is no better place to gain a perspective on their development than at Spier near Stellenbosch, which boasts 21 gables dating from various periods. In wealthy farm complexes not only the manor house had decorative gables, and at Spier the winery, the cow house, slave quarters and workshops are all adorned with handsome gables. In recognition of this important heritage, Spier's awardwinning Pinotage and Chenin Blanc wines carry a '21 Gables' label. And by special arrangement with Spier; Dr Fransen gave us a tour of all of them. "There is no other farm complex that I know of with as many gables," says Dr Fransen. "They tried to make each of the buildings prestigious. You can read the period from the gables and each period is represented here. They start off with the simple concave-convex 'holbol' shape, and then later become more florid, curling at the top, and the mouldings get more pronounced in the Baroque/Rococo period. Then around 1785 it suddenly changes." It was then that architecture altered its tune to the more restrained neoclassical style, where triangular pediments and urns are typical features. There are parallels between the architecture and music of the period, points out Dr Fransen, like the transition from Baroque (CPE Bach) to the classical (Mozart and Haydn), although the change in music was more gradual. The story of Spier dates back to I679 when Cape Governor Simon van der Stel opened up the Stellenbosch valley for settlement by the first free burgers."This is where the story began, on the banks of the Eerste River," says Dr Fransen. Arnaud Janz, a German soldier with the Dutch East India
Company, became the first recorded owner of property on the Eerste, the first river after Cape Town. The name Spier is thought to derive from a Dutch word for bulrushes, and not from the second owner Hans Heinrich Hattingh's native German town of Speyer as is otherwise suggested. By the middle of the 18th century the farm at Spier, then owned by Johan Hoffann, was already known for its quality wine. Next came Albertus Myburgh, who owned the farm from 1765 to 1781. As is often the case with new owners, he had ambitious building work carried out The winery at Spier the earliest known dated building of its type in the country, bears the date 1767 on the holbol gable. In the heart of the Spier complex is an impressive row of gabled buildings: the Jonkershuis, with a gable dated 1778, the workshops (1817) and the homestead (1822), although the house itself was built earlier. Around the complex are the 1773 stables and the slave quarters, their 1812 gable topped with a pediment and hooked scrolls.
Dr Fransen, who has just been conferred with the Award for Extraordinary Cultural Service by the Federasie van Afrikaanse Kultuurverenigings (FAK), gives a delightful insight into the progression of the gables' architectural style. He points out how the different forms of the cavetto (plaster moulding) give a three-dimensional quality to the gables, and how curlicues of plaster were scrolled onto the face of the gable as Baroque designs became more elaborate. "Enriched plaster work is a colonial feature. It was common in the Portuguese colonies but very few places have anything like what we have here. We don't know who did the work, but it was probably Cape Malay slaves under instruction from European builders, for there is little or no Oriental influence,'' says Dr Fransen. "But you can just imagine how, when the work was finished, the plasterers climbed down the ladder, stood back and said, 'That's a good gable!''' The 'letter of the alphabet' plan of homesteads is another feature of Cape
Dutch architecture. T, L and U plans evolved as more rooms were added to the original rectangular buildings. And the H plan characteristic of prosperous country manors from the early 18th century is unique to the Cape. Interestingly, the width of rooms is always between five and six meters, something which Dr Fransen suggests may have been introduced as a rationalisation measure by Dutch East India Company administrator Hendrik van Rheede tot Drakenstein. After the British occupied the Cape for the second time in 1806, Cape Dutch architecture continued until the 1880s and later enjoyed a revival promoted by Cecil Rhodes, while architect Herbert Baker designed many new buildings in Cape Dutch style from the 1890s.
In recent times Spier was put on the map by Niel Joubert, one of the pioneers of the Cape wine industry who owned the farm from 1965 to 1993 and began bottling the estate's own wine. The present owner of Spier, entrepreneur and opera enthusiast Dick Enthoven, undertook a programme of restoration work carried out by heritage architect Tom Darlington and playing a valuable part in heritage conservation. And so the 21 gables of Spier remain to be enjoyed by visitors, and perhaps celebrated with a glass of their very own wine.
Business Day September 2011 Spier Wine Article Arts & Leisure Wine MICHAEL FRIDJHON Once we had winemakers â€“ but that was in the 1970s. Then, in an epidemic of false modesty the 1980s showmen spoke of the wine being made in the vineyard, not the cellar. This was a fine idea: however, if the wine is a product or the vineyard, those who make the planting and pruning decisions must be the heroes. By the 1990s some producers even wheeled out the viticulturists to stand alongside, if not to usurp, the cellar masters. It hasn't caught on â€“ a bit like fine dining in Johannesburg: it's all too complicated for the punters. They simply want a square meal, promptly served, nothing
too pretty about the plate: you can leave out the family tree of the beast that became the beef, and skip the details or its diet. Of course, the gene pool of the cow is important, as well as its quality of life (and death). No matter what the chef does to the steak in the kitchen, the wrong beast, poorly bred, fed and dead, will never produce great beef. We know this intuitively, so we transfer the burden to the cook. "Use the best ingredients" is an implicit part of our expectations. ln this sense, the winemakers, like the chef, is the frontman for the process. How he gets to the end product is a complicated supply chain that begins with the planting
material, where it has been sited, how it has been managed, when it was harvested, how it was handled, processed, aged and finally presented. Some winemakers are like the cooks at farm restaurants which only serve what was grown on the property: they are constrained by what the site yields, but they can interpret it. Other chefs can he more promiscuous, ranging far and wide in pursuit of the raw materials upon which to work their magic. Arco Laarman – who took over from David Finlayson at Glen Carlou a few years back – is changing the style of the cellar's wines, harvesting largely from the same vineyards as his predecessor. This is most evident in the line-up of Chardonnays he has produced. From an experimental unwooded cuvée, through the standard blend and all the way up to the flagship Quartz Stone, the underlying structure of the wine has changed. Alcohol levels are lower, the basic fruit quality is purer and markedly fresher. Elegance rather than bombast, is the aesthetic message. Some of this has been
achieved in the vineyard and in the timing of the harvest. The rest is plainly what has happened in the cellar. This year for the first time concrete "eggs" have replaced some of the wood in the vinification process. Unsurprisingly, the wines are now less oaky. Frans Smit at Spier works with an entirely different paradigm. Most of his awardwinning reds of the past five years are made from grapes – often sourced from quite far afield – that yield wines with polish and volume, but which are unashamedly structured to be blockbusters. When you use warm-climate Paarl fruit you are trading freshness for texture. This is what makes some of Smit's recent white wine releases so interesting. Starting with his Creative Block range, he nudged his own style towards the edgier, more nuanced expressions. It was first evident in the Sauvignon-Semillon blend, but his latest release, 21 Gables range (which replaces the Private Collection) shows that this was no coincidence. The Chenin Blanc is a brilliant exposition of what the grape can produce in SA. It has freshness, complexity, fullness without excessive palate weight – or brutal alcohol levels, for that matter. To produce it, he had to begin by finding the right vineyards. One is Durbanville, the other Simonsberg; both are unirrigated and range in age from 28 to 42 years. Unlike the estate wine producer, he had the choice. But with choice comes responsibility – the easy blockbuster style, or the harder-toachieve finesse. The 2010 Chenin Blanc shows he made the right decisions.
House & Leisure 2011 Frans Smit Profile Master Work If you're fortunate enough to have experienced Spier's knockout Frans K Smit flagship red (R695), you'll need no convincing of the artistry that goes into the wines of this Stellenbosch institution. Cellarmaster Frans Smit (above), confident enough to lend his name to that wine, is no less proud of the other ranges coming out of the state-of-the-art winery â€“ particularly the Creative Block, the second vintages of which have just been released, and which is linked to Spier's innovative art project of the same name. And yes, for Frans winemaking is every bit a creative process, whether in the vineyards or in the cellar. 'I'm no artist,' he laughs, 'but I am a great gardener! My specialities are olive trees, flowerbeds and lawns.' spier.co.za What are you drinking right now? A lot of MCC, Chenin Blanc and Spier Creative Block 2, a Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend (R89). It's so versatile for pairing â€“ you can enjoy it with spicy Asian cuisine as well as seafood. How much artistry is there to making good wine? In the same way as an artist has a certain style, a winemaker also leaves a fingerprint on his or her wines. At Spier, ours is elegance, balance and freshness. Also, the process of blending wines is similar to creating an artwork and this is what Spier Creative Block is all about. We take wines from different vineyard blocks and blend them to create something greater than the sum of its parts.
And how important to the process is what happens in the vineyards? Extremely important. Wine is made in the vineyard. As a winemaker, first and foremost you have to understand grape quality. I spend a lot of time in the vineyards and work closely with our viticulturist to ensure we are getting the most out of our grapes. What happens in the cellar is also important, but at Spier our aim is to make premium wines with as little interference as possible.
Spier Wine Article The top of the wine list South Africa's leading winemakers Four of South Africa 's leading winemakers talk about the art of producing iconic wines that stand out on the global shelf – in an intensely competitive era of global wine brands, iconic wines, signature varieties, biodiversity, regional wine identity and innovative winemaking. Frans Smit, Spier Frans Smit, the cellar master at Spier Wines, has developed into one of South Africa's leading wine makers over the last two decades, winning accolades in the world 's most prestigious wine competitions at home and abroad. There has been no looking back for the talented Smit, who joined Spier in 1996 upon graduating from Elsenburg, Stellenbosch – a nursery for generations of Cape viticulturists and wine makers. Few winemakers have his staying power. In an industry where many winemakers play musical chairs, changing cellars every few vintages, he has staked his reputation on the growing fortunes of a single wine company. This talented winemaker has overseen every vintage at Spier since the mid-l990s, playing a key role in the renaissance of this
heritage farm. He has shared a personal journey with an enterprise that is a leader in fair trade, biodiversity and organic viticulture; and a gateway for Cape wine tourism with world-class arts, hotel, golf, dining and wine attractions. Today, Smit is in charge of a team of viticulturists, winemakers and grape growers who produce over one million cases of wine for Spier's own wine labels, as well as a range of export wines under the Savanha and Naledi brands. Smit and Spier have come of age together, winning the Fairbairn Capital Trophy for the most successful producer at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show 2011, and five gold medals as the most successful South African producer at the Concourse Mondial de Bruxelles 2011. Many critics would agree that Smit is at the apex of his craft – as a winemaker among winemakers. Over a tasting of his eponymous Spier Frans K. Smit blend, 21 Gables and Creative Block series, the self-effacing winemaker talks about the art of making super blends. A perfectionist with a fine eye for detail, he is refreshingly modest, and draws on
Many critics would agree that Smit is at the apex of his craft - as a winemaker among winemakers. Over a tasting of his eponymous Spier Frans K. Smit blend, 21 Gables and Creative Block range, the self-effacing winemaker talks about the art of making super blends. A perfectionist with a fine eye for detail, he is refreshingly modest, and draws on an incredible memory bank of the world’s great wines he has tasted and which inspire him in his quest to show the world that South Africa can produce “super wines”.
an incredible memory bank of the world's great wines be has tasted and which inspire him in his quest to show the world that South Africa can produce "super wines". Can South Africa make world-class wines to beat the best? We're winemakers, not magicians. Sustainable viticulture is the key â€“ and the guys in the vineyards. South Africa needs to build iconic brands that'll last 50 years, and challenge the icons of Australia and California. We need to get the chemistry right between viticulture, vineyards and winemakers. We must guard our old wines, identify super pockets of terroir and plant super-material for the next generation. Rome wasn't built in a day. South Africa will win cult status for its wines one day. So your holy grail is a super blend? Super wine are sold all over the world today, such as California's Opus One, or
Australia's Penfolds Grange Bin 95. We need to make an iconic blend that will stand out in a blind tasting of the world's best wines. Kanonkop Paul Sauer and Eben Sadie's Columella (two benchmark Cape reds) are good examples of super blends. Does Spier have its own super blend? I believe we're on track at Spier with our own flagship blend. Rated five stars by Platter's South African Wines 2012. Frans K. Smit sells for R700. l earmark grapes from seven special blocs that produce great fruit year after year, and select the finest barrels for the final seamless blend. We mature this wine in oak for 30 months, then hold it back five years until it reaches its optimum. My motto is "selections within selections". As a winemaker, you get only one chance every year to make a truly great wine.
(Eight Article) Farm to fork Spier’s contemporary new restaurant, Eight, is an authentic farmto-table eating experience where nourishing soul food is served within three hours of being plucked from the earth. photographs MICKEY HOYLE production CORNELIA BADENHORST and SUMIEN BRINK text MICHELLE SNADDON Eight is perhaps the most modest restaurant to open recently in the winelands. Its name couldn’t be more meaningful as it signifies balance, harmony, infinity and abundance, all of which mirror its impressive green credentials – recycling 100 percent of its waste water, 80 percent of solid waste and serving biodynamically farmed or locally supplied food produce. It’s this forward-thinking vision, shared from the moment you walk through its glass doors, that’s intriguing both local and international guests. "Eight is the manifestation of Spier’s belief that a restaurant can be a catalyst for social and environmental change while still offering fabulous food. It is not trying to offer all the solutions, but is creating a space for us to learn about our food and our relationship to it," says Heidi Newton-King, Spier Chief Operating Officer. Sitting in the tranquil garden under the trees outside the restaurant, she describes the creation of this dynamic new concept as a journey, one that the team is still adapting to daily. They’ve acknowledged that the business needs to mirror the cycles of nature, and this innovative thinking is what makes the project so interesting. Turned on its side, the symbol embodies the "closed-loop living concept", and the connotation of abundance in cycles – something Eight is uniquely sensitive to. Spier began by asking feng shui consultant Andrew Graham to come in and help with the transformation of the previously dark interiors into a contemporary, airy space
which "harvested as much natural sunlight as possible," says Heidi. Andrew suggested that the roof be removed for a full month, "to release the energy trapped in the building". "We can feel the difference," Heidi remarks. A large glass window has also been added high up in the gable of the double-volume space, so that you can see the sky. Then after a time of intensive building, lighting became the next priority. Spier knew there was only one person who would really understand its journey with this space – enter Heath Nash, master at recycling and creating innovative lighting solutions. No one quite knew what was coming down the track, but if you look at the stoep ceiling as you step in the door, you’ll understand. It is filled with 12 000 to 14 000 white flowers fashioned from recycled milk bottles and lit from above so that it literally twinkles. It’s a spectacularly beautiful design that mimics the reflection of the river water nearby and amazes everyone with its story: with the date of opening coming up fast, Heath decided that the best way to get the flowers made up quickest was to invite all the helping hands he could muster. So eventually, everyone on the estate had a part in finishing the restaurant, making it an empowering community project, Spier style. Interior designer Barbara McGregor then began scouting the estate to find furniture and chairs that could be reused or restored. For the tables, she asked restoration expert Alan Lutge to help finish the tabletops and set about choosing new finishes for them – some
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for us to learn about our trying to offer all the solutions, but is creating a space Spier Chief Operating food and our relationship to it," says Heidi Newton-King, outside the restaurant, she Officer. Sitting in the tranquil garden under the trees as a journey, one that the describes the creation of this dynamic new concept that the business needs team is still adapting to daily. They’ve acknowledged thinking is what makes the to mirror the cycles of nature, and this innovative embodies the "closedproject so interesting. Turned on its side, the symbol in cycles – something loop living concept", and the connotation of abundance Eight is uniquely sensitive to. Graham to come in and Spier began by asking feng shui consultant Andrew interiors into a contemporary, help with the transformation of the previously dark as possible," says Heidi. airy space which "harvested as much natural sunlight full month, "to release the Andrew suggested that the roof be removed for a " Heidi remarks. A energy trapped in the building". "We can feel the difference, of the doublegable the in up high added been also has large glass window a time of intensive building, volume space, so that you can see the sky. Then after was only one person who lighting became the next priority. Spier knew there
would really understand its journey with this space – enter Heath Nash, master at recycling and creating innovative lighting solutions. No one quite knew what was coming down the track but if you look at the stoep ceiling as you step in the door, you’ll understand. It is filled with 12 000 to 14 000 white flowers fashioned from recycled milk bottles and lit from above so that it literally twinkles. It’s a spectacularly beautiful design that mimics the reflection of the river water nearby and amazes everyone with its story: with the date of opening coming up fast, Heath decided that the best way to get the flowers made up quickest was to invite all the helping hands he could muster. So eventually, everyone on the estate had a part in finishing the restaurant, making it an empowering community project, Spier style. Interior designer Barbara McGregor then began scouting the estate to find furniture and chairs that could be reused or restored. For the tables, she asked restoration expert Alan Lutge to help finish the tabletops and set about choosing new finishes for them – some of them are now galvanised, adding to the farm feel. She stuck to a harmonious combination of white and wood for the thatched interior, but the stoep has been given a fresh burst of colour with striped cushions and dashes of green and red for contrast. By this time, the search for a creative chef was on the go and they finally met Lorianne Heyns, most recently from Singita Ebony and Boulders.
WE HAVE TO FIND NEW AND
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CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH GOAT’S-MILK YOGHURT AND BERRIES
Heyns; fresh herbs and greens are This spread: Food doyenne Judy Badenhorst and chef Lorianne and apple soup with dill crème fraîche; abundant; trees shade the entrance to Eight; chilled beetroot recycled lights by Heath Nash and pared to Sunday. sprouts pack a healthy punch; the Spier Creative Block project; interior. to 4pm, Tuesday revitalised open 10am down simplicity give a contemporary rustic feel to theEight; Stellenbosch; Lyndoch Road, Spier Estate, R310 www.spier.co.za. tel: (021) 809-1188,
EXCITING WAYS OF WORKING
Lorianne has "really got her feet in the soil," says Heidi, "and regularly goes out to the farm to chat about what she needs and find out what’s ripening next." Having previously worked at the Cellars Hohenhort, Buitenverwachting, the Showroom, and, of course, Singita, Lorianne has enjoyed the challenge of shifting away from her classic training. "The earth is in trouble and we have to find new and exciting ways of working with our local produce", she says with a passionate energy. Behind the scenes, Judy Badenhorst was approached to consult on the food and together with Lorianne, set out to source food produced using biodynamic farming techniques. "There is a growing awareness TOMATO CREAM BABY MARROW SOUFFLE SERVED WITH among people about what they are eating and feeding their children," Judy explains. So their mission was to provide real food – food with soul – and "with flavours that take me back to my childhood," says Judy wistfully. They also support anyone with social or environmental programmes on their farms and make sure that the carbon footprint of each ingredient is considered. They couldn’t believe the positive response, and now these farms provide them with additional seasonal produce that’s 100-percent natural and hormone-free. In keeping with this ethos, there are no carbonated drinks, but their energising juices – pineapple, carrot and ginger or cucumber, mint and apple on the day we visited – are a treat. Wine is local: look for Spier’s Organic wines, sporting a
BEST TABLES: Next to fold-back windows that open onto the garden. Or next to the roaring fire indoors, in winter.
of them are now galvanised, adding to the farm feel. She stuck to a harmonious combination of white and wood for the thatched interior, but the stoep has been given a fresh burst of colour with striped cushions and dashes of green and red for contrast. By this time, the search for a creative chef was on the go and they finally met Lorianne Heyns, most recently from Singita Ebony and Boulders. Lorianne has "really got her feet in the soil," says Heidi, "and regularly goes out to the farm to chat about what she needs and find out what’s ripening next." Having previously worked at the Cellars Hohenhort, Buitenverwachting, the Showroom, and, of course, Singita, Lorianne has enjoyed the challenge of shifting away from her classic training. "The earth is in trouble and we have to find new and exciting ways of working with our local produce", she says with a passionate energy. Behind the scenes, Judy Badenhorst was approached to consult on the food and together with Lorianne, set out to source food produced using biodynamic farming techniques. "There is a growing awareness among people about what they are eating and feeding their children," Judy explains. So their mission was to provide real food – food with soul – and "with flavours that take me back to my childhood," says Judy wistfully. They also support anyone with social or environmental programmes on their farms and make sure that the carbon footprint of each ingredient is considered. They couldn’t believe the positive response, and now these farms
PERSON TO KNOW: Consultant Judy Badenhorst, of the Old Cape Farmstore and River Café fame. TASTE 75 SIGNATURE DISH: The light-as-a-feather seasonal vegetarian soufflé. INSIDER TIP: Visit on Saturdays if you want to buy the farm’s plump and tasty chicken, eggs and a box of veggies. Take a look at the original art blocks for sale in the Creative Block Corner (R500 each) – a Spier initiative supporting young artists.
FABULOUS FOOD OFFERING page, clockwise from top left: Bright yellow ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE WHILE STILLanOpposite and flavourful, Eight egg is more than just an egg; simple white crockery offsets a colourful feast of fresh ingredients; simply STE 77 TAoff peel the glue-free label the wine bottle to recycle; watch the kitchen as they spontaneously create dishes from produce picked just hours ago.
provide them with additional seasonal produce that’s 100 percent natural and hormonefree. In keeping with this ethos, there are no carbonated drinks, but their energising juices – pineapple, carrot and ginger or cucumber, mint and apple on the day we visited – are a treat. Wine is local: look for Spier’s Organic wines, sporting a perforated label that simply peels off as no glue has been used. A new organic red wine is being launched in October, and their Creative Block wines celebrate the range of innovative, original artworks (all for sale at Eight) created by Spier’s Arts Academy in Cape Town. Today the restaurant is planning its winter menu and guests can look forward to lamb shank, pork belly, duck and quail, in addition to the succulent chicken that simply tastes better because of its biodynamic, country rearing (and perhaps the fact that they play Mozart to their pampered chooks). Judy talks of rustic farm food and Lorianne, whose blue eyes and dark eyebrows dance, talks of "soul food". It’s all about "bringing the love back into salad" by adding a feast of hand-picked flavours that change each day, depending on what they’ve carefully harvested at dawn. As we sample the deliciously succulent and moist chicken pie, she admits that pastry is her passion, but if you’re a bit of a brûlée fan, be sure to leave space for hers when you visit Eight. This might be the new kid on the block, but its forward-thinking vision is in fact a return to life as it should be – natural, of the earth and full of goodness. W
(Sunday Travel & Food Eight Review) After Eight Nancy Richards discovers Spier's new restaurant has a deeprooted food ethic that speaks to all the senses At the entrance, I liked the understated row of little chicken, carrot and garden trowel icons sandblasted on the double glass doors. Inside, I particularly liked the tin-top tables and big, open windows that made the leafy views look like landscape paintings. So by the time we sat down, I was feeling it. But I can appreciate that if you are a large-slab-of-meat-and-gravy sort of a person, Eight is not going to work for you. It is about as different from the tented buffet-fared Moyo, also on the Spier estate, as you could imagine.
that allows the current, new and quieter No 8 energy to circulate.
Eight's guiding mandate is farm-to-table. Not just any old farm, but one that practise sustainable, holistic methods and that are as geographically close to the table as possible to cut down on the carbon footprint. So already the enviro-bar is raised.
farm can't supply is sourced from greencredential-checked neighbouring producers and the green-listed seafood comes mainly from Gordon's Bay. So they work with what they get.
Second, the central ceiling was raised, because the team who came together to realise this vision called in a Feng Shui expert, Andrew Graham. He analysed the structure â€“ previously the home of the Jonkershuis restaurant and built in the days favoured by money-making energy No 7 â€“ and suggested that the way to rid it of this outdated force was to temporarily remove the roof. It's been replaced with a double volume thatched roof
The food, though, is what it's really all about. Chef Lorianne Heyns, robust and broadly beaming, brought us back to earth with a rundown on the provenance of all the ingredients that make up the menu. Most of the fresh, seasonal-only vegetables come from Spier's own biodiversity farm and the chickens come from their free-ranging fields, both a few food-miles away. What their own
We wipe out the inside of the small pots of complimentary creamy broccoli soup with focaccia and settle back to absorb the good energy that permeates the space and runs parallel to the Eerste River just beyond the jungle gym. The partner spots the arrival of former West Indies cricketer Clive Lloyd, who bowls in for a glass of wine. Our food is delivered: for him, a bowl of Saldanha Bay mussels in a sauce infused with thyme, lemon, leeks and sauvignon blanc; for me, spinach-
and-corn fritters with avo salsa, tomato-andcumin chutney and blanched vegetables. Our shared Greenhouse Soulfood salad is a mass of unnameable leaves, herbs, mealie kernels and a generous sprinkling of toasted seeds. As a vegetarian, I was tempted by the courgette soufflé, but the win is the noton-the-menu-but-you-must-try-it serving of quinoa forked through with diced pumpkin, carrots and chickpeas and the cumin-tomato chutney. I finish every last protein-packed grain. With food so fresh it's still shaking the
soil off the roots, it's not really appropriate to ask for doggy bags here – but it is good to know that such as there is left on our plates is headed for the estate's worm farm for recycling into juicy compost that will go right back onto the land. Now that's closing the loop. UÊ } ÌÊÊÌ iÊ-«iÀÊ ÃÌ>Ìi]Ê-ÌiiLÃV ]Ê opens Tuesday to Sunday for brunch 10am12.30pm, lunch 1pm-3pm and tea 3pm-4pm. Visit email@example.com or phone 021-809-1188.
021 Magazine 2011 Eight Article
Dawn Kennedy goes beyond the seven deadly sins at Eight, Spier's pioneering farm-to-table restaurant. "It's perfection," says my companion, glancing at the couple outside nuzzling intimately under the dappled shade of the oak trees. I agree, then can't help muse on the way our human quest for perfection has led us to excessive sterility, compelled us to package and parcel nature – when last did you see a lettuce at the supermarket that wasn't packed in plastic? Nowadays, we buy probiotic pills to replace the micro-organisms scrubbed off our plasticpackaged veggies. What endears me to Eight, before I've even lifted the fork to my mouth, is that ethically farmed produce is respected as the starting point of good food. Eight is a pioneering farm-totable restaurant that serves natural and organic produce either grown on its own biodynamic farm, or sourced from nearby farmers. Nevertheless, while earth is honoured in the ingredients served at Eight, human ingenuity is celebrated in the decor. The ceiling, designed by artist Heath Nash – measuring 14x3.5m – is lined with over 10 000 individually crafted flowers made from recycled white plastic milk bottles. Embedded with low wattage light bulbs, it creates the futuristic ambience of a plasticpetalled UFO hovering overhead. Friendly service, the background music to any good dining experience, comes with a wide smile at Eight. Obviously, with a farm-to-table restaurant, the menu varies accord to seasonality and waiters are eager to recount the daily specials. The first thing I want to try are unadulterated vegetables. Eight's garden salad (R58) is the best salad that I've been served in a long time: a treasure trove of colour and flavour: plump
sweetcorn kernels and peas like little earth balls nestled between crisp, dew-fresh lettuce leaves. However, meat lovers with a healthy appetite don't need to worry. The chicken pie (78) is hearty and a firm favourite, as are the delicious fishcakes (R59). The courgette souffle (R76) that accompanied my salad was light, fluffy and simply divine. Lorianne Heyns, chef at Eight, is known as the "diva of delicious," an accolade she could earn for her juices and smoothies alone. Differing daily, inspiration and ingredients combine to create mouthwatering, freshly squeezed juices bursting with vitamins – think pineapple and ginger or fresh watermelon and cucumber. Although off-course, it would be a pity to come to Spier and not drink wine. Their 21 Gables Chenin-Blanc is my wine of choice this summer. And just in case dining at Eight sounds too wholesome, and you want to revisit the seven deadly sins, rest assured that you could finish off with a flourish of flourless chocolate cake. Dripping with dark organic chocolate, this pudding proves that nutritious can be decadent and delicious. Eight To Go Lunch on the Lawn If you would prefer to enjoy Eight's local, natural and organic produce on the lawns of the Spier farm, then Eight-to-Go will lovingly pack the picnic basket of your dreams. Choose from four picnics to be paired with Spier's award-winning wine: gourmet (R165 per person), relaxed (R125pp), vegetarian (R150pp) and raw (R170pp), plus a special
picnic for children (R70pp). The packaging is 100% biodegradable and compostfriendly. The picnics need to be booked in advance (021 809 1172) and are available for collection from Eight-to-Go, next door to Eight restaurant. Spier's Eight is open from Tuesday to Sunday for brunch from 10am â€“ 12:30pm, lunch from 1-3pm, and tea from 15h00 â€“ 16h00.
For bookings or information call 021 809 1188. Baden Powell Rd, Stellenbosch, www.spier.co.za
Financial Mail FM Life Article
Back to the roots Hilary Prendini Toffoli If all the singers, drummers and musicians who delight Spier's visitors at Moyo's treetop-and-tent circus aren't enough to lure you to Dick Enthoven 's 300-year-old wine farm, then his newest venture might be. What the insurance mogul has come up with this time is a chic and spacious SA version of an Italian institution. An enoteca is a wine shop where visitors can taste the wines before buying them. The word means "wine library". Many Italian enotecas sell regional food specialities to go with the wine, and Spier's new wine-tasting venue does that too, along with other innovative food-andwine pairings. These are not meals. They are mouthfuls. Some traditional SA food items pop up in Spier’s R80 Heritage Tasting. We had four canapés along with a glass each of the estate’s new 21 Gables pinotage and chenin blanc. There was cream cheese and biltong paté with peppadew, pickled fish on sweet potato, sticky roast pork with avocado salsa, and a bitter, dark chocolate truffle with liquid guava. Or you could have a board of cheeses, olives and charcuterie for R85, and pair it with a R45 tasting of Spier’s premium wine range – three whites and two reds – including Creative Block 5, the red blend that has just won winemaker Johan Jordaan the Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year award.
are aerated to restrict water flow. And the polished concrete and gravel floor contains no resins or glues requiring detergent.
Much of the decor of the new venue is made from recycled materials, including the 334 Spier wine bottles in Heath Nash’s innovative chandelier. The building is ecosavvy – erected on the footprint of the old Spier deli, using less concrete and less enery. Roof rainwater goes to the dam. Taps
Over the years Spier wines have had to compete with everything from cheetahs, eagles and organic vegetables to Kentridge and Mozart in the amphitheatre. Now the wines have their own stage. The new venue is arguably an overdue move back to Spier’s roots.
(Advertorial 2011) Works of wonder An exciting creative initiative has helped restore a talented artist's confidence Wonder Marthinus (44) can be linkened to a phoenix rising from the ashes. lnittially a dancer, his life descended into chaos after a tragic accident left him severely injured. Unable to dance, he eventually found himself living like a hermit on the slopes of Table Mountain. In 1995, a chance meeting with an artist at a soup kitchen catalysed his art career. In 2005 Marthinus came across the Creative Block art project, which has since provided a stable livelihood for him. Creative Block invites artists, both established and emerging, to create works on small blocks which are submitted to the Spier Arts Academy for selection. Collectors then choose a number of blocks and hang them together, building an artwork that has the potential to be greater than the sum of its parts. Spier Cellar Master Frans Smit recognosed the synergy between this project and the process of blending wine. Taking grapes from different varietals and vineyard blocks enables him to create wines which are also greater than the sum of their parts. Spier therefore named its range of blended wines after the art project. There are three wines in the range Spier Creative Block 2, 3 and 5 â€“ the numbers representing the varietals used in the blend. Marthinus says the Creative Block project keeps him sane. "It's a reliable monthly income source and it's led to me being commissioned for bigger artworks," he says. "As an artist, Creative Block gives
you exposure you wouldn't otherwise have had. The wine range also helps give the art project further profiling and support. To buy the wine, visit www. spier.co.za To purchase blocks from the art project visit: www. creativeblock.co.za.
Mercury December 2011 Wine week article
Spier rules the roost at awards Nicola Jenvey The Spier Creative Block 5 2009 garnered four stars in the Platter’s South African Wines 2012 – and now they have also scooped their winemakers recognition at the prestigious Diners Club Winemaker of the Year awards. This honour was maybe only the crowning glory on what has been a rewarding month for Spier. The winery was named South African Producer of the Year at the prestigious 2011 International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) earlier this month, achieving five Best in Class Gold medals and two trophies. That honour joined the 2011 Producer of the Year: Overseas award Spier recently received from Mundus Vini Awards in Germany earlier this year and the Most Successful Producer at the Old Mutual Trophy The Spier Creativee Block 5 2009 and the Uva Mire Single Vineyard chardonnay 2009 garnered four and four-and-a-half stars respectively in the Platter's South African Wines 2012 – and now they have also scooped their winemakers recognition at the prestigious Diners Club Winemaker of the Year awards. This year's competition judged Bordeaux style red blends for the Winemaker of the Year and dry white wines for the Young Winemaker of the Year. Johan Jordaan has been the Spier senior winemaker since 2007 and the Creative Block 5 blends the five classical varietals that make up the Bordeaux-style blend. While being cabernet sauvignon-led, the wine includes merlot, petit verdot, cabernet franc and malbec to produce an outstanding balance of fruit, tannins and alcohol.
ln winning the 2011 title, Jordaan beat 110 entries and in addition to the trophy, receives a return ticket to any wineproducing country. Yet, Saturday's honour was maybe only the crowning glory on what has been a rewarding month for Spier. The winery was named South African Producer of the Year at the prestigious 2011 International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) earlier this month achieving five Best in Class Gold medals and two trophies. That honour joined the 2011 Producer of the Year: Overseas award Spier received from Mundus Vini Awards in Germany earlier this year and the Most Successful Producer at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show.
Founded in 1969, the IWSC promotes the quality and excellence of the world's best wines, spirits and liqueurs. This is achieved through a rigorous two-stage judging process of professional blind tasting and detailed technical (chemical and microbiological) analysis. The Spier Savanha Naledi Pinotage 2009 won the Abraham Perold Trophy for Pinotage and the Spier Private Collection Chardonnay 2009 the Mission Hill Trophy for Chardonnay.
Mail & Guardian
(Love, lillies and clean water for wine article) Love, lilies and clean water for wine by Yolandi Groenewald How much water is in your glass of Merlot? 125ml? Think again. Environmentalists measure 120 litres of water for one glass of wine.
One of the most effective ways to reduce water usage is by recycling water and here the innovative wastewaster plant at Spier wine estate is turning heads.
Wineries are all too aware that consumers are gulping down a bit more than they might find in their glasses and several wineries have started looking at ways to lessen their water footprint, especially in the Western Cape, a region that is becoming drier.
The plant is the first of its kind in South Africa. Its innovative design not only cleans the water but "re-energises" it. It is then used to irrigate the gardens and grounds. Spier measures its water footprint without taking irrigation into account. Therefore,
'we use 2.6 litres of water to make one litre of wine', says Spier's Jo Marshall-Smith. According to Lourens van Schoor, a wellestablished auditor for IPW (Integrated Production of Wines), the average water use in South Africa is as follows: big co-ops use three litres of water to manufacture a litre of wine, whereas smaller wineries use about five to six litres of water for one litre of wine. This doesn't include water used for irrigation. Spier's system was designed by engineer Andrew Hulsman from Hulsman Water Treatment (HWT), a company specialising in the treatment of wine cellar effluent, and designer Natasha Rightford of Waterlove Projects. The treatment system deals with large volumes of industrial liquid waste by breaking it down using mechanical and biological methods. But Spier takes the treatment a step further by combining it with Rightford's soothing practices. "Hulsman's and Rightford's techniques combine science, art and healing to create a cyclic system of cleansing and replenishment on the Spier estate," says Vernon Davis, the chief executive. "It fits in perfectly with our resolve to build innovative models on how business and development can succeed in harmony with our ecology and our society." The unusual philosophy has turned the plant into a tourist attraction with mazes and words of love and encouragement written throughout. And, unusually, there is no smell gagging one when walking alongside the plant. The treatment plant is designed to accept a flow rate capacity of 250 000 Iitres a day. Spier's average flow rate in and out of the system is about 100 000 to 150 000 litres a day. Wastewater is collected from five points on the estate, then pumped into the bioreactor of the plant, where the breakdown process begins.
The first stage is an Archimedes screw that compacts the solid waste and removes it for collection. The remaining liquid is moved into an open tank where aerobic bacteria continue the process. Aerobic bacteria live and grow in the presence of oxygen, which is supplied by air blowers. The cleaner water is skimmed off the top and moved through pipes that irrigate an oval reed bed. This reed bed is ideal for the natural growth of bacteria, which continue the breakdown process as the water seeps into the soil. From here it drains into a "ying-yang" pond filled with bluewater lilies that soften and beautify the water. It then flows into the irrigation dam through a series of figure eight flow forms, which "calm the water and return it to its natural harmonic state." Waterlove Projects' philosophies play an important role in the handling of the water throughout the purifying process. Scientists believe that life began in the inter-tidal zone, the point between high and low tide, where organisms can get adequate shade, sun and water and there are plenty of lifegiving elements swirling around. Practitioners such as Dr Masaru Emoto believe that water reacts to words and it is this philosophy that the management of Spier has imprinted into their recycled water. Words such as "love", "compassion" and "forgiveness" are imprinted below the waterline, the inter-tidal zone between the tank and the reed bed.
(Article 2011) Spier's Fair Trade wines NORMAN MCFARLANE A winemaking team can make great wine, but good wine starts with good grapes, so taking care of the grapes is important work. And Fair Trade is taking care of the people who take care of the grapes. With these words, Spier CEO Andrew Milner launched the first two Fair Trade wines produced by the Stellenbosch estate, at Nooitgedacht Farm outside Paarl last Monday. The two wines â€“ a red and a white blend â€“ were launched under Spier Wines Savanah label, and the range is named Frieda's Vine, in honour of Nooitgedacht's forewoman Alfrieda Hanse, who started working at the farm 11 years ago with her husband, Niklaas. "It's really a great honour to have the wines named after me," Alfrieda told Bolander. "The Fair Trade trust is also really very good, because everybody who works on the farm,
full time and seasonal workers, benefit from the Fair Trade Trust." When the Hanses started working at Nooitgedacht, they knew nothing about farming or viticulture, but they were keen to learn. Under the tutelage of farm manager Heinrich Morkel, they developed the skills that would stand them in good stead in future years, and they planted the first vines on the farm. Alfrieda's natural abilities soon came to the fore, she was widely accepted by her peers, and was respected for her ability as a leader. And she fuelled everything she did with passion. She soon started training other workers on the farm, all of whom agree Alfrieda has an affectionately stem hand, born from her genuine love for the vines and her community. "She is both the pillar
and the thunderstorm â€“ deeply rooted in the land, but with her vision unfalteringly to the fore," said Mr Morkel. Spier owner Adrian Enthoven told Bolander, "Businesses are built by people like the Nooitgedacht farmers, who work incredibly hard every day for very little to help make a business a success." "Over the years, what they've managed to achieve with the quality of the grapes they've produced, at the price they've managed to produce them at, helps to keep us competitive as a wine business," Mr Enthoven said. "There's always been a very special spirit on this farm among the people who have worked here." Mr Enthoven said Spier has always been committed to building a business which is based on win-win relationships; something that is a win for the business, but also a win for the people who work for the business, a win for the community, a win for suppliers, and a win for the environment. "We're constantly thinking about how our business impacts on the community in which we operate, the people who work for us, on the environments in which we operate, and what we're doing to those environments,
and our custodianship of these environments has always been very important to us. "It's a very proud day for me, and everyone who is part of Nooitgedacht and part of Spier to celebrate the Fair Trade accreditation, which is a globally recognised standard â€“ win-win practices if you like. To have our very first Fair Trade wine is a very proud moment," he said. Spier's Nooitgedacht Fair Trade Trust was created on May 11 last year, to receive premiums from the Fair Trade Labelling Organisation International (FLO), an organisation established to facilitate and improve trading in products produced in developing countries. Benefits from the scheme (Fair Trade Premiums) must be transferred to the employees involved in the production of the products, and their families and communities. The Trust uses these premiums, and any income derived from them, to promote the well-being and social upliftment of the employees of Nooitgedacht and their communities. Created with palate rather than nose in mind, the blends are ideal for food pairings. The red is a Shiraz/MourvĂ¨dre blend and the white, a Chenin Blanc/ Viognier blend. Of these wines, cellarmaster Frans Smit says: "It makes sense to blend. Wines are much more resilient against vintage changes in this way and wine and food pairings become far more interesting." The wines are primarily aimed at the Danish market, but are available at Spier Estate.