August news from Spier Wine Farm in the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation…

Art as a catalyst for change: Works from the Spier Collection celebrate 25 years of democracy
work by Helen Sebidi

I See U: Imagining a Space for Freedom, an exhibition featuring more than 35 works from the Spier Collection, will be showcased at Spier Wine Farm from 29 August until 30 November 2019.

Celebrating 25 years of South Africa’s democracy, the works – by artists such as Athi-Patra Ruga, Helen Sebidi and Ricky Ayanda Dyaloyi – encompass painting, sculpture, photography, beadwork and drawing. Together they powerfully illustrate the importance of art to catalyse change, hold the powerful to account, and give a voice to the voiceless.

“Spier has been a longstanding supporter of the arts because we believe they are a powerful tool for transformation – sparking new insights and inspiring us to engage with our world in new and imaginative ways,” says Spier CEO Andrew Milne.

When selecting the works, I See U’s curator Olga Speakes — a lecturer at the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town and an independent curator — was guided by the insight that, while much has been achieved over 25 years of democracy, much more needs to be done. The artists which she and co-curator Gaisang Sathekge selected each honour the struggles of the past and take stock of our tumultuous present, while inviting the viewers to imagine a more equal, prosperous and just South African future.

Athi-Patra Ruga -Escape to the End of History

“By imagining the possibilities of freedom, artists open the door to real change,” says Speakes. “Artists hold a mirror to our society and our history and to speak back to us through their creations. They are the ones who are able to see our world in a way that opens different, deeper ways of knowing it. And so, by supporting artists we support our freedom.”

The phrase “I see U” has become a short form often used on social media to give recognition and support — to connect and to acknowledge someone’s achievements in spite of the challenges they face. It originated in the blockbuster film, Avatar, and has become popular especially among young people, who often use “U” instead of “You”. By using this youthful colloquialism points, the exhibition offers a reminder of the young age of our democracy.

“Spier’s commitment to the arts extends to beyond nurturing artists — we are keen to develop curatorial talent too. That’s why, for public exhibitions we invite young South African curators to access this significant collection — thus building on their own career development and portfolio as curators,” Mirna Wessels, CEO of the Spier Arts Trust explains.

VENUE: Old Wine Cellar at Spier Wine Farm, Stellenbosch
DATE: 29 August until 30 November 2019
Please follow the link for dates when the exhibition will be open for viewing:
CLICK HERE for more information.
Entrance to the exhibition is free.

Spier is first winery in the world to achieve Control Union Vegan Accreditation16 August 2019

Jordi Meijer, Managing Director South Africa of Control Union, presents Frans K Smit Spier Cellarmaster with the certificate

Spier is the first winery in the world to receive Control Union Vegan Standard certification by the accredited certifying body Control Union. Spier Seaward, Creative Block, 21 Gables and Frans K Smit ranges will all bear this vegan-friendly seal – from 2019 vintage onwards for white wines and the 2018 vintage onwards for reds.

“This vegan certification not only demonstrates our commitment to a greener, animal-friendly future; it also means that vegan drinkers can now enjoy our wines,” says Frans K. Smit, Spier’s Cellar Master. “The certification of these four ranges is an important first step and represents a significant percentage of the wines we offer. This does not affect the taste of the wines in any way, and we intend to have the rest of our wines Vegan Standard-accredited in the coming years.”

Frans K Smit, a Spier Flagship Wine

Veganism is a growing trend globally for various reasons; these include carbon footprint reduction and the prevention of animals’ exploitation and suffering.

“Trustworthiness and credibility of certain claims – vegan in this instance – through independent auditing and certification is of paramount importance,” explains Jordi Meijer, the Managing Director (South Africa) of Control Union, an international certification and inspection company with operations in over 70 countries. “When they see the Control Union Vegan Standard seal, vegans can be confident that they are buying something that aligns with their ideals.”

Why are wines often not vegan?
In order to make wines clear and bright, many wineries use animal-derived fining agents. The most popular of these are casein (a milk protein), albumin (egg whites), gelatin (animal protein) and isinglass (fish bladder protein). During the wine making process, harmless organic particles that make the wine cloudy (including protein and yeast molecules) become attached to the fining agent and sink, making it easy for them to be removed – and for the wine to become clear. Because tiny traces of the fining agent may be absorbed into the wine, the wines that use animal-derived fining agents are not considered vegan.

Fortunately, there are non-animal alternatives – such as activated charcoal, bentonite or clay-based fining agents – which Spier is now using instead. In addition, Spier only uses vegan-friendly wine additives and cleaning materials.

For more Spier Farm information – CLICK HERE

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