Spier people – Heinrich “Bones” Opperman – Senior Cellar Assistant

Heinrich Opperman_Senior Cellar Assistant

Spier is home to a diverse bunch of passionate people, doing what they love, and committed to making a difference every day. Senior cellar assistant Heinrich Opperman, better known as Bones by his colleagues, joined Spier seven years ago as a farm worker. Now a senior cellar assistant, “the growth has been so fast – I’m still learning and still developing,” he says. “Spier really tries to assist you where there’s a problem or where there’s an opportunity to grow.”

The Manor House at Spier

How long have you worked at Spier?
7 years.

What do you love most about your job?
I’m a cellar worker and operator. I love the variety of the job. The whole concept of making wine is intriguing – the way you take a well-grown grape and it ends up something totally different. My favourite wine is the Private Collection Chenin Blanc which I’m very proud of having helped to make. You can taste the ageing and the extra bit of energy put into crafting it. I love its tropical fruitiness. I also love Pinotage.

The Vineyards at Spier

What’s the best thing about Spier?
They really try to assist you were there’s a problem or where there’s an opportunity to grow. I came here as a normal farmworker. The growth has been so fast since – I’m still learning and still developing. It’s great for me because I know that I still have a future in the business. I know everyone wants a future – in any job they do. I’ve got that.

Spier Signature Chenin Blanc

What is your greatest strength?
I put 100% into whatever I do.

How do you make a positive difference to the environment?

I save water and make sure that we only use as much electricity that we need in the cellar. I also recycle – making sure glass ends up in the glass bin, and plastic ends up in the plastic one. That’s very important we work.

Coral trees in bloom at Spier

What’s the most valuable advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t be over-confident.

Who inspires you?
Definitely my winemaker, Jacques. He definitely believes in his team and he also shows that he does. You feel you can go to him with your goals, with what you hope to achieve, and he supports that. He’s a mentor.

Spier Winemaker – Jacques Erasmus

What do you get up to when you’re not at work?
I love cars – I sometimes work on a car, also Street Outlaws, an American street racing show. And also spending time with my five-year-old son. He makes me the laugh – the small things he does, the simple jokes.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would that be?
I wish I could change the way people see you, the way people make assumptions about you even though they don’t even know you. If people didn’t pre-judge things would be easier – people would get along better.

A suite in the Spier Hotel

Where is your favourite part of the farm, and why is it your favourite?
The Hotel. I love the view of the mountains. Chilling by the dam is beautiful.

What’s your favourite season?
Summer – when it’s almost time for harvesting. Harvest is hectic, it pushes you – and I like to be pushed.

Chenin Blanc Grapes, ripening on the vine

What’s the key to being happy in life?
Have a positive mindset.

What are you proudest of having achieved?
Working at Spier wines.

See ‘Bones’ on You Tube, click – https://youtu.be/li-QMpdOq6U

Heinrich in his favourite place

Information supplied by Spier Wine Estate & Hotel

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