Spier people – Orlando Filander, Senior Farm Manager

Spier Manor House

Spier is home to a diverse bunch of passionate people, doing what they love, and committed to making a difference every day. Orlando Filander, the Spier farm manager, has worked on the farm for 16 years, playing a key role in ensuring it obtained organic certification in 2015. A trained viticulturist, he oversees all aspects of the farm’s well-being, the rejuvenation of the soil, and the replanting rehabilitation of indigenous vegetation.

Orlando Filander – Spier Farm Manager

What do you love most about your job?
Everything. I love that every day is different – every day there’s a new challenge, from working in the vineyards to clearing the rivers of alien vegetation.

What’s the best thing about Spier?
Its commitment to both staff wellbeing and the environment. In the time that I’ve been here, there’s been a lot of positive change. For example, staff have access to a nurse and a social worker.

What is your greatest strength?
I’m trained as a viticulturist, but I only do that 15% of the time – there is much more to the job! I work with a lot of people from a diverse range of backgrounds. I’m a team-player – and that involves acknowledging people’s different cultures. I’ve learnt to adapt, and to be open to change.

How do you make a positive difference to the environment?
There are so many ways that we’re making a difference. We’ve developed an eco-friendly wastewater treatment plant. We’ve rehabilitated riverine land, clearing aliens and planting indigenous trees there and elsewhere on the farm. And we farm the land organically, without pesticides or artificial fertiliser.

Spier Signature Chenin Blanc

What’s the most valuable advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t let a good opportunity pass you by: at the very least, investigate it, and think about it, even if you don’t end up taking it up.

What’s your favourite season?
Winter. There’s not a lot happening on the farm, so it’s an opportunity to find your centre, relax, recharge and reflect on both the past and the future.

Where is your favourite part of the farm, and why is it your favourite?
I love all of it – whether it’s the vineyards or the rivers. For me it’s 10 farms in one – there is so much variety in terms of landscape and terroir.

What’s the key to being happy in life?
Make time for yourself. You can help others more effectively if you help yourself first.

What are you proudest of having achieved?
Achieving organic certification. We’ve also been recognised with Champion status by the WWF’s Biodiversity and Wine Initiative for our sustainability efforts.

Meet Orlando on You Tube – CLICK HERE

Visit the Spier Estate website – CLICK HERE

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