Stellenbosch was founded by, and named for, Simon van der Stel, the Governor of the Cape in 1679. He was certain that excellent wine could be made in the good Stellenbosch soils with abundant water from the Eerste River.
Spier, on the banks of the Eerste River was granted to a German soldier Arnoud Jansz who within twelve months of settling there had already planted vines, grain and was keeping livestock. Jansz first made wine on the property in 1700 that started Spier down the road to becoming what it is today, a shining star in South Africa’s winemaking firmament.
By half way though the 18th century Spier was a well-known producer of quality wine and its owner John Bernhard Hoffman would have been shipping barrels of the produce of his cellar across the Cape Flats by horse and cart to provide to passing ships.
The famous old building on Spier bearing the date 1767 was built by Albertus Myburgh, who owned the property between 1765 and 1781. This was Myburgh’s new wine cellar, and until today this building remains – along with many others on Spier – one of the finest examples of Cape Dutch architecture in the beautiful Cape winelands. 21 Gables are found on the various farm buildings on the property.
I got to know owner Neil Joubert shortly after he bought Spier in 1965. He it was who restored the beautiful old buildings and planted the vineyards to red varieties like Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Gamay Noir, Cinsaut and Grenache. White varietals such as Chenin Blanc, Colombard and Clairette Blanche were planted, this was in the days before Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc became de rigueur at the Cape. Of interest is that during the early 1970s Spier was one of the world’s largest producers of Pinotage, a cultivar that was created in South Africa by Professor Abram Perold who crossed Pinot Noir with Hermitage [now known as Cinsaut].
Neil Joubert, a descendant of the French Huguenots who arrived at the Cape in the late 17th Century to escape persecution as a result of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, took Spier to great heights as a wine farm while at the same time playing a founding role in The Stellenbosch Wine Route with Frans Malan of Simonsig and Spatz Sperling of Delheim. And the rest, as they say is history.
Spier’s current owners have turned it into a centre for the arts, a luxury hotel, a major tourist destination for those interested in their raptor outreach program and a home of some of the finest wines of the Cape. Sustainability is of key importance to the entire operation, and active programs are in place to maintain the environment and the communities that lie at the heart of Spier.
The Cellar is presided over by Frans Smit who, with his talented team produces award-winning premium wines under the names of Spier and Savanha, each brand offering a variety of labels offering premium quality at excellent value. Frans’s medal cabinet fair rattles with Veritas awards, honours in the ABSA Top Ten Pinotage Competition. Awards from abroad feature medals from the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, the International Wine Challenge, Mundus Vini in Germany and the International Wine & Spirit Competition, London.
The Spier 1692 Signature range is driven by fruit and the wines are made of a single variety. They are made for enjoyment on their own and are ready on release. Wines for every day drinking, and superb with food, they offer consistent quality at a great price.
The Spier Creative Block consists of three wines, a white and two reds, which are beautifully balanced blended wines, and just packed with flavour and fruit and made from grapes grown in selected vineyards and picked at perfect ripeness. Subtle wood maturation ensures a light, elegant undertow of oak that supports the prominent fruit. Quality and price are paramount here.
The Spier 21 Gables wines consist of two benchmark wines made from Chenin Blanc, the largest planted white grape in our vineyards and Pinotage, a classical locally created grape. These wines are fine examples not only of the varieties used, but also of the winemaker’s art.
The Spier Frans K Smit is the flagship wine of Spier. An ‘almost Bordeaux’ blend, it has Shiraz and Pinotage as part of the blend. Fermented in open top fermenters and aged in French Oak Barrels for 27 months, it is a tribute to Frans Smit the Spier Cellarmaster.
Spier has an attractive and popular hotel – click here to read more. Village-style buildings, lush green lawns and spacious rooms situated next to the gently flowing Eerste River are the defining characteristics of the 4 star Spier Hotel.
8, a restaurant on the estate offer a farm to table eating experience, with much of the produce, including chickens and beef grown on the estate. Click here to read more.
At the beautifully appointed Tasting Room tastings are offered daily form 10h00 until 16h30. Wine sales are open from 09h00 to 17h00.
The Spier Tasting (R35 per person)
Choose three wines from our Signature range and one from each of the two premium wine ranges, 21 Gables and Creative Block.
The Heritage Tasting (R60 per person)
A food and wine pairing of Spier’s 21 Gables Chenin Blanc and 21 Gables Pinotage, paired with traditional South African foods.
The Frans K Smit Tasting (R90 per person)
The two premium wine ranges plus Spier’s flagship wine, Frans K Smit.
Food platters to pair with the tastings are available for sale.
For groups of eight or more, a reservation is required.
Larger groups will be accommodated in the tasting room at the Cow House.
Spier is a beautiful example of a Cape Dutch Wine Farm – a destination visit, you could easily spend a day there. And even overnight in the hotel!
Winegrowing area Stellenbosch
Winemaker Frans Smit
R310 Lydedoch Road
Western Cape, South Africa
Tel: +27 21 809 1143