One of the great wine debates is whether the winemaking process is a science or an art form. While there are convincing arguments that both science and art come into play when crafting a wine, some producers actively embrace the concept of art more wholeheartedly than others.
Spier Wine Farm, one of the oldest wineries in South Africa, takes its art very seriously. The award-winning Stellenbosch-based producer recognises that “crafting a memorable blend is as much about being creative as it is about being meticulous”. Under the direction of Managing Director Frans K Smit and Cellar Master Johan Jordaan, Spier’s winemakers have won a host of accolades (including IWSC South African Wine Producer of the Year). This is testament to their creativity and artistic endeavour.
At Spier, creativity is not only in evidence during the winemaking process. Throughout the whole estate, hundreds of post-Apartheid era sculptures and artworks are on display, both in is meticulously restored Cape Dutch buildings and outdoors. Spier actively supports and stimulates the art culture in South Africa and the winery is home to one of the nation’s largest permanent collections of contemporary art.
The Creative Block is just one of Spier’s initiatives, which invites established and emerging artists to create work on small wooden blocks. These blocks are displayed together in collections, providing a rich and striking expression of South African art. Artworks are subsequently sold, offering a vital revenue stream for artists. The blended Creative Block wine range is named after this project because of the synergy between building a collective artwork and the art of blending wines.
Spier not only wants to enrich South Africa’s future through art, it strives to uplift local communities in a myriad of other ways. The winery also sees itself as a custodian of the land; 100% of their organic waste is transformed into nutrient-rich fertiliser, 100% of black and grey wastewater is recycled and only 3%of their solid waste is sent to landfill. It is no wonder that Conde Nast Traveler, WWF and Fair Trade in Tourism have all recognised Spier for its forward thinking environmental policies.
With 300 years of heritage, as well as the artistic flair and sustainable credentials that Spier has to offer, you would expect the wine to be outstanding. And it is. From the down-to-earth everyday drinking wines in the Signature Collection to more special occasion offerings like the luscious 21 Gables Chenin Blanc, Spier wines are works of art. Discover for yourself why they are among the most awarded in South Africa.
By Catherine Fielden