Spier’s journey towards an increasingly sustainable future is an inspiring one, but no better way is there to experience it at every level than from their exhilarating Segways.
Aside from the sheer enjoyment of whizzing around a spectacular wine farm on what seems like a hybrid of a scooter and quadbike, these two-wheeled, battery powered transporters offer guests the chance to explore parts of the farm not usually seen by most.
Choose from the classic 1 hour Spier Farm Tour, the ever-popular Sunset Tour or opt for our 2-hour Vineyard excursion – a glide that will take you through both the biodynamic vineyards, the yin-yang water recycling plant, the farm (with chickens!) before stopping at the Tree-preneurs site.
If you’ve never ridden a Segway before there’s no need to worry. Our guides made sure that we were all able to balance, brake and handle both road and off-road terrain on our personal transporters; training us in emergency jumps, unexpected dips and general mechanics until we all felt able to conquer the trails.
Geared up in helmets and a slathering of extra sunscreen we cruised off, passing the Spier Craft Market and curious picnickers on our way to the farm.
Spier’s Pioneering Sustainable Approach
After navigating a couple of bumpy stretches of dirt track, our first stop was the Yin-Yang Water Recycling plant- the first of its kind in Africa. It’s no secret that the Western Cape is struggling with a drought, but seriously heartening to see how Spier is doing everything in their power to conserve our most precious of resources. The treatment plant recycles 100% of Spier’s wastewater, purifying over 50 million litres of water annually – most of which is used to water the grounds, gardens and fill the loos.
Our smaller group and skill on the Segways meant that Eric, our excellent guide, took us off ‘tortoise’ mode and let us cruise at a slightly faster speed as we hummed along the tracks towards the vineyards and chicken coops.
Happy Hens from Farmer Angus
The green pastures of Spier’s farmlands are dotted with Farmer Angus’ pasture-reared chicken and egg mobiles. These inventive hen houses allow the foraging fowls to graze the land on rotation at free will, making them truly free range. The added benefit of the mobility of the homes ensure an even spread of natural fertilizer across the lush fields and farm. As we approached one of 15 coops, the hens gambled towards our party – apparently in search of a bit of a back scratch and tickle before popping back to their clucking comrades.
Of course, Spier’s efforts at conservation extend to their wine-making and vineyards. As we cruised through aged merlot and cabernet plantations, Eric enlightened us as to importance of the dandelions (pests eat these instead of the vines) and natural Renosterveld – present throughout the vines. While other farms may choose to use pesticides, Spier uses environmentally friendly practices like the drip water system and natural shade from the Renosterveld to ensure that their vines are healthy and minimally invasive, working with the natural fynbos of the region.
The Tree-preneurs nursery and education site was the last stop on our two-wheeled tour. The little succulents and indigenous saplings, sprouting in the most unusual of containers (including an old pair of jeans) are part of a heart-warming and effective project that empowers over 70 people from some of the Cape’s poorest communities. Tree-preneurs are taught how to care for indigenous trees and plants and given seedlings to nurture. Once these have reached 30cm, they can be exchanged for vouchers for food, clothing, agricultural goods, tools, bicycles and educational support; while the trees themselves get planted in disadvantaged area in need of much greening.
Wind Up with a Glass of Wine
Our specific tour included a complimentary wine-tasting – a boon for anyone feeling jittery after operating their Segway. However, any guests visiting the farm could make their way down to the tasting room to enjoy a tasting flight of Spier’s delicious wines. If you’re feeling peckish, make sure you book lunch at Hoghouse Bakery and BBQ.
Book Your Spier Segway Tour
Blog post by: Tarah Darge
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