As most parents of small children we hardly have time for date nights, let alone planning a night away or celebrating Valentines Day so when the invite came for me to celebrate the evening at Spier Wine Estate and then to stay the night in the Spier Hotel I knew I had to make every effort to get there!
Despite the fact that Spier is one of the most child-friendly hotels in South Africa, this particular Friday afternoon we rallied the grandparents as our babysitters and sped off down the N2 for a few romantic hours to ourselves!
Spier was one of the very first farms to be established in Stellenbosch in 1692. Its rich cultural heritage includes a restored Manor House, an impressive collection of Cape Dutch gables and the oldest dated wine cellar in the country.
Upon arrival we were driven to our room in the village-style hotel and welcomed with a bottle of Spier’s Sauvignon Blanc which we enjoyed on our veranda overlooking the courtyard before freshening up and heading off to the enjoy our most romantic Valentines Day celebrations EVER…
A gourmet picnic for two while watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s under the stars followed and it was truly heavenly! The deliciousness that was the picnic hamper contained such special treats such as oysters, a cheese selection, smoked angelfish, Cape rock lobster, roast beef and a stunning salad of butternut, citrus yoghurt and pomegranate. For dessert we enjoyed Vanilla Panna Cotta and macaroons all accompanied with a bottle of Spiers MCC of course!
The movie on the big screen was one I had seen (and loved) before but this was the first introduction for my husband. In fact, I was finally able to show him who it was I had dressed up as a few weeks earlier – Holly Golightly! It was such a novel way to enjoy a movie and we were very blessed with one of the warmest, stillest nights this summer… perfect for a starlit movie night. And the staff at Spier had thought of everything… insect repellant, large cusions and the fluffest blankets to snuggle under as the temperature dropped made the evening very comfortable indeed. In fact, after the movie ended we enjoyed an extended session of star-gazing and loved not having to rush back to the car to get home. A short stroll down the quite lanes led to our luxurious room and very comfortable King-sized bed! Bliss.
After a few heavenly hours of sleep (always a big priority for parents on a night away from the kids) we were woken far earlier than anticipated by some wild wedding guests returning to their room and after a few frustrating minutes we decided we weren’t going to win this battle and to rather embrace the dawn and get up with the birds…. not something I willingly have ever done if I’m honest! But, it turned out to be a great choice… we had the entire garden to ourselves and meandered up to a lookout point where we watched the sun rise together while watching the world wake up. And it was incredibly lovely…. even if the tiredness of a pre-dawn wake-up did catch up with me later, I am so pleased we got the extra special memory of time together. Definitely worth more than a lie in.
Breakfast was another complete treat – all manner of exotic fruit and pretty pastries greeted us along with an assortment of cereals, cheeses and cold meats. We both opted for a traditional hot breakfast and then headed off on another first for us – a Segway tour of the Spier vineyards!
Having never having tried riding a Segway before I was a bit hesitant about these two-wheel machines but once I got the hand of it I was sorry to have to give it back! What fun these little machines are. If you aren’t sure what a Segway is, it is a Personal Transporter, a two-wheeled self-balancing electric vehicle that glides as you control it with your feet. It is the coolest way to cruise through the vineyards by far! After being fitted with a helmet and given a brief safety lesson, you are taken by a guide up into the estate and then given the opportunity to speed up your Segway. I can highly recommend it and can’t wait to return (even though my over-confidence meant that I did take a tumble and end up with bruises I didn’t think were possible!!) For bookings, contact 021 809 1157 or [email protected].
After all the excitement of the Segway tours it was time to calm things down a bit and we opted to head to the new wine tasting centre to enjoy a wine and chocolate pairing. The space is beautifully designed and it is a lovely place to spend some time browsing the wine shop or sipping a glass of their award-winning wines. There are a number of different tasting options available but as a confirmed chocoholic there was no competition…. Inspired by the Spier Signature Méthode Cap Classique and Spier Creative Block blends, a chocolatier has carefully crafted chocolates that compliment and unlock nuanced flavours in each of the three Spier wines and it was very interesting to see how the wines changed in taste based on the flavours of the chocolate! Wine tasting is available daily at Spier from 10:00 to 16:30. For bookings contact: +27 (021) 809 1143/7.
After this it was time to check out and we meandered back to the hotel via the garden pathways and enjoyed the beautiful scenery of the river, oak and coral trees, historical homesteads and artworks scattered along the way.
And then, just like that, our romantic retreat was over! But what was left was the great memories….
It is amazing how much you can do in less than 24 hours away together – our time was filled with quality conversations, amazing food, memorable moments and shared experiences. What a wonderful way to celebrate our love! Cheesy, I know, but so necessary to do occasionally when life gets in the way! Spending time together in such a stunning setting was such a treat.
Thank you Spier for a very memorable Valentines Day. We look forward to a return visit soon – and next time we might even bring the kids considering how many great kid-friendly activities there are for them to do including grape juice tasting – too cute!
For more information about Spier visit their website: www.spier.co.za
For info on other upcoming special events such as Family Movie Nights, Bands on the Banks or the Spier Secret Harvest Market visit: www.spier.co.za/events
Images: Kathryn Rossiter