Spier doesn’t just offer event organisers natural beauty and historic architecture, delicious food and wine, and venues of various sizes where they can host memorable meetings. The Stellenbosch wine farm’s Conferencing for Good packages also mean that, by choosing to host your event there, you’re supporting learning initiatives that empower staff and communities to create positive social and environmental change.
Spier’s wide-ranging Growing for Good learning initiatives include Harambee, which sources, trains and places unemployed young people from disadvantaged backgrounds into their first jobs. Similarly, Spier is a participating employer in the Pinotage Youth Development Academy which seeks to educate and employ disadvantaged youth in the wine industry. The conferencing destination also supports Tree-preneurs, which teaches members of impoverished communities how to care for indigenous plants. Once the seedlings they’ve been given to nurture are big enough, they’re exchanged for essentials such as food vouchers, clothing and bicycles.
“Spier’s commitment to sustainability is woven through every facet of the business, and conferencing is no exception,” explains Joep Schoof, Spier’s general manager. “We recycle 100% of our wastewater and organic waste and more than 97% of our solid waste.”
A strong commitment to water conservation has seen its conferencing operations reducing consumption by 55% while the solar panels on the roof of Spier’s recently refurbished Conference Centre’s offset approximately 40% of the facility’s annual power usage.
Other examples of Spier’s Conferencing for Good approach includes recycled pens and notepads for delegates. As a participant of the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI), only sustainable seafood is served. Dried fruit and nuts comprise the healthy in-session snacks while, at break-time, there is local seasonal fruit juice, organic rooibos tea and Fair Trade filter coffee. Also keeping delegates hydrated is Vivreau filtered water served in reusable glass bottles – thus ensuring no waste, no water miles and no carbon footprint.
Conferencing for Good enables delegates to make a difference too. Through Spier’s Pack for a Purpose initiative, those meeting at the farm are invited to fill spare space in their luggage with stationery, games, sports gear and soccer balls which are then donated to one of three social development projects.
Delegates are also encouraged to leave leftover stationery behind in donation baskets at the end of their conference. This is distributed to schoolchildren from surrounding communities.
“As part of its commitment to help event organisers deliver unforgettable conferencing experiences, delegates can explore sustainability in action through a number of inspiring activities,” says Schoof.
This includes tours of the Spier’s eco-friendly wastewater treatment plant, the Tree-preneurs nursery, and the estate’s compost site where organic kitchen waste is transformed into nutrient-rich fertiliser. Delegates can collect eggs from Spier’s pasture-reared chickens while, in the food garden, they can learn how to prepare soil for planting and how to grow vegetables – before picking a few for lunch.
Visits can be arranged to the Sustainability Institute to learn from experts about organic farming and the food system as well as Stellenbosch municipality’s Devon Valley Landfill for insights about the waste journey.
The Winelands conference venue of choice
Spier is just 40 minutes from Cape Town (and 20 minutes from its international airport). With 12 different meeting venues varying in capacity, the farm can host large and small conferences, business meetings, workshops, seminars and exhibitions.
The Spier Conference Centre has an auditorium that seats 430 people (cinema style). Adjacent to the Eerste River and featuring views of the Helderberg mountains, its three breakaway rooms can be used separately, or combined to seat 250 people. The three meeting rooms adjacent to the Spier Amphitheatre also work well for breakaway sessions or small and cosy gatherings.
Built in 1822, the majestic Manor House and its adjacent oak-shaded courtyard are ideal for top management getaways where teams can strategise in an intimate environment.
Delegates can stay at the village-style Spier Hotel, which has 153 rooms clustered around six courtyards, each with its own pool. The hotel is a pioneer in responsible tourism and was one of the first in South Africa to be awarded the Fair Trade in Tourism SA accreditation in 2004. It was awarded gold at the African Responsible Tourism Awards 2016 in the category of Best for Accommodation for Responsible Employment.
View our conference packages here.