The team behind Spier’s wines and vines is quite a passionate bunch who, besides spending most of their time crafting, blending and tasting our wines, also finds time for their other interests.
Cellar master Frans Smit needs little introduction after having our flagship Bordeaux-style blend named in his honour! Frans is the ultimate terroiriste, and spends a good deal of time studying vineyard charts. His favourite cultivars are Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot from Spier’s own farms – little wonder that he went for a Bordeaux-style blend with the flagship wine!
On style of wine, Frans favours those with great mid-palate weight. At harvest time he’s more concerned with the colour of the grapes than the balling of the juice – a system shown to work well in Australia (there – we always knew that colour coordination counts!) Frans’ idea of the perfect holiday is braai tongs in one hand, Spier wine in the other, and miles and miles of endless Kalahari sand.
Our white winemaker, Jacques Erasmus, made his first wine at age 12 using Chenin Blanc grapes he found on his home farm in the Worcester Valley. He stored it in the household fridge – much to his mother’s delight (well, not exactly) – and Chenin Blanc to this day remains a favoured cultivar. Jacques has been with Spier since 2003 and was part of the team that contributed to Creative Block 2, a wine that won a trophy at the SA Young Wine Show in 2009. It seems fairly likely therefore to conclude that his style has improved somewhat since his home winemaking days!
Jacques spends much of his free time at home in the great outdoors with his wife Esmari, daughter Karlien, son Stephan and Staffordshire Terrier Tinta.
From Hughes de Beauvignac in Languedoc-Roussillon to Duckhorn Wine Company in the Napa Valley, red winemaker Johan Jordaan’s harvest experience spans the winemaking world. A keen traveller, Johan loves to learn about world cultures and gain insights into varied winemaking styles.
Johan’s first love (other than wife Lizanne) is our very own home grown Pinotage, a cultivar he says that is “not to be cast aside”. It would seem in that case that he is in the right place – with the Spier Private Collection Pinotage a winner of many awards.
Viticulturist Johann Smit is best known as the man who tirelessly traverses the vineyards in pursuit of the best grapes possible, but he is also an avid grower of giant-sized pampoen. So famous is he for his award-winning produce that he recently rated a full page in Wineland magazine. Little slips by his sharp eye and a good thing too, with a growing list of awards attesting to his methods, and his strong collaboration with the winemaking team.
Johann’s love for the great outdoors goes well outside the vineyards, with diving, hunting, fishing and African safaris amongst his favoured pastimes. He also loves to cook for his wife Izanne and their two children; which, he says his wife just loves!