Spier is the first winery in the world to receive Control Union Vegan Standard accreditation, following certification by Control Union, an international certification and inspection company with operations in over 70 countries. Spier Seaward, Creative Block, 21 Gables and Frans K Smit ranges will all bear this vegan-friendly seal – from 2019 vintage onwards for white wines and the 2018 vintage onwards for reds.
“This vegan certification not only demonstrates our commitment to a greener, animal-friendly future; it also means that vegan drinkers can now enjoy our wines,” says Frans K. Smit, Spier’s Cellar Master. “The certification of these four ranges is an importance first step and represents a significant percentage of the wines we offer. It is our intention that the rest of the wines we make will become Vegan Standard-accredited in the coming years.”
Veganism is a growing trend globally for various reasons; these include carbon footprint reduction and the prevention of animals’ exploitation and suffering.
“Trustworthiness and credibility of certain claims – vegan in this instance – through independent auditing and certification is of paramount importance,” explains Jordi Meijer, the Managing Director (South Africa) of Control Union. “When they see the Control Union Vegan Standard seal, vegans can be confident that there are buying something that aligns with their ideals.”
Why are wines often not vegan?
In order to make wines clear and bright, most wineries use animal-derived fining agents. The most popular of these are casein (a milk protein), albumin (egg whites), gelatin (animal protein) and isinglass (fish bladder protein). During the winemaking process, harmless organic particles that make the wine cloudy (including protein and yeast molecules) become attached to the fining agent and sink, making it easy for them to be removed – and for the wine to become clear. Because tiny traces of the fining agent may be absorbed into the wine, the wines that use animal-derived fining agents are not considered vegan.
Fortunately, there are non-animal alternatives – such as activated charcoal, bentonite or clay-based fining agents – which Spier is now using instead.
The use of non-animal fining agents do not affect the taste of the wine in any way.
One of South Africa’s oldest wine farms and a well-known Western Cape landmark, Spier outside Stellenbosch is passionate about the environment and supporting the local community. It regularly buys from and supports trusted local suppliers, and its philosophy is to make a difference every day in the lives of its guests, staff, the environment and community.
A sustainability pioneer over the past 15 years, Spier today recycles 100% of its wastewater and over 98% of its solid waste. It is a WWF Conservation Champion, and is recognised by Fair Trade in Tourism and the Wine Industry Ethical Trade Association. Its cellar carries FSSC 22000 certification and Fairtrade accreditation.
Three centuries since Spier’s start in 1692, the farm is still family-owned. The Enthoven family bought it in 1993, lives on the farm and works with the Spier team to bring positive change to the environment and community. Today Spier has a fresh, conscious energy, and is focused on art and good, ethical farming. It produces six ranges of award-winning wines and serves seasonal farm-to-table food at its four-star hotel and restaurants.
Spier offers conference delegates wanting to do business in an inspiring environment, 12 different meeting venues with varying capacities and settings, as well as various picnic spots and open-air cocktail or dining spaces. Venues include the four-star, 153-room Spier Hotel with boardroom; 430-seater auditorium; historic Manor House and adjacent oak-shaded courtyard; and three river- and mountain-facing conference rooms which can be used separately or combined to seat 150 delegates.