I was taking a group of international students to Cape Town and wanted to stop by and give them a taste of the Stellenbosch before heading off on our way. I thought Spier would be good as it's close to the highway, has the bird outreach and is a well known brand. I must say I was very let down by the way we were treated. After seeing the birds we headed to the tasting room, were directed to a table and informed on the prices of tasting (around 15-20 ZAR a basic wine). This was far more than any other wine tasting I've experienced anywhere in South Africa - and there are much better wines on offer elsewhere. When I inquired about the possibility of buying wine and cancelling out this fee (which is standard in EVERY other winery I've visited) I was told you must spend several thousand rand each. I was shocked by this as we had a large group and potentially a lot of business for them, I know I would have bought at least a couple of bottles myself.
As we were already there and had no time to visit elsewhere I thought we'd give it a go in any case - but no one came to serve us - I'd already mentioned we didn't have that long on the way in but this was ignored. Finally after waiting for around 15 mins we'd had enough and decided to leave, only to have our exit blocked by the manager who accused us of stealing our wine tasting. She said our glasses were dirty and we must paid, unless one of us had breathed on one I'm afraid she was very much mistaken. She was extremely rude and refused to hear how we'd been ignored. I will never return to the estate and I will never take another group of students there, furthermore since that day I've made a point of choosing any other wine on the menu or in the store I can find. There are much more welcoming places in the town and South Africa has much more to offer winewise than Spier. I only hope others haven't been put off SA wine in the same way my students could have been by this experience, a true letdown.
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