The Launch of Hybrid and Virtual Conferencing
On 9 July 2020, one of South Africa’s leading conferencing venues, Spier Wine Farm, launched its hybrid and virtual conferencing offerings with a glittering evening enjoyed both in-person and by members of the events sector in the comfort of their homes.
Attendees were treated to a smorgasbord of treats showcasing the length and breadth of the virtual conferencing experience. These included live music streamed from Spier, a virtual Segway tour of Spier’s organic pastures, a tutorial by Chef PJ Vadas on how to make a mouth-watering Margherita pizza and an introduction to the art of mosaic. There were also belly-achingly funny acts by comedians Alan Committie and Nik Rabinowitz.
Perhaps the favourite part of the evening for most was a virtual chocolate and wine tasting presented by Spier winemaker Anton Swarts. Each launch attendee had received a box featuring Spier’s new canned Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot along with two kinds of artisanal chocolates in advance and were able to enjoy the tasting first-hand.
“Since the start of the pandemic we immediately switched to innovation mode and has been able to re-invent some parts of our business to continue serving customers,” says Spier GM, Joep Schoof. “I believe this world-class virtual offering can meet the need for people to connect. We’ve got a product that can help you get your teams or clients together in a way that feels natural and can beautifully showcase your product and facilitate business.”
Meet at Spier— without leaving your desk.
Through hosting your event virtually with Spier — against the backdrop Spier’s gallery of stunning farm images — hosts are able to unleash unlimited online engagements and experiences. Spier has assembled a team of experienced event producers and technical experts and uses top-notch software to ensure full, seamless support for every aspect of the event. This includes handling nitty-gritty details like participant registration, ticketing and email campaigns. During the event, Spier oversees the virtual participation platform (including live Q&A/ polls and breakout rooms), live streaming of sessions and attendance analytics.
The best of both worlds.
With Spier’s fast internet and latest generation audio-visual tech, combining virtual conferencing with Spier’s classic farm hospitality in person is a breeze. This is particularly ideal given that the size of gatherings are currently limited by government regulation.
For delegates who do attend in person, Spier’s abundance of outdoor spaces and spacious venues, physical distancing is easy during meetings, breakouts and meals. The farm has developed special conferencing seat plans to accommodate physical distancing protocols and has tweaked other aspects of experience, including:
- Venues are deep cleaned after each event and used pens and notepads are recycled
- Sanitising wipes are available for delegates to use
- All food and beverage items will be individually plated and served instead of being a traditional buffet; coffee and other break items will be served
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 20 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 food at its four-star hotel and restaurants.