Simon Grier

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Even from school days, Simon was one of the lucky ones who knew he wanted to be a farmer. After studying Agriculture at Stellenbosch University and working for a few years on a poultry farm, Simon took over as Villiera’s Viticulturist (in 1983). The first family member to join the family’s newly acquired wine business.

He has always been a keen supporter of maintaining environmentally friendly vineyard management practices. The farm has not sprayed insecticides for the past 15 years and a flock of 1000 Peking ducks are responsible for some natural pest control. There is a strong focus on water conservation, recycling and a greening project (currently in progress), which entails the planting of 1000’s of indigenous trees on the farm (by 2016 over 100,000 trees had been planted on the farm). This philosophy has led to a vibrant eco-system on the farm, including huge flocks of guinea fowl and pheasant as well as steenbok, Cape foxes, grey mongooses, porcupines and the threatened blue crane.

These are all naturally occurring. Added to this Villiera opened a 230 Ha Wildlife Sanctuary in 2009 where we have introduced Springbuck, Bontebok, Eland, Gemsbok, Bush Pig, Burchell’s Zebra, Giraffe, Wildebeest, Kudu, Waterbuck.. None of this would have happened had it not been for Simon.

Simon has a strong focus green energy. Seven buildings have had Solar Domes installed and operate 80% of the time on natural sunlight. With power is becoming excessively expensive, green energy is becoming increasingly attractive, both financially and philosophically. In 2010 Villiera investigated the options and decided to take the plunge by installing Solar Power to supply all Villiera’s daytime requirements outside of harvest time. This involves approximately 950 m2 of Solar Panels mounted on cellar roofs capable of generating 132 KW of power. Villiera were the first winery in South Africa to follow this path.

As a result of Simon’s efforts Villiera has been recognised as a sustainable wine farm by being awarded the Great Wine Capitals Sustainable Wine Tourism practices, The Nedbank Green Award (Leadership in conservation), the Eskom ETA awards ‘Energy Efficiency Champion’, the KLINK Awards as the ‘Greenest Wine Farm’, amongst others.

Simon also works closely with the very rewarding Pebbles Project and was involved in making the OWETHU Clinic a reality at Villiera.

From 2014 to 2016 Simon worked with Simonit & Sirch (from Italy) during the pruning season where they trained the Villiera Vineyard team special pruning techniques to extend the productive life of our Vineyards.

Simon is married to Renee and they have two sons, Sam and Storm.