To keep things shipshape at Creation requires the constant input of a great team, ranging from skippers JC and Carolyn Martin to (literally) all hands on deck! This week we take pleasure in featuring Urle Hansen who joined the Creation team five years ago as a cellar hand and has since been promoted to cellar assistant, making a very special contribution to the Creation journey.
Urle grew up in the Overberg where he attended Teslaarsdal Primary and then Diepgat Primary before progressing to Swartland Secondary School in Caledon. After school he enrolled for a course in Electrical Engineering at Boland College, joining Creation Wines in 2013 where his passion and fortitude have won him the respect of his peers. Urle’s positive attitude is reflected in the words of Nelson Mandela which he retweeted in November 2016: “It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”
In June this year, it was announced that he had been selected as a participant in the 2018 Burgundy Exchange Programme facilitated by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture. Urle, who had never been on an aeroplane before, embraced this opportunity with open arms.
Was the experience everything you expected it to be?
It was way more different than what I expected with the culture and the way of living being completely different from how we do things in South Africa.
For someone coming from a small farming community in the Hemel-en-Aarde it was an amazing experience. It was an extremely long flight and it took us almost two days to get to Burgundy. However, setting foot on the soil of one of the most famous wine regions in the world made me realise: these six weeks are going to be one of the best life experiences I’ll ever have.
I worked at Domaine Chevrot à Cheilly les Maranges which is in the heart of the Maranges district at the southern end of the Côte de Beaune. In the Bourgogne winegrowing region, perhaps more than anywhere else, the winegrower has retained strong ties with the land and often works his or her own vines, frequently as a family-run business. By being part of the family for the six weeks it was fascinating to learn their philosophy – how they make wine and how they live and breathe wine every day. It is more than a job it is a lifestyle for them.
When did you become interested in winemaking?
I used to work in the vineyards during my school holidays but after school decided to study Electrical Engineering at Boland College in Caledon. I soon realised however that I’m happier being out in nature. This led me to Creation Wines where I started working in 2013 as a cellar hand. I had no experience of winemaking and couldn’t have asked for a better mentor than JC. He has given me the opportunity to grow and has taught me fantastic skills which helped me to pass SKOP Level 3.
What does the future hold for you?
I will hopefully soon enrol for SKOP Level 4 and one day I would like to be a qualified winemaker, able to make my own wine. For now I look forward to many years of harvesting as this is the best time of the year for me: it’s almost like the cellar has its beauty sleep and suddenly wakes up, alive with energy and vitality!