You can sense Kirsten Myburgh’s anticipation when asked what his first venture as a Creation winemaker is: ‘’I’m making a semi-sweet wine; Hemel-en-Aarde has not produced a semi-sweet Sauvignon Blanc before and it will be a first for this cool-climate area. It is a new experience and it is great being offered this challenge. What I have learned is that what you put in is what you get out!” Wise words indeed.
A Hermanus lad through and through, Kirsten has been working on the Creation Estate as a cellar assistant over the past four years whilst completing his SKOP Level 3 qualification at the same time – no mean achievement.
It is clear that he revels in all aspects of the winemaking craft. His enjoyment stems: ‘’… from filling barrels to pressing and so much more. There is always something to do even if it means something to clean or to fix and every day there is something to learn. Each day is different and filled with new challenges.’’
His enthusiasm and commitment shine through when talking about the toughest test of them all, the harvest. It is a huge learning curve and as Kirsten is quick to point out: ‘’I have the privilege of working with two fantastic winemakers, JC and Gerhard, who are my key mentors. In the cellar one cannot for a moment lose focus and one must always remain positive. Both JC and Gerhard are always there to support and help me. I feel secure with them as my leaders as I know that we all learn from each other.’’ But it’s not all just hard work and no play: ‘’At the end of a long, hard day, the braai with the team is a great way to relax and have some fun!’’
Talking about Sauvignon Blanc Kirsten enthusiastically remarks: “The Hemel-en-Aarde Sauvignons have a phenomenal minerality and I see the Atlantic Ocean as a key factor in giving us these fresh, new styles of wine.‘’ But interestingly enough his cultivar of choice is Chardonnay. And he has specific reasons for it being so: “I prefer Chardonnay because of the beautiful aromas and distinctive flavours you get in the wines. It is a cultivar where you do not want a lot of skin contact because the key is to let the wine still go through malolactic fermentation. It has a lot of complexity and depth to it.’’ He adds, ‘’I am proud to be working in the Hemel-en-Aarde where some of the best Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are produced.’’
Does this mean that after his initial semi-sweet offering we can expect still greater things to come in the form of Creation’s two flagship cultivars? Watch this space – Kirsten is clearly a budding winemaker to be reckoned with!