They tried to take our sales, but they can never take our harvest!
Oh, for the aroma of freshly crushed grapes! Yes, it’s harvest time and at Creation, the excitement runs high. True to tradition Pinot Noir, the Prince of Reds, is the first to be picked.
This year’s harvest interns are Glenn Martin and Henning Blaauw, third-year Oenology students at Stellenbosch. Due to COVID-19 and travel being somewhat unpredictable, we decided it was time for our homeboys to get some experience. Yet another example of a crisis creating an opportunity.
Glenn of course has already gained valuable experience while working part of the season in Switzerland, two years ago. He also helped out in our cellar last year and this year he is excited about the commitment of being a cellar intern. “Cleaning the cellar is the foundation of producing quality wine. We are happy to help and fit in wherever necessary – learning by doing and sharing; making sure we play our part in the 2021 vintage.”
Henning’s slogan, ‘When life gives you grapes, make wine’, pretty much sums up his attitude. He enjoys the lifestyle and values the opportunity of participating in this year’s harvest, saying, “it is hard work but so satisfying when it pays off”.
Winemaker Gerhard Smith says: “We are back to the more normal, cooler climate, later ripening vintage which we are used to in the Hemel-en-Aarde. This means a healthy crop, almost no shrivel in the Pinot due to the cooler weather, with more even ripening. I am excited about the Chardonnay too. The grapes look fantastic and will be harvested next week.” On a philosophical note Gerhard adds: “Ek word geïnspireer deur die wete dat ek hopelik nog 20-25 probeerslae het om my beste wyn ooit te maak – dalk iets wat my wese ‘n klein bietjie kan verleng deur vreugde aan die mensdom te verskaf na ek weg is … tot ek ook net ‘n eggo in die kosmiese stof is.”
Viticulturist Gerhard Bruwer adds: “We were blessed with good climatic conditions with no heatwaves and a back-to-normal, long ripening period. This and the fact that we have no virus in our vineyards mean we have exceptional quality fruit: small, compact bunches with small berries promising a lot of concentration. Little intervention is needed in the cellar. Nature has played its part to make life easier for the winemakers.”
Cellar assistant Kirsten Myburgh is equally positive: “The weather conditions were great and although it’s early days, the quality of our 2021 Pinot grapes looks good. From here on it’s up to us – go hard or go home!” His colleague, Urle Hansen, agrees: “It certainly looks like a good year for Pinot Noir; small bunches and berries mean good flavour.”
Pinot Noir is of course our pride and joy. JC Martin, our viticulturist and cellarmaster, explains: “First of all we have 450-million-year-old Bokkeveld shale and drained clay loam soils which combined with our cool climate create excellent winegrowing conditions for the cultivar. During the annual growth period temperatures rarely exceed 30° C, while the cool night index throughout the year is 12° C lower than the midday temperature. The soils require minimal irrigation (if any), which contributes to the good mid-palate structure and fine texture of the wine. At Creation, the Pinot grapes ripen slowly, evenly and fully, resulting in attractive fruit flavours balanced by crisp acidity to add to the freshness of the wines.”
While Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are our flagship cultivars, our distinctive terroir also allows for the successful cultivation of a number of other varieties. We look forward to bringing you further updates as the harvest progresses.
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