“At Creation every dawn brings an exciting new challenge and innovation is a way of life. This trendsetting spirit has shaped our vision and led to many a thrilling achievement,” says co-owner and marketing director, Carolyn Martin.
Situated on the scenic Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge some 9 kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean, this progressive Walker Bay estate is world-famous for its cool-climate wines and especially for its award-winning Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Since its establishment in 2002 it has also become synonymous with innovation – among the many examples is the fact that Creation was the first South African wine estate to plant virus-free vines post-1994. Today the team is also recognized for the pioneering role it has played in the field of wine and food pairing.
Apart from being a four-time winner of the prestigious Great Wine Capitals of the World (GWC) Award for Most Innovative Wine Estate in South Africa, Creation recently won the 2021 GWC Global Award for Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences. Carolyn ascribes this great international achievement to the exemplary way her team had pivoted during the Covid-19 lockdown and the ban on alcohol sales. “Sometimes innovation is born out of adversity; our team went to extraordinary lengths to mitigate the challenges and this happened on many levels: from sourcing materials and upskilling to the development of new products and delivery systems.”
Asked about new product development, the ever upbeat Carolyn refers to the estate’s hugely successful ‘Tasting Together, Apart’ campaign which was aimed at mitigating Covid-19 restrictions by bringing clients a range of ‘virtual’ tasting kits to enjoy at home. The concept soon mushroomed to now comprise no less than six sought-after culinary experiences, enjoyed worldwide. To support these adventurous forays the team has a knowledgeable squad of personal hosts standing by. “Virtual participation of course requires considerable technical skills which our team has handled with great aplomb,” remarks Carolyn.
In situ Creation continues to offer an inventive and ever-evolving variety of pairing options. This includes the newly launched ‘Creation Sensation’ menu which Carolyn describes as “a mindful activity, raising awareness of, and pleasure in the here and now by engaging your senses to the full.” Employing unconventional ‘appetisers’, the Creation Culinary Team sets out to pamper and surprise your taste buds in ways you’ve probably never experienced before. For instance, the gentle brush of a guinea fowl feather to awaken your senses to the pleasures of texture and touch; music to stir not only the soul but also the palate; and then, who would have thought that wine and perfume have so much in common? Guests simply relish this unique and delectable dining adventure – to quote but one remark: “Sometimes you have to lose your mind to come to your senses!”
At Creation one exciting innovation often leads to another … And so the Creation Sensation menu triggered yet another novelty: ‘The Perfume of Wine’. Carolyn explains: “Deeply evocative and beguilingly sensual, The Perfume of Wine was inspired by our exquisitely fragrant Creation Pinot Noir. It is a construct of seven meticulously sourced essential oils, with at its heart a secret component.” Developed in collaboration with Just Pure, the range comprises three natural hand care products and a delightful room mist. Toiletries from a wine estate? You better believe it!
And there’s more. A while back the team proudly launched their very own gin range: the Creation Chardonnay Gin and the Creation Pinot Noir Gin. Yet, what is gin without imaginative mixology? So they recently teamed up with Barker and Quin and voila! The brand-new Creation Tonic Water complements the two gins without compromising the aromatics. What’s more, it is lower in sugar and higher in natural acidity to be the ideal choice for the health-conscious gin lover.
Also in line with the Creation culture of innovation is the green garden presently under construction in the Tasting Room. “This is about bringing ‘good’ or ‘healthy’ dirt inside, encouraging a microbiome of healthy probiotics to improve immunity,” says an enthusiastic Carolyn.
Nature lovers will also applaud the nifty owl and bat houses being built in the vineyards. This natural approach to the control of rodents and pests in and around the estate is yet another way of demonstrating the team’s commitment to sustainable farming and nurturing a healthy ecosystem.
Apart from the global recognition for innovation bestowed by Great Wine Capitals, the estate’s trendsetting ethos was also acknowledged locally at the 2020 Wine & Food Tourism Awards where Creation was one of the top three honourees in the Innovation category. According to Carolyn winning these sought-after awards confirms that Creation lives up to its evocative name. “Our name is not only a tribute to the riches Mother Nature has bestowed upon our farm, but also a reference to our soils which had never been planted to vines before. Last but not least, it is a promise of constant renewal.’’