The rise of technology and industry may have distanced us superficially from nature, but it has not changed our reliance on the natural world: most of what we use and consume on a daily basis remains the product of multitudes of interactions within nature, and many of those interactions are imperiled. – Jeremy Hance, award-winning environmental journalist
With World Earth Day being celebrated on 22 April, this is as good a time as any to reflect on the many-splendoured gifts showered upon our beautiful estate by Mother Nature. And perhaps more importantly, to reflect on what we at Creation do to count and sustain our many blessings. It is a great truth that sustainability requires innovation and to stay at the forefront we are constantly implementing new ways of maintaining the precious ecological balance on our farm.
Wines that Remember
At Creation the art of winemaking begins long before the grapes are harvested. It begins with the land itself, the spirit of which lives on in every bottle. Right from the start it has been our intention to responsibly engage the potential of our remarkable 450-million-year-old soils and our ideal, cool climatic conditions in order to create site-specific wines reflecting our unique terroir – wines that proudly ‘remember’ their roots.
In establishing his vineyards, Cellarmaster Jean-Claude (JC) Martin had the foresight of planting only virus-free clones. In fact, Creation was the first South African wine estate to plant virus-free vines post-1994. This has been a long-term investment in sustainability as virus free means improved vineyard longevity. It also means improved quality as healthy vineyards yield healthy grapes which in turn help us to produce world-class wines.
Among the many environmentally friendly measures in our vineyards are armies of wasps and ladybirds to control pests. And then Nature lovers will also applaud the nifty owl and bat houses in our vineyards! This natural approach to the control of rodents and pests is yet another way of demonstrating our commitment to responsible farming and nurturing a healthy ecosystem.
Enhancing the Beauty of Nature
In the cellar JC adheres to a philosophy of ‘enhancing the beauty of Nature’. “When you’re harvesting quality fruit it is not necessary to manipulate the wine. Rather guide it gently through the process to preserve the sense of place.”
Creation complies with the guidelines laid down by the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) scheme and all our wines boast the sustainability and integrity seal, confirming the estate’s commitment to eco-friendly wine production. Practical measures include the recycling of packaging, a focus on sustainable packaging and eliminating the use of plastic. We are also proud of the fact that all our closure corks are grown in sustainable forests.
To minimise the impact of our farming practices on the immense biodiversity of our surrounds, our state-of-the-art cellar has been designed to fit like a pearl in an oyster, with the earth insulating one side of the building. Every day brings a new challenge and innovation is a way of life. Our team often come up with ideas such as the Spekboom hedge they have planted near the cellar, this protects our sustainable waste water system and oxygenates the air.
What Grows Together Goes Together
In combining winemaking showmanship with culinary artistry, gorgeous flavours with irresistible textures, Creation has gained an enviable reputation for our creative and ever-evolving wine and food pairing menus. Our menus comprise only the finest seasonal ingredients from selected local suppliers. At present more than 80% come from neighbours in the Overberg region and hence going a long way towards reducing our carbon footprint.
In support of responsible consumerism, all our wines are now vegan. We embrace change and the privilege and opportunity to work with Nature and the wonderful produce available in our region. These fresh, locally grown ingredients allow us to create exquisite wine and food pairings for vegans, flexitarians and frankly all wine and food lovers.
Among the many sustainable treats in our Tasting Room is our own purified natural mountain water – if you want to take some home, simply bring your own bottle. Also in line with the Creation culture of sustainability through 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 air quality.
In Harmony with Nature
Creation has always been at the forefront of celebrating and preserving our pristine environment. We acknowledge the role Mother Earth plays in our success and as custodians of our land we are committed to the conservation and protection of the indigenous flora as well as the precious wildlife on our farm. We have pledged our support to the Landmark Foundation and the estate is officially predator friendly. We are also honoured to be one of only nine wineries in South Africa to have received EnviroWines accreditation.
The spirit of sustainability extends to the rustic Voormanshuis, which designed to be in harmony with our pristine surroundings, offers delightful accommodation. Among the features appealing to the eco-conscious are sustainably sourced eucalyptus timber, fresh fountain water sourced from the ravine running below and solar power. Numerous walking and cycling trails await the energetic while visitors can also participate in our popular Vineyard Walk – a safari on foot to reduce carbon footprint.
Giving back to the Community
Alongside the value we place on our environment is the awareness of our social responsibility. Thus Creation is a regular contributor to the Cape Wine Auction, raising money to support education in the Cape Winelands.
We are also a founder member of the Pebbles Hemel-en-Aarde Education Project. Officially launched in January 2017, the project has made great strides in improving the future of farm children living in the area. One of our more recent initiatives has been the establishment of a food garden at Pebbles where the principles of sustainable crop rotation are taught.
I would like to conclude with more words of wisdom from Jeremy Hance: “There is no question that Earth has been a giving planet. Everything humans have needed to survive, and thrive, was provided by the natural world around us . . .” We hope you will join us in celebrating World Earth Day, wherever you might be. Holistic, environmentally sensitive practices have always been close to our heart. Should you have any fresh ideas or suggestions, we would love to hear from you! – Carolyn Martin