No doubt about it: the harvest is Creation innovation in motion. It requires a great deal of skill and agility. With our team 98% of the way through the 2023 harvest, we’ve asked some of them to share their impressions.
Jean-Claude (JC) Martin – Cellarmaster
Everyone arrived in prime condition, excited and ready to harvest our year’s work. Our viticultural team, always doing an excellent job, pulled out all the stops, sometimes with calls on Saturday evening to pick on Sunday. Having applied this incredible dedication, commitment and work ethic, we brought in the harvest under excellent conditions for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and had to manage more difficult weather circumstances later.
We worked hard, the quality of our estate grapes was outstanding, and we look forward to sharing our 2023 vintage. We believe fine people make fine wine. And there’s no better proof of this than when one has a slightly more challenging year. We had to be very mindful of the weather windows for good picking days. We also want to applaud the cellar team including our interns, for being on standby 24/7. What a great team!
Gerhard Bruwer – Viticulturist
In 2022 we had 26 mm of rain during harvesting (from the first day to the last day of picking). In 2023 we are standing on just over 200 mm for the harvesting period. This sums up this harvest! Mother Nature kept us humble; we had to harvest seven days a week when needed, making sure we picked the grapes at optimum ripeness, staying ahead of the predicted rains. The crop is 20% lower than last year, but this was our saving grace because the vines would have struggled to ripen a big crop due to the challenges.
Gerhard Smith – Winemaker
We have ended up with wines of moderate alcohol and are very happy with the flavour profiles and texture. We use higher solid components to build extra texture and layers on the palate. With the lower alcohol, it will be an exquisite, elegant, not opulent vintage, true to our cool-climate credentials. We are very happy with the quality in the cellar.
Chloe Nangle – Intern
This harvest has taught me a lot. The making of the wine is unique from one winery to another. Every winemaker has selected methods of vinification. Working at Creation has allowed me to experience and learn some of these methods and has also improved my palate in blind tastings. Overall the harvest was good, some weeks harder than others, with the cellar team bonding over a cold beer, watching the sunset. I was also lucky to choose a farm where breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided. This allowed us to work more efficiently.
Heinrich van der Watt – Intern
Creation knows how to cultivate quality and once the grapes reach the cellar, they have a minimal intervention approach. Being part of such a well-oiled machine was an absolute honour and privilege. My goal was to be like a sponge and absorb as much as possible, and everyone in the Creation team made it so easy. It is lovely to work in an environment that is surrounded by kindness. I am very grateful. As a young winemaker, the most valuable lesson I learned was to take action if the moon is right!
Laura Poli – Intern
I broadened my scope on the winemaking techniques for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, comparing them to how we make these wines in Burgundy. I had an excellent harvest and learned how to manage other cultivars too. I worked with a bigger team than I am used to, but thoroughly enjoyed it. Even when the harvest was intense, there was not a lot of stress as people cared for and helped each other.
Lars Schuler – Intern
JC combines French and Swiss stylistic winemaking with great South African terroir. People love these kinds of wines. For me it’s the freshness of the Pinot Noirs, and this finds an ever-growing demand amongst wine lovers. Creation was like a big family, and we had a great vibe in the team. I will be back!
Anna van Niepoort – Intern
I am a late addition to the Creation harvest team and I’m discovering what I would like to do in my life. The environment and the team are really good, and every detail is considered. I’ve also discovered that Creation is a top tourist destination and I’m especially impressed by their innovation in wine and food pairing. This is something new to me and something that would be interesting to implement in Europe.
Urle Hansen – Cellar Assistant
This year’s harvest was an experience. If I had to compare it to a previous vintage, I would compare it to 2014. But every vintage is of course unique, and Mother Nature is always in charge. You must work with nature to succeed.
Kirsten Myburgh – Cellar Assistant
Weer eens was dit ‘n oes wat ‘n mens nie maklik sal vergeet nie. Nuwe vriende is gemaak … nuwe kennis is opgedoen … nuwe vaardighede is geleer. Hier en daar was die ure bietjie lank maar ai, wat kan ‘n mens maak? Dis die enigste tyd wat jy kan wyn maak en ek glo as jy iets aanpak doen jy dit in alle erns. Wat vir my uitgestaan het hierdie jaar soos al die ander jare, is die spanwerk.