It was our ‘coming of age’ in 2023: a year of awards and rewards; of challenges, milestones and innovation – and of many celebrations!
We were placed in fourth position on the World’s Best Vineyards’ list, and number one in Africa. We were also delighted to accept no fewer than 10 Medals of Excellence (90+) in the highly respected Tim Atkin SA Special Report this year, with two Creation wines among the Wines of the Year: the Creation Glenn’s Chardonnay 2022 and the Creation Art of Chardonnay 2022. Both wines boasted a whopping 96 points. Recently we scored 95 points for the Art of Creation Pinot Noir 2022 in the international Decanter Pinot Noir blind tasting, positioning us in the top 5 of the 273 wines tasted. And then we came out tops in two categories at the Great Wine Capitals (GWC) Regional Best of Wine Tourism Awards: Wine Tourism Services and Art and Culture. What’s more, we earned a coveted star at the annual Eat Out Awards. Yet another proud moment was when we were awarded the prestigious Podlashuk Trophy for Sustainability.
Why Creation – and how do we do it?
It begins with sustainability, which we know to be synonymous with innovation and diversity. One of the key factors of sustainable wine tourism is the focus on people. Our team members are selected from the immediate surroundings and offered ongoing opportunities to advance their skills. These include sommelier, WSET, chef, viticulture and winemaking training. We work with local and international scientists on viticulture projects and when designing our menus, the culinary team works with neuroscientists, naturopaths, doctors, nutritionists, occupational therapists, and psychologists.
Behind the scenes, we collaborate with scientists such as Professor Gabriel Lepousez who is an expert on sensory perception and brain plasticity. What we learn becomes part of our on-going journey at Creation, enabling us to create sensorial menus which, for instance, demonstrate the exceptional aromas and textures of our fine Pinot Noirs. The senses are after all the pathways to the mind. Our intention is that our guests feel so good, they come back for more! Click here to read the series on Neuroscience.
The health of our vines really determines the quality of our fine wines, and this in turn, is determined by our people. Science helps us to understand nature better, informing and complementing the craftsmanship and exceptional skills required in the vineyards and cellar. Read more about the health of our vines here.
One of our great opportunities is taking care of our own viticulture and having our own winemaking facilities. Led by our cellarmaster Jean-Claude Martin, winemaker Gerhard Smith and viticulturist Gerhard Bruwer, a dedicated team manages the challenges and the complexity of the weather throughout the seasons. This past year it included facing a devastating storm head on, and guarding the lifeblood of our farm, our water system.
Guests who travel up the Hemel-en-Aarde to Creation, arrive to a clear sense of place. Our pathways are redolent with the fragrance of fynbos, unique to our part of the Western Cape, while the fine art in our garden has become synonymous with Creation. This year, aligned with the FynArts Festival, we stage a collaborative art exhibition titled ‘Equilibrium’. Sculptor Nanette Ranger and photographer Sean Ranger explore the theme of ‘balance amid a world in flux’. This echoes Creation’s philosophy of working in harmony with nature, fostering a symbiotic relationship between sustainability, the team, community, and clients.
While Creation in the Hemel-en-Aarde is our home, the world offers us fresh perspectives, a chance to share the enormous impact of wine tourism. This past year we travelled to the UK to join in a celebration of South African Food, Wine and Horticulture with Hand Picked Hotels.
We furthermore attended the ARENI Live think tank in California, discussing topics like wine education, the future of fine wine and sustainability. A special thanks to DELTA airlines. Our son Glenn and I also visited Rioja in Spain where I delivered two papers on sustainability during panel discussions hosted by the World’s Best Vineyards.
Creation itself became a magnet, drawing wine experts from around the globe. In September, during Wines of South Africa’s inaugural Sommelier Symposium, we hosted 40 leading sommeliers from across the world. It was the perfect opportunity to highlight the region’s biodiversity, cool climate and oceanic influences that shape the distinctive elegance of our Chardonnays.
In mid-November, Creation had the pleasure of hosting 42 Masters of Wine – 10 percent of all MWs from around the globe. The event showcased the innovation in viticulture, including a tour of the Art of Pinot Noir vineyard, and insights into climate change research using AI. The attendees were impressed by the quality of South African Pinot Noir and Creation’s collaboration with scientists to secure the future of the vine. View short clips from their recent visit here.
While our wines celebrated a heroic year, the Creation culinary team has been working towards excellence for the past 10 years. The senses are the pathways to the mind and guests are treated to tactile and auditory experiences that add a new dimension to exploring the Creation terroir. Our chefs and sommeliers love to bring their diverse cultural heritage to the table, offering innovative, re-imagined dishes that trigger all the senses and leave an indelible culinary impression.
We make news at Creation but it would remain a secret if it wasn’t for the writers, guests and industry experts who share our drive for innovation. Here are but a few examples of the ‘good press’ we received.
‘A rosé that tastes as good in a chilly British spring as it did in the humid tropics.’ This is how Julia Harding MW described the Creation Rosé which featured as Jancis Robinson’s Wine of the Week. Click here to read further.
Neal Martin and Jamie Goode have a global wine view and it is always great to welcome them to the estate. Thank you to the local experts who wrote about us this past year, including Dr Winnie Bowman, Emile Joubert, Malu Lambert, Mbali Mbatha, Sanet Oberholzer, Julie Veloce, Tamsin Snyman, Ruth Cooper and Karla Jansen van Vuuren.
What of the future? What began as our serendipitous discovery of the raw potential in Hemel-en-Aarde, especially for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, has evolved into an award-winning portfolio of four distinct Chardonnays and four exceptional Pinot Noirs. And now a new block of Pinot Noir signals a commitment to nurturing the next generation of this beloved varietal, symbolising a continuum of sustainable growth. Read more about Celebrating 21 years of Pinot Noir Innovation at Creation.
Our awards are cherished, especially since it is a multi-faceted journey. It is shared with all of those who play a critical role, contributing to our path of excellence in so many ways with their generous time and knowledge. Our people, our sense of place, our spirit of innovation, and our respect for nature underpin everything we do. Energy is at the very core of our existence. We all respond to positive energy which helps us improve health, relationships and quality of life.
This is the journey that we love to share with you!