What does this award mean for Creation and South African Wine Tourism?
We are enormously grateful for this WBV award because it is a great boost to Creation’s vision of a sustainable, caring and innovative estate. It’s also recognition for our entire team’s efforts and has had a tremendous positive impact on everyone involved.
The award really highlights wine tourism’s impact on the local economy. 10% of world tourism is now wine tourism growing at an annual rate of 7%.
The positive effect on local economic development is how we turn jobs into careers through wine education. At Creation, for example, we have 13 sommeliers, and 17 International Wine Education Trust trained employees, besides our chefs, winemakers, viticulturists, marketing and HR team.
56% of South Africans have their first wine experience at the cellar door, and 50% of arrivals at Cape Town International participate in a wine tourism experience.
I believe the award also reflects our close collaboration with leading scientific and academic initiatives such as ClimaVin, a global climate change project spearheaded by Stellenbosch University.
One of our most exciting ventures is the Vititec GEN-Z project. Everyone is concerned about climate change, especially in the wine industry. By planting experimental Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, our aim is to establish clones and rootstocks best suited to mitigate climate change.
I think it is extremely important that South Africa is seen as a global participant … that our voice joins others in the industry. For example, we were invited to join a recent ARENI Global think tank on the Future of Fine Wine in California and that gives us the opportunity to build a sustainably secure and prosperous global wine industry.
What is the secret to Creation’s success?
Quite simply. It’s our people.
From those who work in the vineyards and cellar to the chefs and wine ambassadors in the Tasting Room, everything we do -from training to the awards we have won over the years – gives our people constant and positive encouragement that what they are doing throughout the wine making chain from vineyard to the serving of wine, is vitally important.
We encourage every team member to be goal oriented and offer them opportunities to advance their skills on many levels.
Our training is as diverse as leadership and communication courses to lectures on mental health. The result is that people stay with us for several years and that in turn, creates a supportive and cohesive team. It has been so rewarding to see this team become a small community eager to develop its full potential.
I think that one of the other key factors at Creation is having a sense of purpose. And that is to produce fine wine, especially Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. What has become a major drawcard for us is pairing that wine with equally fine food. The menus change every season, and the team is encouraged to be innovative. Without innovation, we cannot be sustainable. And that’s not just a Creation goal. It’s something the whole fine wine industry is focused on. We have to broaden our horizons and create a world view. That means strengthening relationships, building cultural diversity and securing the future of fine wine in South Africa.
When guests visit Creation, what can they expect?
I would say they can expect a journey unlike anywhere else in the world! Our Hemel-en-Aarde region is situated in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom in one of the most biodiverse wine regions in the world. And that’s a visitor’s first experience as they make their way from Hermanus, up the valley.
They are surrounded by a completely unique landscape. And once they arrive at Creation, they not only see fynbos between vineyards but are likely to feel the cooling breeze off the Atlantic that makes the area ideal for wine growing.
Our tasting room is elevated among the vineyards and so guests actually taste what they see around them. They have a chance to sit outside in the garden so visiting Creation is an immersion in nature.
The other key experience and it is a subtle one… is that our menu ingredients are sourced with 80 km of the farm/estate. We need quality local ingredients to produce fine wine and fine food and that has meant involving local producers and helping their business become more successful. We’ve significantly reduced the journey from farm to table.
We want to preserve our natural heritage for generations to come, and this must be at the very core of what we grow; and that’s fine wines and fine people.