Almost seven months after the Level 9 storm of 24 September 2023, I remember the devastation of fallen trees, collapsed roads and washed-away bridges, reflecting on Creation’s recovery to date.

Creation was cut off for two days due to parts of the R320 and N2 washing away, and the Karwyderskraal and Tesslersdal Roads being damaged. In fact, the whole Hemel-en-Aarde region was an inaccessible triangle until farmers scraped all the fallen trees off the roads with huge digger loaders, repaired the Karwyderskraal Road, and created access over the mountain via Hamilton Russell. At least we could then get our team up to Creation and home each day.

Within two days, we had repaired a damaged pump, and our generators were running. Power to the region was only restored 12 days later, and it took almost six weeks for water to be restored to Hermanus. Fortunately, we purify our mountain water, so we could assist our team with fresh water. We had to do an enormous amount of work by hand and on foot due to the very soggy ground. We also had to pull two tractors out of the mud with the help of our neighbours. But our cover crops held our new plantings, and we had very little erosion, so we did not lose any vineyards, unlike some of our friends in the valley or neighbouring wine regions.

For six weeks we drove over the mountain to get to work, or up and down the Karwyderskraal Road. The government was eventually able to create a safe bypass on the R320, with a stop-and-go system in place, but repairs to the road have not yet commenced, which is concerning as winter approaches. Although it is still easy to access Creation via the R320, please be prepared to wait at the stop-and-go for up to 10 minutes. We will make sure it is worth your wait!

Carolyn Martin – Creative Director