Before reporting on our 2024 vintage, it’s useful to explain some of the important factors that influence a harvest. These include:

Winter rainfall and cold units – good rainfall and enough cold units lead to even budding in spring.

Even budding this is important for red wine cultivars as it helps with even ripening, reducing the need for green harvesting (removing excessively under-ripe grapes), which can impact crop size significantly. Uneven ripening is less of a problem in white cultivars, as greener bunches can boost the acid component in the wines.

Wind and rain during flowering strong winds and cold temperatures during the flowering stage have an extremely negative impact on crop size due to bad fruit set.

Rain during harvesting time – rain at the wrong time can lead to high disease pressure and rot.

Timing human intervention (deciding exactly when a well-trained and dedicated team should prune, sucker, spray and pick) has a significant impact on bringing in a successful harvest.

Working with nature is the very inspiration and innovation that is Creation,” says our cellarmaster Jean-Claude Martin. “Our intimate knowledge of our vineyards and the history of previous harvests help us make the right decisions at the right time, but nature still has the most significant impact.

Vintage 2024

During winter, we had excellent rainfall and enough cold units, but spring started with a Level 9 weather warning and the worst storm we have ever experienced. The rainfall on Sunday 24 September was exceptionally heavy 312 mm in 18 hours – and powerful winds destroyed many of the green vine shoots on our early ripening cultivars, including Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Read more about the impact of the September storm here.

October and early November were also very windy, which was not conducive to the best flowering. These two factors – the storm and the very windy conditions during flowering – were red flags for our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir crop sizes.

Fortunately, the summer months were dry and warm, especially from mid-January. Ripening conditions were perfect, slow and even, with warm days that cooled off during the nights. The cool night index ensured excellent quality grapes with no rot. During the harvesting period between 25 January and 4 April, we had 69 mm of rain compared to 195 mm during the 2023 harvesting period. Very little to no rain during harvesting is consistently high on the wish list, so in that regard the weather was very much in our favour. Most cultivars were harvested within four to seven days of the long-term average harvesting dates.

As expected, crop sizes were low, especially for the early ripening cultivars. Our long-term average yield for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is between 5 and 6 tons per hectare; this year, we had 3.2 tons per hectare for Chardonnay and 4.7 tons per hectare for Pinot Noir. The only cultivar with a crop size larger than the long-term average was Syrah.

“The past harvest was not always easy, but the fruit quality was excellent and the wines will reflect this,” says viticulturist Gerhard Bruwer. At Creation we love working with nature and are now starting the new seasonal cycle with great expectations. We’re hoping for good autumn rains to prepare our soils for planting cover crops, followed by a wet and cold winter so that our vines can hibernate properly.

Gerhard’s first wish is already coming true, thanks to the 85 mm of rain that fell at Creation last weekend, following another Level 9 weather warning. Fortunately it was nothing like the storm of 24 September 2023. Last time, the dams were already full after the winter rains, so some of our neighbours’ dam walls collapsed, causing extensive flooding. This time, the rain was really great for the vineyards and dam levels, and our only deep concern is that the Pebbles Bridge washed away. We hope the authorities will step in and fix it quickly so that the children do not miss school.

We do want to acknowledge all of our wine industry friends in Stellenbosch and Somerset West who experienced storm damage this past week. Wherever you are, we are thinking of you. My family and I feel especially shocked and saddened that the Blaauwklippen Manor House and Jonkershuis burnt down. I spent much of my childhood in those buildings when I lived on Blaauwklippen, between the ages of 7 and 17. All those memories have come flooding back.

Carolyn Martin – Creative Director