Last week, our vineyard team shared some of their thoughts about the 2024 harvest. Now it’s over to our cellar team to give us their impressions.

Jean-Claude (JC) Martin – Cellarmaster

After the storm we had in September, the growing season was quit dry so it was very easy in a way because there was no disease pressure. The crop size was on the small side but this normally leads to better quality because the grapes are highly concentrated without much dilution. From an analytical point of view, we maintained good acidities and not too high sugar levels, which resulted in moderate alcohol levels across the board. Flavour profile wise, as it manifests so far, 2024 will be a very fine, elegant vintage.

Gerhard Smith – Winemaker

Two early season events played a part in vintage 2024: the big storm in September, and the dry and sweltering early summer.

The main impact of the September storm was the smaller-than-usual Chardonnay crop, as damage during flowering had caused a lot of aborted berries, leading to very petite bunches. The fruit concentration was great, but unfortunately not much fruit to go around.

During early summer, a prolonged and extremely warm period pushed forward the ripening of the earlier cultivars, such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It also caused a pretty narrow ripening window. Thankfully, with our second press now well established, we could still harvest everything at optimal ripeness.

We tended to pick at slightly lower sugar levels than usual, as the warmer weather was causing a faster-than-normal drop in acidity. We decided we needed to protect the natural acidity and mineral expression we like on our wines (especially Chardonnay).

By mid-season, normal Hemel-en-Aarde weather patterns had returned, with cooler nights settling in and ripening slowing down. It was quite a dry harvest period (especially compared to the very wet 2023), so minimal disease pressure was experienced. We got perfect hang-time on the vines for the later-ripening cultivars such as Syrah and Grenache, creating great concentration of flavours without high alcohol levels being a concern.

As we press and barrel down the last reds, and rack the whites off their gross lees, I’m very pleased with the quality of the wines we have in the cellar from the 2024 harvest.

Urle Hansen – Cellar Assistant

For me it was an easy harvest, although every year brings its unique challenges, so you must take what Mother Nature gives you and make it work. It helps when you have good interns working with you for the harvest. This year we had four. My minions, as I call them.

Although the Chardonnay was down in crop size, the quality is excellent, and the Pinot Noir is also good. I look forward to tasting the wines in the barrels.

Kirsten Myburgh – Cellar Assistant

Every winemaker looks forward to harvest season … and then in a blink it’s over, but you never forget it, because each harvest brings a new dynamic and learning opportunities.

It was a dry year so we didn’t have too many complications around the rain. The quality of the grapes was very good and I believe that we have once again made excellent wines. Our Chardy grapes were a bit scarce this year but our Pinot Noir made up for it – exactly the opposite of last season.

On a personal note, this was my 10th harvest with Creation Wines, a big milestone! I really enjoyed it.