At Creation we believe fine people make fine wine.  This week we give credit to the members of our team who work in happy harmony with nature to care for our vines and ensure that they produce healthy, well-balanced fruit.  Having said that, how is the 2024 vintage doing? In spite of the storm that raged just over a month ago, we are grateful to say all is well in our vineyards. Creation viticulturist, Gerhard Bruwer reports:

We had a very good winter, with lots of rain and cold units, giving the vines enough time to rest. Budding was exceptionally even, on all cultivars, which is normally what we hope for since even budding means even ripening.

Spring also started well … until a level 9 storm hit us around the 23rd of September, bringing over 300 mm of rain within 48 hours. Luckily, we had minimal damage, for which we are ever grateful as many farms had huge damage to their vineyards, orchards and infrastructure.

The months of October and November are ‘silly season’ in the vineyards: one day you seem to be a few days ahead with the workload, and then suddenly you are two weeks behind. ‘Not-enough-hands-and-days-in-a-week’ is a familiar saying with us!

In the meantime, Mother Nature has her own pace. Our earlier cultivars such as the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay have already gone through the flowering stage while our later ripening cultivars such as Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon will soon go into flowering. Flowering is an important phase in the growing season; it determines the number of berries per cluster and with this information we can anticipate fruit loads and start planning for harvest.

From left to right: First flowerhoods detach, second 50% flowerhoods detach, end of flowering, small berries formed.

What role does the honey bee play in the pollination process? Well, although bees are very much part of our healthy ecosystem, they are not essential to grape pollination since cultivated grapevines are hermaphroditic, possessing both female ovaries and male stamens. During bloom, the delicate flowers are vulnerable to damage from wind, rain or unexpected late frost. So, let’s hope Mother Nature looks after us during this very important phase.

Suckering in process.

Our first round of suckering – the removal of unwanted shoots – is almost done. However, a vineyard team’s work is never done. Soon we’ll commence with our second suckering on all the cultivars to ensure enough light penetration and air movement in the bunch zone. We need sufficient sunlight to keep those precious little eyes fertile and require air movement to minimise the chances of diseases like downy mildew and powdery mildew. Healthy vines mean healthy grapes.

A gentle dose of organic fertilizer boosts the inherent micro and macro elements found in our soils, all aimed at producing only the best grapes for our ultra-premium wines. And from what I see in the vineyards at this stage, I truly believe we are in for another FINE vintage!