The Fine Wines of Creation
When you live and work in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, in one of the most biodiverse wine regions in the world, there isn’t a moment when you are not conscious of what that means and the weight it carries. – Carolyn Martin, Creative Director Creation Wines
At Creation Wines in the Hemel-en-Aarde ward of South Africa’s Walker Bay Wine Region, the team is committed to preserving their precious natural heritage for generations to come. It is at the very core of the fine wines they produce, particularly their Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.
According to Carolyn Martin, co-owner of the estate, fine wine is worlds apart from good wine. “Fine wine is not simply about its traceability and exclusivity. Our fine wine is deeply rooted in our culture and provenance and visitors to our farm need only look up from our Tasting Room tables to see our surrounding vineyards. On certain days, guests may sense in the air, the subtle salt tang from the cool Atlantic Ocean a few kilometres away.”
But fine wine is also about the fine people charged with making it. “These include our viticulturist, our winemaker, our cellarmaster JC Martin, and our vineyard and cellar teams. And then there are our team members who interact daily with our guests, all of whom have the same sense of commitment to excellence.”
When Creation planted their first virus-free vines in 2002, they took a significant lead in environmental custodianship — from preserving the soil microbiome to the organic crops used to mulch the vines. In their quest for sustainable winemaking, the team also looks to science to understand nature better and secure the future of fine wines. “We are excited to be working with local and international scientists on climate change projects, virus mitigation and sensory analysis,” Carolyn explains.
“To be sustainable is to be fully transparent in everything we do. The Integrated Production of Wine — the IPW seal shown on each Creation wine bottle— means that you can track every stage in our wine production. It is a given that our packaging and corks are sustainably sourced and that we minimise the use of plastic. We constantly track our carbon emissions and audit ourselves by participating in the Climate, Fruit and Wine Carbon Calculator. We harness abundant South African sunshine, one of our natural assets, to produce 80 per cent of our energy.”
As an accredited and certified World Wildlife Fund conservation champion the estate constantly clears alien vegetation to make way for indigenous fynbos and wildlife. While much of what is done happens behind the scenes, guests are immediately exposed to the team’s commitment to a sustainable environment. They arrive along a fragrant fynbos walk and are welcomed into the Tasting Room via a beautiful and environmentally positive biome. The motto, ‘what grows together, goes together’, means that everyone, from guests to team members, enjoy the finest, freshest, seasonal ingredients, 80% of which comes directly from neighbours in the Overberg.
Creation is no disconnected island. “Our community, from whom we draw and grow our people, is as vital to us as our environment.” Thus Creation is a regular contributor to the Cape Wine Auction to help raise funds for education in the Cape Winelands. The estate is a founder member of the Pebbles Hemel-en-Aarde Education Project and in 2019 Carolyn was designated a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International for this initiative.
At Creation biodiversity is an integral part of their dialogue, across all communication platforms. These range from conversations between wine ambassadors and guests to daily, weekly and monthly communication across comprehensive social media platforms, in webinars, articles, and when hosting their wellness programmes. “We use the collective intelligence of our diverse team to connect with our visitors, building on a fine wine market and fine wine appreciation,” says Carolyn.
“Creation’s fine wine alchemy is a rare combination of art, science, our people, and a sense of place. We love to share this with our guests. No one leaves our tables without some sense of the journey we have undertaken and the part they have played in it,” Carolyn concludes.