A hearty slice of paradise
It is often said that the journey teaches you about the destination. In the case of a visit to Creation Wines, it is literally true. Along the rustic Hemel-en-Aarde Road that meanders its way over the slopes and through the valleys of Babylonstoren Mountain, beauty is the overriding impression.
By: Andrew Shapland, The Roving Ambassador
At times the landscape is shrouded in indigenous vegetation; at others vistas of undulating vineyard greet you. On a road less travelled you pass old established farmsteads contrasting with striking contemporary structures and in the distance, if you’re looking in the right direction, a tiny rural church – all in remarkable harmony with this enchanting ‘byway to heaven’!
Hemel-en-Aarde, of course, means ‘Heaven and Earth’ and it is at the top end of the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge that you find Creation, an estate not only famous for its award-winning wines but also for its glorious setting and exceptional tourist attractions. Indeed,
as Creation’s wines find their way to ever-expanding markets around the world, so wine lovers from around the globe flock to Creation.
But let’s start at the beginning. It was in 2002 that Jean-Claude (JC) Martin and his wife Carolyn (née Finlayson) bought a small tract of virgin land in South Africa’s cool-climate Walker Bay Wine Region and set out to establish their vineyards. JC, a Swiss-trained viticulturist and winemaker, comes from a lineage of winemakers who have worked their vineyards on the steep banks of Lake Bienne in Switzerland since 1935. The South African-born Carolyn also has an impressive wine pedigree, dating back to 1947 when her grandparents, Maurice and Eleanor Finlayson, bought the farm Hartenberg in the Stellenbosch Wine Region. While proud of their wine roots, the Martins of Creation are also dedicated to constant innovation. This trendsetting spirit has shaped their vision and led to many an accolade. And this includes the Great Wine Capitals of the World Award for the Most Innovative Wine Estate in South Africa, which they have won three times.
Today, Creation’s vineyards climb the steep hills of Babylonstoren Mountain where they bask in generous sunlight, flourish in clay-rich soils, and dance in the breezes blowing in from the nearby Atlantic Ocean. In fact, there is a fable told about these magical breezes which goes like this: ‘Many a moon and many a tide ago in a beautiful little enclave near the sea, the breezes off the ocean made a pact. Every afternoon at an appointed time, they would chase the clouds high, high up to the peak of a nearby mountain and set them dancing and swirling, churning and whirling in a spectacle too wondrous to describe’.
According to JC it is thanks to this amazing ‘thermal vortex’ – a fanlike cooling effect off the Babylonstoren Mountain − that Creation’s vineyards thrive on the slopes below, slowly ripening their fruit to flavourful, well-balanced perfection.
Creation clearly lives up to its evocative name. Constant innovation has positioned it among the Cape’s trendsetting wineries while a steady flow of prestigious awards has elevated it high up among the star performers. And this includes its proud reputation as a tourist destination. The estate has played a leading role in the field of wine and food pairing for which it has won the KLINK Wine Tourism Award for Best Food and Wine Pairing on a Wine Farm three times. At the moment, Creation’s menu offers no less than eight thrilling pairing options while the team is also experimenting with wine and herb and wine and flower pairing!
Among the other attractions are the amazing flora and fauna, the exquisite fynbos garden, the fine art and informative vineyard and cellar tours, to mention but a few. So, whenever you find yourself in the land of Heaven and Earth, don’t hesitate to aim for Creation where a welcoming Tasting Room with spectacular views combines with the warm hospitality of a team dedicated to sharing a hearty slice of their paradise with you!