The WOW factor – Creation Wines

by | Apr 26, 2024 | Articles

As a South African producer, Creation Wines was recently recognised among the best global brands. The cellar’s mission is to transform agriculture’s value, starting with its love for the land and respect for nature. Carolyn Martin from Creation Wines says the award for brand experience is a significant achievement because it recognises its customers’ meaningful relationship with its fine wines and beloved terroir.

Can you share more about the significance of winning the V d’Or Award for Best Brand Experience and what it means for Creation Wines?

Dubbed the ‘Oscars of Wine’, the V d’Or awards recognise the top business initiatives in the wine and spirits industry worldwide. Submissions called for an extensive, 360-degree exploration of the brand. Therefore, this is an important achievement for Creation on various levels, including the innovative and original quality of our brand experience, its personality, and its consistent quality.

From my acceptance speech, I quote, “I would like to thank the president of the Val D’ Or committee, Michael Chapoutier, and the prestigious panel of judges for this magnificent award tonight and what it means to us all at Creation. I want to thank you for acknowledging that everything we do at Creation is not just for our estate and people but also for our South African wine industry. The most prestigious international panel of judges has acknowledged what we all strive to achieve daily, and what fuels our passion for excellence.”

How do you believe Creation Wines stood out among the other nominees in terms of innovative brand experience and consistent quality?

Innovation is our way of life at Creation. Each day brings new experiences for our team and visitors to our farm. Creation is fueled by a pioneering approach that has led to decades of collaborative work with scientists, including nutritionists, neuroscientists, physiotherapists, and psychologists. Alongside these professionals, the Creation team are encouraged to contribute their culinary heritage, introducing our guests to indigenous tastes and aromas.

We believe the innovative and original nature of our brand experience, its personality, and its consistent quality reflect how our wines have been nurtured by our ancient terroir and transformed through the knowledge and commitment of our team. Creation strives to evoke a unique sense of place and find ways of working with nature, not against it.

In terms of consistent quality, I would particularly like to mention our award-winning Chardonnay and Pinot Noir portfolios, the wines of which reflect not only our ideal, cool-climate terroir but also the dedication of our vineyard and cellar teams. In our tasting room, we enhance this experience with natural elements – a shard of granite or a seashell – to create a neurological engagement with our terroir that enriches the senses. In this way, we proudly share the sense of place that is Creation.  The combination results in a wellness experience with guests  feeling positively transformed and revitalised.

The judges were hugely impressed with the sensory and haptic experiences created by Creation. “Everything about Creation Wines is about the human story and emotion. A proper wine experience is about emotion,” said one of the judges.

“It definitely has the WOW effect,” said another one.

What contributes most to Creation’s success in providing guests with a memorable and transformative experience?

Creation’s fine wine alchemy is a rare blend of art, science, our people, and a sense of place. We live by ‘what grows together, goes together’ and create pairing menus that showcase the bounty of our region. Our commitment to sustainability in all we do strongly contributes to our success. No one leaves our table without some sense of our journey together and their role. This is what creates a memorable and transformative experience.

The commitment to sustainability and innovation has been integral to Creation’s journey. How do these principles influence the overall brand experience offered by Creation Wines?

Creation is situated in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, one of the most biodiverse wine regions in the world. We are passionate about preserving our precious natural environment for generations through sound practices that maintain and renew it. This commitment to sustainability is symbiotic and encompasses the Creation team, our community, and our clients.

Sustainability requires innovation, but it is often minding the basics that makes all the difference. Simple examples include providing transport to and from the workplace and offering our team free healthcare and a balanced diet. These become the building blocks of a stable, productive, and stress-free team, enhancing the overall brand experience.

There are many examples of how our commitment to sustainability enriches the brand experience, like our beautiful and environmentally positive indoor biome and terroir wall at the entrance of our tasting room, making our buildings healthier at a microbial level.

Among our latest projects is the development of our ‘Walks-in-Progress’, which involves clearing foreign vegetation for our local fynbos to flourish and creating hiking trails to enhance the visitor’s experience.

Could you provide insight into Creation Wines’ community impact initiatives, such as supporting the Pebbles Hemel-en-Aarde project?

One of the challenges of the South African wine industry is how to enrich the lives of families in our agricultural communities.  At Creation, education and food security are priorities. Creation’s involvement in the Hemel-en-Aarde Pebbles Education Project, of which we are a founder member, dates back to 2017, and the project currently supports 120 children aged 1 to 13 and a skills development centre for 15 to 25-year-olds.

Regarding food security, it is vital to encourage the community’s buy-in. The Creation team initiated the Pebbles Hemel-en-Aarde vegetable garden, which was developed to provide fresh seasonal produce for the Pebbles children, their families, and other community members. The garden project is now supported in collaboration with Haygrove Heaven. The Franklin Ohana Sustainability Garden in the nearby town of Hawston is another inspiring example of Creation support in the start-up phase. Envisioned as an all-inclusive, self-sustaining garden, it offers participating households the chance to grow their food. It also supports the local hospice.

Of critical importance is Creation’s impact on the surrounding community. Not only are Creation teams recruited locally, but they are also given vital technical and soft skills training. The team’s support of the Pebbles Hemel-en-Aarde project, which provides schooling and nutritional meals to children from the local community, is well recorded. Creation now selects graduates from this project to develop what could become a life-changing career, starting in the tasting room or cellar.

Lastly, looking back at the stellar achievements of 2023-2024, including being number one in Africa on the World’s Best Vineyards list, what do you think sets Creation apart in the global wine industry?

Two factors stand out: our remarkably unspoiled environment with no industrialisation and our dedicated and talented team.

It’s how we see ourselves working in this environment, valuing what our vineyard, cellar, and hospitality teams contribute and honouring that at the table when we entertain our guests. It’s the impact of this work on our broader community in terms of education and transformation. And it’s about how we work with scientists and the world of fine wine to secure the future.

This pioneering spirit is expressed in our invitation to ‘Experience Creation’. We aim to bring people together to share our passion for nature and the pursuit of sustainability and innovation. Everything we have achieved comes from the spectacular Hemel-en-Aarde and the incredible team at Creation. As our interconnected community grows, we hope to discover more opportunities that can benefit our team and the fine wine industry locally and internationally.

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