|With Jean Claude, Carolyn and Dieter of Creation Wines|
However, in South Africa last January, on our way back to Cape Town from a weekend along the Overberg Coast, living a Travelife, we drove up a couple of hills just off the beautiful town of Hermanus, in the Western Cape, to get to the Creation Wines winery.
Creation Wines is a very well-regarded winery in the Western Cape, run by Carolyn and Jean Claude Martin.
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A BIT OF EUROPE IN SOUTH AFRICA
It's in a beautiful location that reminds me of Europe, more than any other winery I've visited in South Africa so far.
The climate is much cooler than in other areas as well.
ONCE UPON A TIME, A SHEEP FARM
In less than ten years, they've turned it into a lovely destination winery with highly-respected wines, especially for pinot noir.
A GREAT HEADSTART
Both of them come from families with ties to winemaking in South Africa.
So you might say that they hit the ground running with their winery, from the very start.
DIVISION OF DUTIES
Carolyn oversees the business and especially the sales and marketing side.
Meanwhile Jean Claude really is hands-on with the production of the wine -- everything from planting the grapes to bottling the wines.
In fact, he could only join us for a bit of that five-hour liquid lunch because he was so busy checking in advance the bottling process.
They were going to start picking the grapes in a few weeks and everything was just about getting hectic, you see.
Plus, when we visited them, they were just about to try their hand at making the Cap Classique wine, which is sparkling wine that is the equivalent of champagne in France.
Only sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France can call itself champagne nowadays, so everyone else needs to think of a new term, even if it really is essentially the same thing.
EVERYTHING'S LOOKING GOOD
It was a weekday at the end of the South African summer when we visited, for instance, and their restaurant/ tasting venue was completely full.
A DESTINATION WINERY
And this isn't a winery in the middle of town, mind you.
It's not a spur-of-the-moment drop-in sort of place as it's about 12 kms from the main road into town.
Rather, it's a nice and scenic drive up the mountains -- which means that most of the people we saw there really drove all the way to be there.
LOOKING FOR PINOT NOIR
Then, there's a matter of their wines being in short supply -- especially for certain vintages of their pinot noir -- because these are selling so well.
Not bad, for a relatively young winery.
FIVE HOURS OF GREAT FOOD & WINE
Creation Wines is also well-known for its food-and-wine pairings.
Our lunch took about five hours because we kept eating, drinking and talking. And every time Carolyn or Jean Claude mentioned a wine from their collection, well, of course we wanted to try these.
I didn't count the glasses of wine I had, but here's a photo I took of the glasses in front of me -- AFTER most of the other glasses had already been taken away. I think I had about 12 glasses of wine that day.
And, boy, was that fun, earning itself the title of most enjoyable lunch for 2014, in 12 months filled with truly enjoyable lunches, on just another afternoon in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife...