Creation Celebrates All The Papas

Oh, my papa, to me he was so wonderful

Oh, my papa, to me he was so good …

With Father’s Day coming up on Sunday 20 June, this classic song written by Swiss composer Paul Burkhard in 1939, comes to mind. Both JC and I have been blessed with amazing fathers. Having made their marks in the winelands of their respective countries, they are still an inspiration for many of our achievements.

Let’s start with JC’s dad, Hansruedi Martin, who grew up in the village of Ligerz on the banks of Lake Bienne in Switzerland. The family’s vineyards were planted on the steep banks of the lake, with the family home above the wine cellar. Hansruedi is one of four children. Although his brother Alfred inherited the winery, Hansruedi was ever-present: helping with the pruning and heading up the harvest team. His deep connection with the local winemaking community is also evident in him giving his time and knowledge freely to help maintain the vineyards attached to the church.

Here’s what JC has to say: “What Dad taught me all those years ago remains indelibly imprinted, and that’s not only the viticultural aspects of making good wine. Fishing in the lake and foraging for herbs in the vineyards and forests are among my dad’s favourite pastimes and I believe that nurtured my love for the outdoors. And then the joy of having the freshest seasonal ingredients paired with particular wines has impacted our approach to pairing wine and food at Creation, and to a large extent, I have Dad to thank for that.”

Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are secretly his two favourite children” – Glenn and Emma Martin about their father, JC..

And now for a tribute to my dad. Not so many people know this, but I was born in a red Ford Anglia at the gate of my parental grandparents’ wine estate. My father, the South African wine pioneer Walter Finlayson, was the ‘midwife’! Small wonder I have wine in my genes.

One of Dad’s most endearing qualities is his compassionate and gentle nature – always being so patient with my impatience to learn everything there was to know. I loved hanging around him, listening to all the conversations about wine. The wine farms where I grew up were my playgrounds, and Dad always had time for me, no matter how busy he was.

He soon realised that I had an excellent nose and from early on included me in tasting his blends to see what a genuinely untainted palate preferred. Waiting for my honest review, he would never tell me upfront what he regarded as best, but what a pleasure that we almost always agreed! Then there were those adventurous rides in the bakkie with my dad. Tasting grapes in the vineyards was of course a serious matter for him, and sometimes he became so distracted looking at the vineyards that I had to make sure we remained safely on the road!

Although quiet by nature, Dad has always enjoyed people and good company. I believe this is where my passion for socialising with great wine and fine food developed. And there’s so much more … Dad was even instrumental in me meeting my husband. But that’s a story for another day.

When JC and I bought Creation in 2002 a whole new wine journey began. Yet all along we could (and can) rely on the sound advice of Walter, my dad. He was twice international Winemaker of the Year and received numerous awards in his winemaking career. But to me, what distinguishes him most is his gentle, determined nature, his consideration, kindness and support.