Creation Wines pays tribute to four memorable women

Creation’s ‘Leading Lady’, Carolyn Martin, pays tribute to four memorable women whose example and inspiration contributed in various ways to her outlook on life and to the person she has become.

Among my fondest childhood memories are those of my paternal grandparents’ wine farm Hartenberg in the Stellenbosch region, and more specifically of my bright, creative and legendary grandmother, Eleanor Finlayson. We had a fantastic pantry, our own chickens, pigs and cows with a dairy. We grew a wide variety of fruit and veggies and my grandmother and I would cook up a storm. She was and still is my major role model from whom I learnt the basics of wine and food pairing.

In 1975 our family moved to the Blaauwklippen Wine Estate where my energetic mom, Jill Finlayson, played an important role in helping to put the farm on the world wine map. A vivid memory from our time at Blaauwklippen is the endless bacon and egg sandwiches I helped Mom make to keep the army of pickers going into the small hours of the morning during harvest time. In 1985 my folks bought Glen Carlou in the Paarl Valley. When the first harvest arrived there wasn’t the budget yet for a cellar; we had to make do with a garage and a chilled container. But what to do about crushing the grapes? This was where my inventive mother stepped in, suggesting we stomp the grapes with our feet – which we did quite effectively! At Glen Carlou it was also Mom’s self-imposed task to take the young interns under her wing, which is how she met my then future husband, Jean-Claude Martin from Switzerland. But that’s a different story …