Sophia`s Cornucopia

As a member of the Biodiversity in Wine Initiative (BWI) and accredited by the IPW (Integrated Production of Wine) scheme, Creation’s commitment to the environment and respect for the land which is home to its vineyards are expressed in every bottle. This effort to minimise our impact on the incredible biodiversity of our surrounds extends to the sourcing of quality local ingredients for the wine pairing options offered in the Tasting Room from ethical producers in close proximity. One such supplier is Sophia Farm.

Just 20 minutes away from Creation on the outskirts of the rustic hamlet of Tesselaarsdal, Slav Ivanov is organically growing fresh produce bursting with natural flavour. Born in Bulgaria but raised in South Africa, Slav graduated from the University of Johannesburg with an IT degree. After a year of daily commutes and office drudgery this nature lover heeded the call of the wild.

“I am passionate about nature; I love to be in the bush. I obtained a Level 1 field guide qualification with a view to understanding nature as much as I enjoy it.”

Knowing this his parents offered him a fantastic opportunity by investing their life savings in a beautiful two-hectare property in Tesselaarsdal and three years ago, after he’d taken courses on hydroponic and organic farming, he left his programming job and his girlfriend to establish the farm. Having spent the first year alone on the farm building the farmstead, he married and was joined by Marelize. They now farm the land together.

“Food is one of the gifts of life, and I have especially fond memories of the fresh fruit and vegetables my grandmother grows in her organic garden in Bulgaria. I have always wanted to have that kind of quality here in South Africa – I want to show everyone what a real tomato tastes like.”

After three years of hard work Sophia Farm was cleared of a black wattle forest that has been replaced by pomegranate trees, almond trees, fig trees, lime trees, pecan nut trees and hazelnut trees (these are an experiment). In between the trees are strawberry plants and some root vegetables such as beetroot and radish. The shade cloth greenhouse is home to heirloom tomato plants of which 80% are the pink ox heart variety. There are also sweet red peppers, flat leaf parsley, sour dock and spring onion. Everything is grown from seed sent from Bulgaria by Slav’s grandmother from her organic garden (except the spring onion which is local).

Slav can be found at the Hermanus Farmers Market every Saturday and furthermore supplies local restaurants in Hermanus, Caledon, Stanford and Stellenbosch. One of these is the Creation Tasting Room where chef Warwick Taylor looks forward to deliveries from ‘Sophia’s Cornucopia’ on a daily basis. In line with the Creation philosophy of ‘what grows together goes together’, Warwick is always keen to use home-grown harvests in his cooking: “it is an important factor in reducing our ‘carbon food-print’”.

Spotlight on Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most widely planted and consumed cultivars – both in South Africa and globally – so much so that May 17 has been declared International Sauvignon Blanc Day!

In South Africa Sauvignon Blanc represents just under 10% of the total vineyard area making it the third most planted white cultivar behind Chenin Blanc (at 18%) and Colombard (at just under 12%). However, large quantities of both Chenin Blanc and Colombard are used in brandy and other grape spirit production while Sauvignon Blanc is almost exclusively used for wine production. Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz are the only red cultivars which have larger plantings than Sauvignon Blanc at 11.7% and 10.5% of total vineyard area respectively. (Figures taken from SAWIS statistics for 2013.)
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