Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Cape Wine Academy celebrates 40 years

We were very happy to be invited to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Cape Wine Academy. You may not know that we met while we were studying at the Academy for our Diplomas in Wine in the mid 1990s. The celebration was held in a marquee on the lawn in front of the Red House restaurant at Nederburg in Paarl on a near perfect Spring day
The restaurant is housed in the Nederburg manor house, an historic Cape Dutch building, built in 1800
Tables laid for a large crowd
Greg de Bruyn CWM and Mary Lou Nash CWM
Each Cape Wine Master had brought along a special wine (or two) to be enjoyed with lunch
This was Mary Lou's offering of her Black Pearl 2004 Oro
We had so many choices to make from wonderful wines, and we managed to taste a few spectacular wines
The wines on the first table. They were all excellent, but our favourites were the Zonnebloems, the Raats Cabernet Francs
and the Vergelegen "V". We certainly enjoyed a glass of the Veuve Clicquot Champagne
The second table also had some very fine wines The 1993 KWV Pinotage showed how well this varietal can age
We loved the Le Riche Cabernet and the Muratie Ronnie Melck Shiraz. 
The aged Lustau East India Solera Sherry was quite magnificent
and many others were also after a taste of the rare Zonnebloem 1983 Cabernet and 1984 Shiraz
Bennie Howard CWM, Phyllis Hands CWM, Shona Anderson, Group Human Resources Manager: Meridian Holdings and Academy Principal Harry Melck CWM. It was lovely to have Phyllis Hands attend as she was the first Principal of the Cape Wine Academy; she taught us in her last year there - our first year on the Diploma course
We sit down to lunch
We got to know dear Allan Mullins CWM when he lectured at the Cape Wine Academy and have been friends ever since
He is a man who can teach one an enormous lesson about wine and Champagne - and life!
Bennie Howard with the book The Grapevine, a complete bound collection of newsletters published in the 1970s and 1980s by the Cape Wine Academy and the Stellenbosch Farmers’ Winery (predecessor of Distell). It was a major resource which was used as a learning tool by the Academy and SFW in the early days
Bennie chatting to Phyllis about her time as Principal. She was a journalist in wine before taking on the job. She said she was so grateful to the talented staff, viticulturists and winemakers who were so helpful to her. She and Dave Hughes wrote the first book on Cape Wine together with a budget of only R500. She said she worked very closely with WSET in the UK to set up the Academy. Sadly, Dave Hughes could not attend as he was in hospital having an operation
and Harry Melck CWM, the current Principal, told us about some of the exciting new changes happening at the Academy
Shona Anderson, Group Human Resources Manager at Meridian Holdings
Their strategy is 'to be Significant, to be Accessible and Inclusive'
They will shortly announce a partnership that will get people excited about wine at the starter level
Duimpie Bayly and Bennie Howard were two of the first three Cape Wine Masters when the programme was started. Duimpie gave a very amusing speech and said "I am the oldest person here today. How to get older? Drink wine every day". He says people put ISA behind his name as well as CWM. What does it mean? "If still alive". He says Bennie might have scored more points doing Cape Wine Master than he did, but he has more degrees than Bennie! Phyllis Hands reassured him that he scored only one or two points below Bennie
Cape Wine Academy Principal Harry Melck, looking appropriately serious
and they presented Phyllis with a huge bouquet
Time for lunch and it was a buffet
Mixed Mediterranean vegetables, and baby potatoes dressed with caramelised onions and rosemary
Lettuce, asparagus, green vegetables and feta cheese
Whole fish dressed with herbs and lemon
Sliced cold beef salad with sun dried tomatoes, rocket and shavings of Parmesan cheese
The buffet table
Rhona Friendship, who managed our course, and Dr Rolene Bauer CWM
Lynne Sherriff MW announced that, in December, she will be donating €2000 to a Trust in memory of her late sister
This award, given "In the spirit of Education", will be administered by the Cape Wine Academy
and presented to worthy recipients
The gang's all here. The Cape Wine Masters attending the celebration
and staff members of the Cape Wine Academy past and present
and cheers to Phyllis; with thanks for coming
All content ©  John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

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