New Masters for Cape Wine Industry


Maestros - Raymond Nopp+¬, Lizette Tolken, Derek Ramsden and Dave March

An auspicious occasion does by no means have to be a dull-spirited affair. Actually, the event to mark the inauguration of four new Cape Wine Masters held at Morgenstar could well have been mistaken for a legendary Wine Swines party had it not been for the presence of some members of the fairer sex.

But spirit and va-va-voom are to be expected when you shove a collection of Cape Wine Masters, consultants, industry figure-heads and a few hacks together in one room. Throw some extremely palatable Morgenster wines and the cuisine of Craig Cormack into the mix, and it’s worth undertaking the Cape Wine Masters course just for the graduation party.

However, what really spiced up this party for me, were the stories. Each of the four new Cape Wine Masters had a unique and engaging story, with the common threat being a ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ may I say ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+ëabnormal’? ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ passion and enthusiasm for wine. It is a calling.

The four new CWMs are Lizette Tolken, Derek Ramsden, Dave March and Raymond Nopp+¬, all of who were outside the wine industry before setting off on the rigorous road of study which ended by reaching the pinnacle.

Tolken is a spunky legal eagle. March a retired teacher and educational consultant. Ramsden started out doing shop-fitting and cabinetmaking. And Nopp+¬ was hanging around, jobless, waiting for the phone to ring. After landing an unexpected job as a tour-guide 12 years ago, he now has a Cape Wine Master certificate behind his name.

I must say, listening to the four speak about those respective sparks which set off their quest to achieve these daunting qualifications was truly inspiring. No one was forced on this road. No bucket-list to tick-off. No golden carrot dangled before anyone. Just a pure, honest and driven love for wine. That’s it.

As things go, listening to heartfelt speeches and interesting stories about each one’s personal journey, led to a bit of introspection ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ especially after the 2nd bottle of Morgenster kicked in. The rigours of these four individuals’ voyage on the path to Cape Wine Mastership made my own personal little foray into the wine world seem insignificant.

But as little as that may be, I am proud to be associated with an industry delivering individuals like these.

As far as their dissertations go, this year’s four tackled pertinent wine-related topics. The trend to address subjects such as “The Effects of Malo-Acids on the Exterior Cruciate Ligaments of Heterosexual Red Wine Makers” was not present.

Tolken’s dissertation was on Cabernet Franc. Nopp+¬ took a look at the Chinese market, March waxed on investment wine in South Africa while Ramsden put SA brandy in an international context.

(Dissertations can be read here.)

Bottoms up, is all I can say.

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One thought on “New Masters for Cape Wine Industry

  1. Brilliant article – you just made me smile! Your take on the occasion sums up to the tee what the whole day was about. The world of wine should never be a dull affair – if more people had fun whilst learning about it and not feel intimidated by all the spitting and swirling, I’m sure we will have a lot more Cape Wine Masters. I never thought that my journey would inspire others like yourself, so thank you very much – it is an honour!

    Bottoms up!!

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