The sudden death of Ronnie Morris on the weekend just made a big hole – wine business reporting in SA – a lot bigger. How ironic his departure was announced the day that yet another competition – the Financial Mail’s Wine Business Awards – were unveiled. For this was Ronnie’s beat, the loneliest one in the SA wine industry. And while the WBA were reportedly conceived over a bottle of ’82 Château Mouton, Ronnie was nowhere near as ostentatious.
We got to know each other in that most intimate of situations: the cabin of a tiny Cessna battling a roaring South Easter back from the launch of Westcorp International, that winemaking behemoth on the Olifants River. Every time I saw Ronnie after that memorable trip, I’d tease him about his Spoonerism – referring to Westcorp as Southcorp, the Aussie wine giant.
But Ronnie was that kind of guy – a lovely sense of humour and no anorak in his closet. SA wine will miss his cool, dispassionate voice and I’ll miss him too.