“He walks like he’s kakked in his pants and has a face that can smell it” was the sotto voce comment passed by one of Thursday’s Chateau Libertas celebrants on a particularly preposterous Cape Town winewriting colleague. Confirming SA wine hacks are amongst the most bitchy in the business. Still The Big Easy is the place to drop such bon mots, as it was one-time home to William Charles Winshaw, inventor of Chateau and the first winewriter in SA, according to Duimpie Bayly, who led the discussion on the 1940 vintage in an eight decade vertical tasting.
Even if the “easy” in Big Easy does not refer to the conveniences, which boasts the highest and hardest toilets in SA, as one hackette memorably tweeted at the 80th birthday party on Thursday. Uncannily predicting the lacklustre stock market listing of Facebook the following day. Sometimes social media is soooo overrated.
But the best interventions came from Peter Veldsman, who’s iconic Emily’s Restaurant is leaving the Waterfront for town. Peter was befriended by Bill while a student at Stellenbosch and evoked his ghost when he recalled the old man sitting in a wheelchair under the spreading fig tree in the garden. Another anecdote concerned the glass eye mono-ocular Bill deployed to stop workers in his Stellenbosch Farmers Winery from stealing wine when he was at lunch. Extending to cellar hands the observation a millennium later of Su Birch, the undiplomatic CEO of WOSA, that SA wine farmers are ignorant.