Blame it on Bill

Neil Pendock May 19, 2012 7

“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.

Greg Landman, Peter Veldsman and Duimpie Bayly

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.


  1. Wosa Responds May 20, 2012 at 9:04 pm -

    Su Birch, CEO of WOSA apologises unreservedly for the choice of any
    words in her blog that may have given offense and hopes the local wine
    industry can now work in unison to achieve the leadership in ethical
    sustainability that will underscore the leadership South Africa has already attained
    for pioneering eco-sustainability in wine production.

    She does point out that the attack neglects to mention that her blog
    opens with the words: “Today I am really proud to be part of the South
    African wine industry”.

    “For the most part, my words express confidence in the industry and
    belief that it can stand out for its ethical credentials. At the same time, I
    have identified the challenge involved in having all South African
    wine producers comply, given their sheer number.

    “The current focus of the discussion ignores the major advance that
    has been made in achieving a common unity of purpose amongst producers and
    organised labour. Surely that is where the conversation should be
    centred instead of on a single intemperate paragraph written in a moment of frustration?”

  2. Hantus Fourie May 21, 2012 at 8:03 am -

    On the contrary Su, the “single intemperate paragraph” confirms that you have no further role to play in SA wine marketing and should depart the stage forthwith.

  3. Pieter F. May 21, 2012 at 9:45 pm -

    “He walks like he’s kakked in his pants and has a face that can smell it”. We know who passed the comment. Two big clues; the ‘sotto voce’ way it was made (narrows it down) and the perps mugshot in the photo above.

    The question is; Who was he talking about?? Answers on a postcard please, and first correct answer out of the hat wins a bottle of ….ehh… Chateau Libertas?

  4. Jane May 22, 2012 at 5:50 am -

    Pieter, my bet is Jonathan Snashall is your man.

  5. Wonkie May 22, 2012 at 4:35 pm -

    @Pieter F. – Lol

    Neil, I may have to reserve that quote for a tweet at some point. And here I thought that the modelling industry with the likes of Jessica Leandra dos Santos and Tshidi Thamani was a bitchy one. Perhaps they should audition for performances in the wine industry.

  6. Pieter F. May 22, 2012 at 7:29 pm -

    @Jane. Who? Can’t say the name rings a bell….. and I know all the people who count….. but wait! I remember him, he turns up at a lot of wine PR events and the like.

    An interesting suggestion, and he talks a lot of k*k too, could be our man indeed.

    Bottle winging Jane’s way Mr. Pendock?

  7. Neil Pendock May 23, 2012 at 8:38 am -

    Alas dear Jane, I didn’t see your candidate at Thursday’s jol, but perhaps he just left early with Mr. Min.

    Pieter, the member of the snifferati referred to has not been fingered yet (the mind boggles…)

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