I’ve never figured how to deposit cheques into those FNB ATMs. So when I was handed a couple by Orange River Cellars for screening last month and then judging wines for the Tops at Spar Orange River Winemaker of the Year Award, I was nonplussed. At the Awards dinner on Saturday night I was moved to tears by the presentation of ORC CEO Herman Cruywagen on MISPA, a home for the forgotten children of Keimoes. With no support from the state or province whose Premier spent R53,000 on Nando’s chicken in 10 weeks, Deon and Hester Niewoudt look after the most vulnerable victims of alcohol abuse – abandoned children. So it was an easy thing to hand the cheques back and ask they be sent to MISPA.
What moved me to tears a second time was when fellow judge Fiona McDonald saw what I had done and did the same. It quickly became a charity chain reaction. When Spar liquor executive Mark Robinson noticed what had happened, he immediately increased his MIPSA sponsorship from R50K to R68K and set up an account with the SPAR store in Keimoes where MIPSA will be able to get free groceries to the tune of R1500 per month, “hopefully helping feed those dear little souls with a bit more than they might be used to” as Mark commented.
At a conseil meeting of the Commanderie de Bordeaux on La Motte yesterday, we were discussing who to co-opt after the resignation of Caroline Rillema due to pressures of work. Fiona’s name came up and I mentioned her charity. No good deed goes unpunished and I was asked to ask her to serve on the conseil.
We chatted some more about charity beginning at home. Rianco van Rooyen, a member of the Commanderie, is ORC winemaker at Keimoes and won every award in sight on Saturday night. So Commandeur Hein Koegelenberg suggested a charity auction for Mispa next year. Maitre Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg was keen to support the victims of alcohol abuse and the motion was passed unanimously.
Not that there was every any doubt that Commandeur Danie de Wet would not support it. For the Big Man of wine tasting refused to be paid for chairing the Checkers Battle of die Berge taste-off last month between the Simonsberg and Helderberg and we had to go, behind his back, to his auditor to find out details of his favourite charity to make a donation.
Does any wine industry in the world have more generous players than SA?