The two fisted pioneer of SA wine, Graham Beck, passed away in London last night. He was 80 years old. His wife of fifty years, Rhona, was at his bedside. SA wine has lost a rude and crude (in the nicest way) visionary who put Robertson on the viticultural map and was the Dom Pérignon of SA sparkling wine, following a relentless quality vision for Méthode Cap Classique. When he bought Steenberg five years ago, Graham fired a shot across the bows of opportunistic property developers and wide boys who were starting to erode the Constantia Valley, the cradle of Southern African winemaking.
The endangered doekvoet dassie will miss Graham as will the inhabitants of the entire Robertson/Swellendam region. A R20 million rand skills centre was recently opened on the road to Worcester. It is a valuable educational resource for the whole region and one small part of a rich legacy Graham bequeathed to his beloved South Africa.