Jamie Oliver’s good works extend to wine as well as school food. His Fifteen restaurant wine scholarship is now in its second year and is designed specifically to provide a broad range of skills and experiences for young black South Africans currently working in the South African wine industry. Awarded to a deserving candidate who writes the finest case study, the 2005 scholarship went to Enoch Zaleni who is working with Charles Back at Fairview while this year’s has just been completed by Goliat Booysen, the gifted young trainee winemaker at Cloof Wine Estate who wrote a study entitled My Life in South Africa.
After six weeks in the UK, Goliat, better known as Gollie, has now returned much inspired, with both a Wine & Spirit Education Trust certificate and accolades from a local nightclub, where he set the dance floor alight, under his belt. “Goes to show that you just can't beat African rhythm,” Oscar Foulkes, marketing manager at Cloof, reported to the WSET. “But the WSET certificate will make a whole lot more sense on his CV, so thank you for that!”
During Gollie’s six-week taste of the UK trade in June and July, he was guided through all aspects of wine service by Matt Skinner et al at Fifteen. Independent retailer Philglas & Swiggot taught him about customer relations while at importer Berkmann Wine Cellars Gollie worked in the warehouse and in marketing.
Gollie’s final week brought him to the WSET where he successfully passed the WSET Level 2 Intermediate Certificate in Wines and Spirits. More challenging than it first appeared for the trainee winemaker, the course is reported to have opened Gollie’s eyes to the world of wine, with the added bonus of an internationally recognised qualification. Gollie was also introduced to what he found were the pleasures of Gewürztraminer and Riesling, and was left confounded by the French quality control system, remarking that the level of government intervention appeared, to him, more interfering than supportive.
Summing up his feelings about London, Gollie painted a picture of a relaxed and civilised community, where people are always on time! A rose-tinted view, perhaps, but Gollie apparently left London keen to return in a few years’ time, having found customers and colleagues extremely polite, friendly and, in stark contrast to the British perception of the trade, socially responsible.