Bottles and Throttles. Helicopters and Wine

News of the likely death of Chinese tea billionaire Lam Kok in a helicopter crash in Bordeaux yesterday, the day after he bought an 8th century Fronsac Château, reminds me of my last helicopter flip down to the Southern Cape. Like Lam, I was piloted by the estate owner and was freaked to see him enjoying his produce at lunch with a trip back to Cape Town International on the cards.

lam Bottles and Throttles. Helicopters and Wine

The crash seems to have happened after a celebratory lunch and press conference, so let’s hope the accident had nothing to do with bottles and throttles. Chinese buyers in the SA Winelands at the minute shopping for terroir, it may be a hassle driving through Robot City aka Somerset West and far less glamorous, but as they say in the classics, better to be thirty minutes late than arrive dead on time.

Helicopters were the transportation method of choice deployed by WOSA former CEO Su Birch whose recent retirement was the high point for SA wine this year. A-list UK winos would be whisked around the Winelands at great expense to allow them to play golf and engage in shark cage diving. With WOSA now under the more careful stewardship of Siobhan Thompson, helicopters are likely to disappear into the distance with Su as noisy symbols of an unlucky 13 years of marketing SA wine.