Guala Closures gives back to the community

Guala Closures SA has committed to a three year sponsorship of R10 000 per year to cover tuition, accommodation and travel costs for a sommelier from a previously disadvantaged background to attend the Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy.

Cashias Gumbo, sommelier at The Saxon and previously at the Liza McGrath Collection, is the first candidate to benefit from this Guala Closures sponsorship.

“We are pleased to be involved in the education of wine and wine related subjects,” said Guala MD Giuseppe Carosini. “This sponsorship is Guala Closures’ way of giving back to an industry we also serve. We are committed to a better wine industry and by sponsoring one sommelier per year, we are changing the industry and lives for the better and to the benefit of all.”

The Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy was established in 2007 and runs in conjunction with the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town (at which Michael Fridjhon is a visiting professor).

It is an intense three day programme which is held once a year, and has been designed to assist people in the wine profession to judge and assess wine quickly and correctly. The programme covers a broad spectrum of subjects, from understanding and discerning faults to assessing age-worthiness and long term quality potential with the focus on tasting, discussion and judgement. Over the three days of the course the students sample approximately 250 wines from around the world. After completion of this course, the UCT Graduate School of Business issues certificates to graduates completing the written/tasting test. A distinction is awarded for results above 75%, fail is below 60%.

For some time the new local judges at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show (OMTWS) have been the top graduates from this programme. Veritas, via its chairman Charles Hopkins who lectures on the course, also selects some of its new panellists from among the course graduates.

Michael Fridjhon directs the course, assisted by Michael Crossley, with guest speakers on certain subjects. These include well-known industry leaders such as Gary Jordan, Pieter Ferreira, Charles Hopkins and Christian Eedes.

“Guala Closures’ commitment to sponsoring a student each year for the next three years is a clear investment in the future of the South African wine industry and a sign that a key supplier of quality closures is not just taking revenue from the country, but also putting something back,” said Michael Fridjhon.

“The course offers something unique and of value to any person working in the wine industry that wants and needs to learn more.”