Occasionally I get asked why I don’t get involved with the Cape Wine Masters, or offer myself more proudly as one of them. I qualified many years ago, in fact, and tried hard for a few years to get involved, and maybe even persuade the Institute of Cape Wine Masters to actually do something, and help rescue the holders of the diploma (or whatever it is) from being just an ineffectual bunch of keen individuals.
I finally gave up the struggle when the Institute decided not to run itself but to hand itself over to the now profit-making Cape Wine Academy. I resigned from the Institute at that point – but in fact am still awaiting an acknowledgement of my letter of resignation (don’t even begin to imagine that anyone there tried to persuade me to stay – I’m guessing less for reasons of dislike of me than because no-one really cares, in fact).
According to the CWM page on the Academy website, “The Institute runs tastings and other wine events, provides membership services to the members of the ICWMs world-wide, and information and access to specialist advice for the wine industry in general.” I hope it does – but has anyone out there noticed any signs of this? Because I haven’t.
I’m prompted to this little diatribe as I’ve just received the press release about the latest group of CWMs (and sincere congratulations to them; I have only collegial respect for the CWMs – it’s the organisation for which I have contempt).
Well, the press release promises that I could find the latest bunch of dissertations (part of the requirement for the CWM) on the website. So, as some of them looked, from the titles, to be possibly interesting, I trotted over to the website to have a read.
Somewhat naively, as it turns out. I should have realised the degree of dynamism with which this body manages its website. In fact, the latest dissertations on offer date from 2012. Not even last year’s bunch, but those from the year before. The photograph is of “Cape Wine Masters 2010”. The item given under “Latest news” is about the CWM Annual General Meeting of … 2011.
This is what’s they mean, I guess, by “an active group”.
Good luck to the newcomers. I’m sure they’ve learnt a lot of useful stuff (as I did in my time) on the way here. But if they’re expecting to find something larger than a bunch of (often rather too self-satisfied) individuals in the Institute, I reckon they’ll be as disappointed as I was a decade back. As a body, the Institute of Cape Wine Masters is, unfortunately, still of supreme irrelevance to the Cape wine industry.