SA wine producer Graham Beck dies
Pioneering South African wine producer and social philanthropist Graham Beck, owner of Graham Beck Wines, passed in the early hours of Tuesday morning, July 27, at the age of 80 in London after a battle with lung cancer.
Known by friends and those in the industry for his bold and insightful approach to life, Beck’s involvement with South African wine began with his purchase of the Madeba farm in Robertson, a property he developed into a world-class producer of méthode cap classique. Neil Pendock, wine writer for the Times, wrote, “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”
Later acquisitions of well-positioned properties in Franschhoek and Stellenbosch saw Graham Beck Wines grow to become a leading wine purveyor, reflecting Beck’s dream to produce to the “highest possible standards”.
In 2009 Beck, with his wife of 50 years Rhona, opened the Graham and Rhona Beck Skills Centre near Madeba in Robertson. Part of an extensive social development programme, the centre aims to facilitate skills development for the long-term upliftment of the farming community in the Breede River Valley.
Described in a prominent wine magazine as “mortal, but not mere, neither in size nor inspiration”, Beck saw his greatest achievement in life as his ability to “give employment to thousands of people, and that this has enabled them to better their lives”.
Beck passed away with wife Rhona by his side.
Graham Beck Wines will continue to operate as it always has, in respect of the final wishes of its leader.