Inaugural academy a great success

LEADING stakeholders in Fiji’s hospitality industry created history by being the first batch of people to participate in the Wolf Blass Wine Academy conducted by Australia’s iconic wine brand — Wolf Blass.

The inaugural academy for the Fiji market was co-hosted by Motibhai Group in partnership with Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) Australia at the Westin Resort in Denarau on Thursday, November 16.

The half-day academy which was conducted by Wolf Blass winemaker Stuart Rusted at the Westin Resort ballroom in Denarau, Nadi, provided participants with an in-depth look into the famed wine brand which made its first international export to Fiji in the 1970s.

Motibhai Group executive director Bhupendra Patel said Wolf Blass held a special and unique relationship with Fiji and the company.

“Our company has been in the wine business since 1965,” Mr Patel said.

“We were one of the first local companies to import and distribute wines. Our first wine agency was Seppelt which is now under the Treasury Wine Estates stable of world-renowned wine brands. We became agents for Wolf Blass in the late 1970s and it was a private company back then.

“The founder of this iconic brand — Mr Wolfgang Franz Otto Blass who is now 83-years-old and lives in Australia himself came and visited Fiji and I remember we hosted him to dinner in this very room in 1986.

“This is a world-class brand and we are very proud to be associated with this longstanding Australian brand.”

Treasury Wine Estates Australia winemaker Stuart Rusted said globally, Wolf Blass was one of Australia’s most popular brands.

“We have a very unique relationship with Fiji,” he said.

“For its founder, Wolf Blass he has a sense of joy for living and he always loved coming to Fiji because of the environment and the great warmth he always received from the people.

“So it was a great fit for him to have Fiji as its first international export.”

A total of 53 wine sommeliers, waiters and frontline staff including food and beverage managers from respective operators were part of the event.

The workshop ended with a quiz in which Richard Ting of Nadi’s leading high-end Chinese restaurant — Pan World was declared winner and has been awarded a trip to Singapore to attend the WSET Level 2 certification course fully funded by Motibhai Group and Treasury Wines.

Mr Ting broke all world records of the academy by scoring 18 out of 20 marks.

“So far we have had results as high as 17 and this is a world record,” TWE winemaker and academy instructor Stuart Rusted said.

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