Lessons from 


Contrary to what people might believe, the pace of innovation is actually slowing. Time will tell if new developments or technologies will stand the test and whether earthlings will go on to colonise Mars or some other proto-earth planet.

The internet relies on algorithms to analyse patterns of usage in order to tailor-make an offering best suited to your individual needs and interests. I would love to sneak a peek at what the data says about my habits – simply because I am renowned for disappearing down worldwide web rabbit holes!

My interests range from the standard cute puppy and kitten videos to following a fascinating Twitter account which goes by the name of the World’s Smallest Sheepdog to international news sites, a variety of sports, food and liquor generally and then some left-field things that I stumble over.

But I also use the internet extensively when researching stories for CHEERS, so any given week sees me deep-diving into cocktails and the history behind them, a specific liquor type like brandy, sherry, rum or beer. That in turn leads to unexpected discoveries of interesting stories or people – and I duly follow those breadcrumbs like Hansel and Gretel did, losing hours in the process but being charmingly entertained!

This issue saw me starting out with one idea of how the story on Heineken was going to be written, only for the information to take me on a tangential path and find out more about the man behind the beer which is so popular nowadays.

It was somewhat startling to reflect that it’s been “only” 158 years since it all began. And in one of those weird synchronicities that life throws up (without an algorithm – unless of course, we’re all part of a Matrix but that’s another weird little rabbit hole I don’t want to explore!) I attended a wine event which gave me pause for thought. Giorgio Dalla Cia, the retired former cellarmaster of Meerlust, spoke about his experience with merlot in the South African context. Meerlust was one of the first ever merlots commercially introduced in the country – and it was only 40 years ago! Similarly, chardonnay has only been around for the same sort of time. It is remarkable that South Africa has gone virtually from zero to being acknowledged as capable of producing some world-beating wines in this category.

What else is South Africa just beginning to explore, that future generations will look back upon in another 40 or 50 years and shake their heads in astonishment at, I wonder?