A toast to 2021

I’m fairly certain there are many others out there who heaved a huge sigh of relief to see the back of 2020 as the clocks struck midnight on December 31!

The other thing of which I’m sure is that many corks popped around the same time too. There’s a lot to celebrate, particularly for bubbly producers Simonsig. About a month before Christmas, Johan Malan was awarded the title of Diners Club Winemaker of the Year for his Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel 2015. He owes a debt of gratitude to his father “Oom” Frans Malan who made the first ever South African version of French Champagne in 1971. So this year Simonsig will be celebrating not only Johan’s impressive achievement but also 50 years of making the sparkling style of wine known locally as Methode Cap Classique.

The previous winner in the same category was Graham Beck’s chief bubbly man, Pieter Ferreira. He won Diners Club in 2004 with the Graham Beck blanc de blancs 1999 and 2021 is coincidentally 30 years since their first vintage fizz was bottled. It has quite a track record, having been selected for the inauguration of South Africa’s first democratically elected president in 1994 as well as for that of American president Barack Obama in 2008.

2020 was most definitely a trying year for so many reasons but isn’t it amazing that we as humans generally try to find something positive to look forward to. Hope is a marvellous quality. We should always hope for things to get better and improve. It’s certainly something to strive for – but then I’m reminded of the words of that wonderfully wise soul of the Star Wars universe, Yoda, who said: “No! Try not! Do or do not, there is no try!”

It’s a bit like a joke analogy which was on some or other WhatsApp group I belong to: five frogs sitting on a log. Four decided to jump off into the water. How many frogs are left on the log?

Well, the answer is five because “deciding” to do something and actually doing it are totally different! What I’m trying to say is that if 2020 was a year of reacting to things, perhaps 2021 should be a year of action. Not deciding to take action but physically doing it – whatever “it” may be. Exercising more, giving up smoking, learning a language or making a mid-life career pivot.

So to tie the strands of my scattered wits together: I’m hopeful for 2021. It lies ahead of us all, a blank slate with our exploits and achievements yet to be written on it. But hope needs to be backed by actions. What actions are you going to take in the next 12 months to improve your life or that of your loved ones?