Signing the Book of Condolence for Queen Elizabeth ll in London

I was so happy to sign the Book of Condolence for Queen Elizabeth ll last night at The Ritz Hotel, London. The Ritz set-up a stunning private area for the signing not far from the front entrance.  This was very emotional for me and a great honour to sign it.  I was born in Northern Ireland, my mother, father, aunts, cousins, and other family members are all British monarchists, with a strong love of their long history and tradition.

I am so proud to say that my children and their children will be able to grow up in this world knowing what the Queen has accomplished throughout her 70-year reign, her many legacies, including ushering the monarchy into the 21st century – she was the spirit and the soul of the country.

The Queen was an inspiration to us all for her devoted loyalty and dignity, may all her legacies live on!

#aboutlastnight #queenelizabeth #RIPQueenElizabeth #queenelizabethll #RitzhotelLondon #ritzhotel #theritzlondon #london #londoncalling #royalfamily #bookofcondolence

Delaire Graff Estate, South Africa – Part ll Wine Tasting

History
The estate was founded in 1679 by Simon van der Stel. Simon brought with him a sound knowledge of viticulture. In 1982 John Platter (wine writer) purchased the estate which was then known as Avontuur. Looking at the magnificent view, John decided to rename the wine farm Delaire Estate, meaning “From the Sky”. Laurence Graff, Chairman of Graff Diamonds International acquired the estate in 2003 and vowed to transform it into South Africa’s most desirable art, hospitality and wine destination. In just three years the estate was rated one of the top ten wine producers in South Africa.

The Estate
The estate currently owns 20 hectares of vineyards which are located on the slopes of Botmaskop Mountain. The vines benefit from a north-facing aspect as well as high-altitude and maritime influences. Winemaker Morné Vrey produces excellent red blends dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, with impressive single block Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, a 100% Cabernet Franc rosé, and some supremely elegant vintages.

It is interesting to note that Delaire Graff Estate wines rank among the most prestigious in the Southern Hemisphere, where their cutting-edge 450-ton gravity-fed Estate winery is a celebration of both old and new.

After a lengthy tour of the “Owner’s Villa” we headed to the main building walking through breathtaking landscaped gardens, stunning sculptures, and art.  It’s interesting to note that the gardens have over 350 indigenous plants, exotic plants and flowers.

Once inside I had to ask …. for a brief visit to the Graff Diamonds store as it begs for further investigation. Once inside (no photos allowed) it was certainly the ultimate experience — so many enticing pieces and iconic stones were on display. I felt like I was inside a beautifully designed jewelry box.

After a twenty-minute conversation with the Assistant Manager on Graff Diamond’s history, we headed off to the Delaire Graff Tasting Room.

On route, we came across Laurence Graff’s recent acquisition the original of Vladimir Tretchikoff’s ‘Chinese Girl’, which is currently displayed at the entrance of the winery. This is said to be one of the most recognizable paintings in the world.

Delaire Graff Tasting Room
The Tasting Room offers incredible mountain and vineyard views. The sommeliers were quite knowledgeable on South African wines, and their service was quite intuitive – this is certainly hospitality at its best!

Delaire Graff Estate Wines Tasted

Delaire Graff Estate ‘Sunrise’ Brut MCC 

The Backstory
This wine was named after the magnificent 118.08 carat “Delaire Sunrise Diamond” the largest square emerald cut fancy vivid yellow diamond in the world.

Alcohol: 12.5%
Method: Traditional Method
Dosage: Brut
Blend: 58% Chenin Blanc, 34% Chardonnay & 8% Cabernet Franc

Tasting Notes
Light yellow gold in colour; a stream of fine and persistent bubbles; with green apple and melon dominating the nose; the palate shows finesse and intensity, some citrus flavours [lemon and grapefruit] along with toasty brioche; zesty and fresh – elegantly balanced; lovely long yeasty citrus finish.

The Delaire Graff Sunrise Brut MCC spoils the eye with its radiant, golden colour and unquestionably lives up to its name!
92/100

2022 Delaire Graff Estate Rose Cabernet Franc

The Backstory
This unique Rosé is handpicked and gently pressed to obtain the perfect, subtle salmon pink hue.  This wine is also a Delaire Graff Estate employee favorite.

Alcohol: 13.5%
Varietal: 100% Cabernet Franc

Tasting Notes
Medium-intensity salmon in color; has aromas of strawberry, red plum, dark berries with a hint of candy floss; a creamy and structured palate with layered flavours of fresh strawberry, red berries, cassis, and a seductive spicy finish.
92/100

2021 Delaire Graff Banghoek Reserve Chardonnay (Estate)

Backstory
Winemaker Morné Vrey is committed to meticulous vineyard management.  The grapes are handpicked, whole bunch pressed, fermented, and matured in small French oak barrels for 10 months.

Alcohol: 13.6%
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay

Tasting Notes
The wine is a buttery yellow hue; complex aromas of citrus, peaches, concomitant spice, vanilla and salted butter; The palate repeats the aromas with to a long lingering finish.
94/100

2019 Delaire Graff Estate Banghoek Reserve Merlot

Backstory
These wines come from the oldest vineyards on the Estate.  These wines are a raconteur weaving the tale of the property’s humble beginnings. Expressions of the site’s splendor, with its rich earthiness and bountiful fruit. These Single Vineyard wines are also handpicked and are matured in 80% new French oak for 16 months.  Vinification – extensive sorting of the grapes formed part of the quality management process. The grapes were de-stemmed only, not crushed, to ensure gentle extraction of fruit flavours.

Alcohol: 14.5 %
Varietal: 100% Merlot

Tasting Notes:
Firm and well balanced, this Merlot is characterized by spice, dark plum and dark red berry flavours and aromas whilst silky, ripe tannins with a long and lingering finish; a luxurious elegant wine.
93/100

Conclusion
What an extraordinary experience to sip Delaire Graff terroir-specific award-winning wines with these stunning views of the Winelands and being surrounded by Laurence Graff’s personal art collection.

From Laurence Graff’s own words

“Delaire means ‘from the sky’, and the wines we craft here are an invitation to savour this unique piece of heaven and earth in Stellenbosch.”
Laurence Graff

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Judging for the Canadian Marketing Awards 2022: MarTech

I’m very proud and thrilled to have been selected by the Canadian Marketing Association to participate as a judge for the “CMA Awards 2022 “in the MarTech Discipline! I’m looking forward to evaluating and assessing the campaigns to determine the best in Canadian Marketing!

What is MarTech
Marketing Technology (MarTech) increasingly enables companies to run effective marketing operations at scale. Martech is a powerful business and brand-building tool and organizations that leverage the power of Martech grow faster and improve their revenue. Whether it takes the form of engaging content, mobile, websites, apps, tech-builds, digital messaging, or organization-wide technology stacks. Martech can help reach consumers in the right moment at the right time and with the right message.

Successful campaigns should demonstrate:
Quantifiable results against their brand/ business goals as it relates to the use of MarTech.
Results should be a mix of strategic and tactical, also should include customer acquisition or retention, accelerated brand growth and overall customer experience.
The use of new innovative technology (ex: customer data platforms, segmentation, visualization tools, AI) or use of existing technology platforms, to meet brand/campaign goals.
Use of marketing automation across multiple technology partners/tools to deliver highly successful campaign and how it worked in synergy with other marketing channels.
Activity that is data/analytics triggered and part of an always-on communications strategy.

I wish everyone Good Luck !

#canadianmarketing #CMAgala #marketingleadership #marketingawards #martech #marketingtechnology #judging #awards #marketingstrategist #AI #innovativetechnology #digitalmarketing #canadianmarketingawards

Les Dames d’Escoffier Ontario Celebrates “The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee”

About last night….

Another successful event for Les Dames d’Escoffier Ontario!!  It was a great turnout at our newly designed Wine and Cookbook Library La Bibliothèque d’Escoffier (Ontario) Toronto.

“Hats were on!” for the ladies.

Rory Sinclair, Piper for Earl of Caithness started the event with some lovely Scottish and Irish tunes ending with God Save the Queen!  The Gin Cocktail was one of Queen Elizabeth’s favorited cocktails – “Queen’s Refreshing Lemonade”

Some notable speakers included:  Hans Bathija, Master of the Honourable Company of Freemen of the City of London of North America, Rosemary Sadlier, Chair Royal Commonwealth Society Americas, and been appointed to the Order of Ontario, Professor Leo Chan, President of The Cambridge Food and Wine Society Canada, and Liz Palmer, President of Les Dames d’Escoffier Ontario.

Guests included Les Dames d’Escoffier members, British Canadian Chamber of Trade and Commerce members, as well as previous recipient of one of Les Dames d’Escoffier Ontario student bursaries, and other invited guests.

#queensjubilee #queensjubilee2022 #torontoevent #womeninwine #queensjubileecelebrations #womeninwinebusiness #womenleaders #queensjubileetoronto #queensjubilee #britishintoronto #Lesdames #LesdamesOntario #LDON #lesdamesdescoffier #fundraiser #womeninhospitality #torontolife #nonprofit #englishsparklingwine #britishmonarchy #queenelizabeth #LesDamesON #LDON #Lesdamesdescoffier #womeninhospitality