The Finest Vintage Blend

Rolling Inspiration visited the Mother City recently to savour the finest red wines with South Africa's top wine blender, Allan Mullins, whose sparkling personality more than matches his fine vintage blends. His home in Kenil worth is clearly his haven, with people mulling around in jovial spirits.

He began the interview by asking ME questions! Clearly a people person! Allan is an extraordinary man with many talents, one of them being his ability to make you feel at ease and in the company of an old friend, a talent he attributes to his years as a teacher and sportsman.

Allan was paralysed at the age of 23 when a drunken diving accident at Llandudno resulted in a broken neck. He has no regrets; he simply adjusted his lifestyle (with much determination and ambition) and, despite the many physical barriers, constantly and consciously seeks out new challenges. Speaking of overcoming obstacles - he proved the doctors wrong by walking again, albeit with some difficulty. Although he says that life has been good to him he continuously hungers for more even returning to university and graduating with a Teachers Degree and then achieving his Masters in Mathematics.

A popular teacher and sportscoach, he founded the wine society at SACS High School before his love for wine put him on the map when he completed his thesis and qualified as a Cape Wine Master in 1986, only the sixth person to hold this qualification. Not shy of hard work, Allan went on to lecture at the Cape Wine Academy and, after several years, joined Woolworths as a Wine Selector.

He loved his career, rising through the ranks and collecting Managing Director's Awards for Outstanding Service, so it was inevitable that he would be promoted to management. This happy bachelor has worked for Woolworths for 21 years where he enjoyed the freedom to develop the department. He applied his passion for wines, setting new trends; broadening Woolworths wine selection and introducing wine labels reflecting the names of the producers. Sales increased and, in consultation with the wine industry, he conjured up skilful blends. His nose and palate preceded him and, in 2007, Allan became a consultant.

Talking of passions, Allan met his wife at a wedding in Franshoek. When he asked her to accompany him to a Champagne function at the Vineyard Hotel she took pity on him, thinking he wouldn't have a date. Little did she know that he had double booked himself! He gave the other lady friend an excuse and the rest, as they, is history!

Allan loves people very much and his stories are filled with family and friends who have joined him on his journey, living life to the fullest. He talks of his terrible trio of travelfriends, with hints of naughtiness and boyish pranks, enjoying the boisterous, fun-side of life.

He was the guest of honour at a recent tribute and benefit evening at Spier Estate, with Woolworths Holdings helping the volunteer committee to create a most memorable dinner. The highlight of the evening was a toast dedicated to a lover of good food, wine and people. An individual who has brought enjoyment, creativity and inspiration to the table of life."Allan's Tribute was the brainchild of his brother, David. Sadly David died of cancer in January before he could see his wonderful gesture coming to fruition.

The evening was stupendous and, says Allan, "is a memory and inspiration that I will treasure forever."