Midlands woman taking the world of wine by storm

2015-01-31 00:00

LAURIE Smorthwaite, who has turned her love for wine into her life goal, is on the way to becoming one of the world’s finest wine connoisseurs.

Smorthwaite (24) has just returned home to the Midlands from London ­after being placed as one of the top winemaking candidates in the world, receiving an internationally acclaimed scholarship to study in Spain.

After completing her studies at the Durham University in London where she studied combined art, she worked in the corporate world while taking evening classes at the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET).

Out of 750 international students, she was awarded one of only two ­prestigious positions for the Codorniu Raventos Wineries Scholarship.

The award was for her excellence in the sparkling wine section of the ­Diploma and she is set to leave for Spain in October, where she will be applying her skills at three different wineries across the country.

Smorthwaite said her course in London normally has a two-year duration; but she knocked it out in just one.

Smorthwaite has completed five of the six units in her diploma thus far.

The focus of her diploma is on ­international wines and covers the basics of winemaking and tasting (which of course was her favourite module).

Her sixth and final module, which she hopes to complete by June, encompasses a Champagne section that focuses on tastings of sparkling wines from all around the world.

“The next step for me is to complete my Master of Wines qualification,” she said.

In addition to this, Smorthwaite has established the KZN School of Wine in January at her family’s vineyard, Abingdon Wine Estate in Lions River.

Smorthwaite has also joined her ­parents, Ian and Jane, as the assistant wine maker on their vineyard, which has been in operation since 2004.

Smorthwaite said if she had to drink a wine every day it would be a sparkling one because “she loves the bubbles” but her favourite wine is a Barolo, an Italian red wine.

“It’s described as the King of Wines and the Wine of Kings,” she laughed.

“Going into wine was never ­something I thought I would do,” Smorthwaite said.

“Now I hope to do this for the rest of my life.”

• amil.umraw@witness.co.za

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