SA wine industry mourns the death of Duimpie Bayly. Picture: Twitter (Nedeberg Wines)
SA wine industry mourns the death of Duimpie Bayly. Picture: Twitter (Nedeberg Wines)

SA wine industry mourns the death of Duimpie Bayly

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Aug 12, 2021

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The local wine industry is mourning the passing of Francis ‘Duimpie’ Bayly, one of South Africa’s greatest wine authorities, who died at his Stellenbosch home on Wednesday after suffering a heart attack.

He was one of South Africa’s first Masters of Wine, having dedicated over 60 years of his life to the wine industry.

Bayley, 81, was a family man and a small-scale cattle rancher in Stellenbosch’s Vlottenburg suburb, where he had lived since the ’70s.

Friends along with industry colleagues paid tribute to him after the news of his passing broke.

Bayly, who had studied at Stellenbosch University, the University of California (Davis), and Harvard University, was a member of the oenology and viticultural societies in the US and Australia.

He played a key role in raising the reputation of the local wine industry in global markets, and directly involved in some of the sector’s most important technical and eco-advances, said Distell MD, Richard Rushton.

“He was held in extremely high regard both locally and internationally and was a mentor to many within South Africa’s wine and brandy industries. We shall miss him as much for his erudition, critical thinking, humour, and modesty as his enormous contribution to wine and brandy standards and sustainability in this country.

“ It is difficult to measure the enormity of his influence on the technical and sensorial quality, and the generosity with which he shared his knowledge and understanding,” said Rushton.

Distell Board Chairperson Jannie Durand also said that Bayly’s death was a great loss to the wine industry.

“On behalf of Distell and the Remgro Group, we want to honour Duimpie Bayly. We will cherish his association with the wider Remgro Group with fond memories. We want to thank Duimpie for his loyalty, commitment, and friendship through the years. May he rest in peace.”

Taking to Twitter, Nederburg Wines wrote: “We mourn the passing of Francis (“Duimpie”) Bayly, one of SA’s most distinguished wine personalities. We shall miss him as much for his erudition, critical thinking, humour, and modesty as his enormous contribution to wine standards and sustainability in this country.”

Master blender and founder distiller Andy Watts said Duimpie was a friend and mentor who played a major role in his career.

“Sad news that South African wine icon & legend Duimpie Bayly passed away at his home in Stellenbosch today! A friend & mentor Duimpie played a major role in my career being supportive till the end! Always a smile, a joke & loved by all! Rus sag Duimpie!” wrote Watts.

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