Mining Bosses in R22 000 Booze Wager

A bottle of wine can do many things. I can bring you great pleasure, lose you your driving licence, but rarely will it cost you R22 000. However, when two mining Marks decided to have a wager about the opening date of a new mine in the DRC, a staggering R22 000 ended up as the cost of a special bottle of wine – produced on order from a lesser-known outfit called Windfall. The Business Day story said that the bottle was the prize in a wager between Anglo’s Mark Cutifani and Randgold Resources’ Mark Bristow. Both gentlemen are fabulously wealthy and on one level, good luck to them. However, as business leaders, in an industry with obscene inequality and troubled labour relations, the news of the wager can only have been damaging. But what do our experts think?

Mario Pretorius from Telemasters:
Let’s celebrate business success in every way possible. A bottle of special wine, a happy winemaker and a troupe of investors and DRC employees who should join the celebrations- all good portents of a plan that came together. Well done Mark.

Wine Writer Neil Pendock:
I hope the wine is a Windfall Cabernet 2009, as when I tasted a few hundred SA cabs blind last year (unlike the Platter wine guide, I assess wines without seeing the label) it was in my top 10.

Branding expert Jeremy Sampson:
Nothing is private anymore. Things said in jest, on the spur of the moment, off the record, in assumed privacy, all have the potential to be publicised. And we have all said things we would rephrase, given the chance. Over the years wagers have been made, bets placed, that’s life – specially among the wealthy. Since making the bet, Mr Cuttifani has moved onto Anglo American, which just happens to own the wine estate and national showpiece Verglegen. I’m sure they could stump up something for R22k. So rather than pay cash, perhaps a little barter with Windfall?

Award-Winning Food And Wine Guru and Chef Michael Olivier:
There is no bottle of wine produced in South Africa which is worth R22,000, especially if it is made by a relatively unknown winery. I think Mr Bristow is showing off – he could have bought wine from Le Riche, Meerlust, Jordan and any other top-notch South African Winery by the case-load for that price. Mr Cutifani should send the wine back!

Frans Cronje from the SAIRR:
In practice, nothing wrong with this. It is a bet between two private parties. In reality it is a political liability for the industry – that is under siege by its critics.

Tsogo Sun Sommelier Miguel Chan:
It does not cost R22K to make a bottle of wine!!! And not from Robertson fruit anyway!!! It’s outrageously overpriced. Well, I guess the mining sector does not mind paying these prices – they could have got a first growth Bordeaux for that price!!

Conclusion:
Conspicuous consumption at this level is not wise. If you are going to make a bet of this kind, keep it under wraps – or lower the stake. Marie Antoinette showed similar insensitivity and lost her head for it….

Tweets of the Day:
Rodney Trotter (@RodneyTIT): My Mrs has run off with the milkman. Seeing them drive away on his milk float was the worst two hours of my life.
C’est la vie (@Robert_Beau): I just released a new fragrance, and the people on this elevator are not happy about it.
Solo Walking Man (@SoloWalkingMan): Marriage is a relationship where one person is always right and the other one is the husband.
Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow): What did the bartender say to Charles Dickens? Olive or twist? #ClassicJokeWednesday

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