Passing of Phyllis Hands


The Institute of Cape Wine Masters is extremely sad to announce the passing of Phyllis Hands – one of three honorary Cape Wine Masters along with Dave Hughes and Colin Frith.

Phyllis Hands had an immense impact on education in the wine industry. Dave Hughes founded the Cape Wine Academy in 1979 and appointed Phyllis Hands as the first principal and she retired in her role in 1995. Phyllis remained a lecturer and consultant and wrote many books whereby she received many awards and honours. She was voted as the Institute of Cape Wine Masters Personality of the Year in 1997.

Phyllis was an industry hero and her work reminds us to keep the passion for wine alive and keep on contributing and adding value to this wonderful industry.

Phyllis was 91 years old and is survived by her children Ken and Linda and her grandchildren.

Here are a few comments from our CWMs on learning of her passing:

“Phyllis positively glowed as a bright light of inspiration for SA wine that lit the spark for a lifelong passion and appreciation for countless wine lovers and professionals of industry. My personal journey would’ve been very different were it not for her and dave. She will always be held very dearly and with admiration and respect at the heart of the CWA and all associated with it. Sending love and sympathies to her family and friends.” – Heidi Duminy CWM

“A tower of strength, a wine lover of note and a passionate educator. We will miss the grande dame of our industry.” – Bennie Howard CWM

“Very sad news. sympathy and loving thoughts to her family. She was a true Grande Dame and left an industry and her many pupils rich and inspired but mostly she taught us how to drink joyously from the cup of knowledge, wine and life.” – Elsie Pells CWM

“Sadly we’ve lost our Grande Dame. She inspired so many and set the standards so high, but above all she showed us the true joy of wine. Thank you Phyllis.” – Irina von Holdt CWM