Juliet Cullinan, the founder of the Juliet Cullinan Standard Bank Wine Festival, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in May, talks about her passion for wine as well as the evolution of the festival that had humble beginnings to what is now among the country’s most prestigious wine events.
The corner stones of my life are peppered with memories of my first Sauternes, Meursault, Lanzerac Pinotage, my first mouthful of black forest cake, even brains on toast. At two years old I held my first empty Magnum of Bollinger and at four years old I arranged a table and party food for my dolls. In short my life has always been about entertaining, promoting and tasting fabulous wines.
It was my father, Neil Cullinan, who first taught me to taste wine and how to
identify the different varietal elements of taste, colour, bouquet and viscosity. But it was my grandfather, Ronald Osborn who from a very young age, took me travelling, whether it was to the shores of Natal or slopes of Switzerland who made a huge impression on me. He told me “that he didn’t care if I failed in life, but he did care if I didn’t try”. If experiences shape one, these two men fired my passion and stoked it to follow my dreams, and never settle for anything less.