Some time in the 1980s, the late Graham Beck, better known for coal mining and horse breeding, announced that he would be dedicating some of his Robertson horse-stud to wine-production.

People who didn’t know Beck muttered silly things about the area (at the time a far from fashionable appellation). When, a few years later, it emerged that the focus of the business would be champagne-method sparkling wine, tongues wagged again. The problem with Robertson, the pundits observed, is that it was warmer than the more fashionable sites in the Coastal Region. Just because you have a horse stud as a convenient point of departure, people said, doesn't mean it will be a suitable home for traditional bubbly.

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