Charles Minoprio MW
I went on the Champagne Academy course in June 1962 and stayed, memorably,with Pol Roger. It was true that PR always knew before anyone else of the movements of Sir Winston Churchill, as his beloved Pol Roger would be sent ahead to wherever he was going. When I was at PR, an order for, I think, 2 dozen arrived with instructions for delivery to Aristotle Onassis's yacht in the Med.
I remember the course with great pleasure, particularly the visit to the Lido, but I do remember vividly the effect of the continuous consumption of the somewhat acidic Champagne. Our hosts resisted all our efforts to get some red wine on the table! Having said that, the hospitality was amazing and I have remained 100% loyal to the Grandes Marques ever since.
I was Chairman in 1986 and remember that fortuitously, Pol Roger was the Presidential house. My guest speaker at the annual dinner was Sir Christopher Soames, son in law of Sir Winston and ex ambassador to Paris. We dined in the magnificent Art Deco ballroom of the Park Lane Hotel. He had some fascinating stories to tell of his visit to Russia at the height of the cold war. He was probably Minister of Agriculture in about 1960 and went out to look at the hopeless system of collective farming, which guaranteed starvation for the majority.
I have always during my time with Grants of St. James's and Hatch Mansfield been associated with Grandes Marques and am pleased to say that I have visited Ch. de Saran several times - what a great place is Champagne and its people!