I was invited to join the Academy in 1981. At that time I was selling large quantities of Champagne to the Night Clubs of London.
The Academy course was remarkable for several reasons. Firstly, the quality of the lessons we were given each morning were first class, and gave one a true understanding of the work that went into the production of Champagne. Secondly, the visits in the afternoon to trades associated with its production were also most informative and thirdly the amount of Champagne that was consumed by all on the course was quite amazing!
One evening, before we had dinner with one of our hosts, we were wandering along the back streets of Rheims and discovered a shop which sold a Salmanazar which turned out to be an indoor firework.
This immediately threw ideas into my head, and it was quickly purchased and smuggled into our final exam. At an appropriate moment, it was let off and the room was filled with an array of Champagne paraphernalia. Needless to say, I did not gain the accolade of Academician of the year!
On our return through Paris, it was then the obligatory night at the Lido, where we were asked if we would join in the magic show
The time on the Course was a wonderful source of knowledge, combined with fun and entertainment. Long may it continue.