The ratio of 1,000 Riedels per student is only just enough for the stage two seminar at Odney. They are delivered en masse at the beginning of the week, lined up against one side of a corridor, each tray being emptied then refilled with used glasses as the seminar progresses, like some kind of bizarre abacus of progress. This system ran like clockwork, as did the rest of the week, thanks in large part to the help of Angus ‘Odney Dangerfield’ Brook and Patrick ‘Odney Trotter’ O’Reilly as well as the team of 14 MWs who attended.
Seminars ranged from a technical masterclass on Chardonnay winemaking to a lecture on the importance of communication to a series of miniature debates in which the winning teams won a bottle of leftover Mateus rosé, while the runners-up won two bottles. Some rather more impressive prizes were on offer too – and indeed the whole week provided an important opportunity to experience wines whose rarity and/or cost can be prohibitive, including Cockburns 1983, Promontory 2009, Lynch Bages 2009, Suduiraut 2010 and the aforementioned Mateus among many others.