Gary Baumgarten, our Managing Director, was invited by Doug Melton, Xander University Professor at Harvard and his wife, Gail O’Keefe, in their capacity as Co-masters of Eliot House to visit the University. Accompanied by Hugo van Vuuren, a native of South Africa and Co-founder of the Experiment Fund at Harvard and Expert-in-Residence at Harvard’s School of Engineering and applied Sciences, to initiate the annual Eliot House Wine Master Class at Harvard University on 30 April 2014. Elliot House, the oldest of the seven original Harvard Houses on the shores of the Charles River and the only House with its own wine cellar, used the occasion to kick off its new master Class tradition to resuscitate a storied history of viticulture and oenophilia amongst undergraduates and faculty members. Notable alumni of Eliot House include Leonard Bernstein, Benazir Bhutto, Rashida Jones and Jay Rockefeller, to name a few. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook and John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States of America, were not selected to reside in Eliot House and instead completed their undergraduate years next door in Kirkland House and Winthrop House, respectively.
Gary, assisted by his son Ralph, introduced the select audience to South African winemaking history, and in particular the Anthonij Rupert Wyne tradition of innovation and craftsmanship. The inaugural Eliot House Wine Master Class was attended by Threescore Harvard and MIT students, faculty- and entrepreneurial alumni as well as wine enthusiasts based in New York, Boston and San Francisco.
As Eliotites exclaim on formal occasions: Floreat Domus de Eliot! Let flourish the House of Eliot!