We know this year has been jam-packed with accolades and awards, but lest you should ever believe we take these things for granted, believe me, we don't. The Hartford and Summerhill teams beaver away day-in, day-out, 24/7, 365 days of the year. Guests eat and drink on Christmas day as well as Good Friday, and so do horses, so there's no respite for the wicked. The holidays are upon us, and both the hotel and the stud farm are booked to capacity.
Anyone who thinks that good luck is a consequence of randomness, should think again. Yes, you can't do without a bit of luck, but as Gary Player once famously said, "the harder I practice, the luckier I get". Hot on the heels of their top five placing in the Eat Out National Restaurant awards, Hartford has scooped another "jackpot", to put it in racing parlance. The award winners of the Top 100 SA winelists of 2014 have just been released, and Hartford House was named Number One in the "Relaxed Dining" category, (standing alone in the "Inspirational" (90 plus %) category.
Having slaved away myself for the first fifteen years of this "little giant’s" existence as a hotel in helping to compile their wine list, I know what it takes, and that wasn't without a little help from our old pal and consummate judge Jeremy Walker of Grangehurst; this is a singular honour, recognising the many hours (no, months) of pain-staking effort that goes not only into the selection, but in the narratives that tantalize our guests when the wine menu is put before them.
At Summerhill, we know that it's all about the many hundreds of thousands of hours in the "paddy fields", and the Hartford story is no different. Besides which, of course, you have to have the "palate", as the fundis call it. To those that played a role this year, and to those of our suppliers who took the trouble not only to visit Hartford, but to invest their faith in us, well done.