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The tangentleman

Published:  23 July, 2008

It's always tempting to look at people's lives and think, what if? In the case of Joseph Berkmann, what if he had completed his schooling, gone to university, and become - what? The sort of Mercedes-driving Austrian plutocrat who roars up behind you on the motorway, headlights flashing? Probably not; but it's impossible to guess, because the event that changed the course of his life also changed Austria and the world: it was
the Anschluss.

Joseph Berkmann

Born: 1931. A good year for port, but not good in most other ways.'

Education: Left school at 13-and-a-half years-old.

Also drinks: Rum, preferably from Costa Rica or Guatemala.

Interests outside wine: Reading (I have an enormous collection of books'), skiing (skiied for Austria for three years), windsurfing, gardening, collecting contemporary art.

Bored by: People rambling on - I like conciseness. Bad music, bad writing - I'm very sensitive to written English. I have quite a short fuse but I'm not explosive.'