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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Patrick Matthews

Next month sees a bitter-sweet anniversary: the Windows on the World Wine School will complete its first year away from its original home, on the 110th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Centre. On 11 September the school's founder, Kevin Zraly, made a personal pilgrimage' to the site of the twin towers. Zraly, who was also the Windows on the World Restaurant's wine director, said: I'll be there from six o'clock and I'll stay by myself till noon.' Of the restaurant's 450 employees, 72 died on 11 September, plus seven construction workers who were building a new wine cellar. Close friends of Zraly were among those killed. Half my life was there.' He could well have been in the building, where he frequently held meetings. Soon after the disaster, Zraly made what he now regards as one of the best decisions' he has ever made - which was to keep the name alive for the wine school and the best-selling wine primer. For the 2003 edition of the Windows on the World Wine Course Zraly has written a history of the restaurant and school; the royalties have already generated tens of thousands of dollars for the Windows of Hope charity for the victims' families. Meanwhile the course, which used to be held in the Windows on the World ballroom, has now moved four miles from Ground Zero to the Marriott Marquee hotel in Times Square. Zraly said: 1,500 people have graduated from my wine classes. A lot of them have come back just to sit in for one session - they wanted to be part of it.'