Future event for the club in late 2020 and into 2021 is packed with a range of presenters and no less than three food and wine events .
November 18th – – Our 40th Anniversary dinner at Bellamy’s (run by Logan Brown) at the Beehive
The first Club meeting was held in the month of November. To recognise that historic milestone, a celebratory dinner has been arranged, to be held at Bellamy’s by Logan Brown at their restaurant in the Beehive. This is set down for Wednesday 18 November, so check your diaries for availability.
Details will be sent out shortly, asking for your registration and to make your selection from the accompanying menu. As for any such venue, there will be a limit on numbers which means you should register quickly to secure your place.
The food promises to be of very high quality. So, book your place and go dig around in your wine stocks to find the special bottle (or two) that you think will go best with your selection to bring with you.
Your Committee is excited about this event and is sure you will be too.
December 9th –A Fun evening with CoLab, Simon Bell
January: BBQ at Derek’s
February: Coney’s for the 13th February 2021 – our postponed 40thanniversary outing to the Wairarapa [to include visits to Palliser and Grave/Alana]
Picking wines that complement all of the tangy, salty, and sweet flavours of our favourite grilled foods can be a challenge. So many different types of palates to please! But before you throw in the towel and settle for a case of Bud Light and a few bottles of pinot grigio, we’re here to eliminate all of that intimidation. Seriously, you’ll be pairing burgers with Beaujolais like a sommelier just in time for the Fourth.
To get the scoop on the best way to bring your barbecue fare to life with wine, we consulted the experts at Vivino, the world’s largest online wine marketplace. Their vino pros helped us round up these recommendations for the top varietals for every type of grill fare. Whether you’re cooking pulled pork or tofu, we have something here that’ll sizzle harmoniously.
Hamburgers + Beaujolais
Burgers are summer grilling staples, so it’s only fitting that they pair with the number one summer barbecue wine: Beaujolais. Light, fresh, and fun, Beaujolais is extremely food-friendly. Expect peppy red cherry and strawberry flavors with a touch of earthy undertones.
Hot Dogs + Rosé
The toppings make the hot dog, so the key is to find a wine versatile enough to pair with anything you can eat on a dog. It’s hard to go wrong with a dry rosé, but look for one with some character to it: minerality, acidity, or unique, savoury flavours.
Grilled Corn + Chardonnay
Sweet, salty, buttery grilled corn needs a wine that will accent—but not overwhelm—its flavours, which is why Chardonnay aged in steel or old oak is a natural match. Most unoaked Chardonnays still go through malolactic fermentation, which creates a creamy, buttery texture without oaky flavours of vanilla and baking spice (that would overwhelm the corn).
Grilled Seafood + Sicilian White
Embrace the essence of grilled seafood with a salty, zesty Sicilian white. Sicilian white wines, particularly those grown on the slopes of Mount Etna, have distinct volcanic minerality, lemon acidity, and a touch of salinity, which makes for an ocean-reminiscent flavour.
Grilled Tofu + Champagne
Vegetarians need barbecue options too, and creatively prepared tofu can be an excellent substitute for otherwise meat-heavy festivities. The bubbles in Champagne provide a nice contrast to the texture of tofu, while tart citrus flavours and focused acidity make it perfect for pairing with almost any flavour profile.
Pork Chops + Pinot Noir
Pork chops pair well with both red and white wine, but with a dry rub on the grill, red wine has the edge. Medium-bodied Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley in Oregon has a little bit of everything that pork chops call for, flavour-wise, melding lush New World cherry cola-esque fruit with Old World earthiness.
North Carolina-Style Pulled Pork + Riesling
For a wine to stand up to North Carolina-style pulled pork’s vinegar-based sauce, two things are crucial: sugar and acid. Off-dry Riesling is the answer, with mouthwatering acidity and just a touch of residual sugar to keep the wine from seeming too austere.
Memphis-Style Pulled Pork + Zinfandel
Slightly sweeter than the North Carolina-style, smoky, spiced Memphis-style pulled pork calls for a wine with juicy, round fruit, like a classic California Zinfandel. While Zinfandel can be overly jammy and high-alcohol, the best examples balance body with acidity, allowing fresh red and blackberry fruit to burst onto the palate and complement the pork.
Ribs + Syrah
For a knock-out baby back rib pairing, embrace the flavours that make ribs so good with a wine that carries them. Full of smoke, meat, and black peppery goodness, Syrah from the northern Rhône is right on the money—as if someone took the smoked ribs themselves and put them into the wine.
Steak + Cabernet Sauvignon
Matching steak and Napa Cab is a no-brainer, but to take the pairing to a new level, look up the mountain. Vineyards situated within the mountain ranges that form the Napa Valley—such as Spring Mountain District or Chiles Valley—have the added benefit of elevation, creating a more restrained and elegant style of wine.
As ever we start our year with the BBQ at the usual place on 26 January.
We’ll send more information to members in mid-January. As always we give special thanks to Derek Thompson for making his excellent facilities available.
Quote – My first outdoor cooking memories are full of erratic British summers, Dad swearing at a barbecue that he couldn’t put together, and eventually eating charred sausages, feeling brilliant. – Jamie Oliver
Well, December already team. It has been a strange year with a few downs to go along with the ups for some of us on a personal level.
That is not to say that it has been a bad year for our Cellar Club, quite the contrary in fact. Let’s review our year. By a long-established tradition, we began with our summer BBQ at the end of January. The usual excellent occasion and we continue to appreciate that Derek makes his premises available. February saw us heading to Askerne Estate in Hawkes Bay. The Hawkes Bay wineries never let you down. March was with the very well established Villa Maria presenting. While the winery originated in Auckland, the company has expanded over the years and produces wines from most of the major regions in New Zealand.
April saw something of a coup for the club with Joelle Thomson presenting. Joelle is a well-recognised personality in the New Zealand wine world as an author, wine writer and tutor. Another great tasting. May is the inevitable AGM then in June Simon Bell from Colab Wine Merchants took us on a tour of Europe. Simon brought along some large wine glasses and some time was spent on discussing the virtues and differences that wine glasses can make to your wine experience. On to July for the mid-year dinner at the Trade Kitchen.
Off to Nelson for the August tasting with Waimea Estate. Over the years Waimea has gathered 150+ Gold Medals and 26 Trophies across nine different wine styles. Nelson producers are right up there as a wine region. Cenna Lloyd for Negociants presented in September. She presented wines from two wineries, Misha’s Vineyard and Two Paddocks, both from Central Otago. Much enjoyed by those who attended and really great orders from a smaller group attending.
In October we celebrated the Rugby World Cup with a selection of wines from countries competing in the Cup. Keith Tibble was the presenter. November saw the very early return of Cenna Lloyd for the South American wine and food match evening outlined below. Cenna had been to South American after presenting in September and was keen to share her experience.
It only remains to anticipate yet another December Dinner. We have been to Cashmere Lounge before and we are sure you will not be disappointed.
It is indeed my privilege to present to club members the Cellar Club’s annual report for the year 2018 – 2019.
I want to stress that the club is first and foremost about you. It is you as active members who make the club as vibrant as it is. Maintaining membership at a sound level is the key. Thank you for your support for events and meetings during the year and attending tonight’s AGM. Our monthly meetings continue to be well attended, in fact the average number of members attending monthly meetings relative to the club’s subscription membership has perhaps never been better. Total numbers attending tastings again exceeded 300 during this last year (at 9 meetings) but we have noted that guest numbers were a little down and this may need to be addressed if we are looking to build on our membership.
In particular the numbers attending the two club dinners in July and December 2018 were also at a high (the 2 dinners were collectively over 90) and as these dinners are highlight events for members we will continue to prioritise efforts to choose the right venue, creating a chance for you to share good wines with your table and to enjoy some of the first class cuisine that Wellington restaurants do provide.
May I add that this report, rather than being printed, is posted for your interest on the club’s website.
Keeping the membership levels up and ensuring meetings are well attended is a prime objective to ensure the club remains viable and we can sustain the costs that running the club incurs. You will see from the financial report prepared for the AGM that the club’s finances are in very good shape thanks particularly to the diligence and astute budget management of our long serving treasurer.
These club’s finances and fixed costs are manageable but do require active attention. Venue hire, licenses for the club website and the council’s liquor requirements, presenter gifts and the costs of the wines are the key points of focus. With healthy finances we are able to subsidise the annual BBQ and dinners, sustain a club cellar and provide those cellared wines at dinners and the AGM tonight. We are fortunate that occasionally the wine presenters either heavily discount the wine or are prepared to donate their wines. This can be unpredictable but where it eventuates we are grateful and it allows the benefits to flow back to members.
This is often a function of the size scale of the wineries or their subsequent response to your level of orders. It is worth noting that the presenters cover their own travel, visiting and accommodation costs and for some this is substantial. In those terms I want to thank members most sincerely for their preparedness to order on the night and many of the presenters particularly comment on both their orders and naturally express a willingness to return to the club. I know that is not always true of some other wine clubs where they have different arrangements and expectations. Our club’s operating model is not unique, but where other styles of club operations put some pressure on presenters and wineries, our model ensures good relations are maintained with wineries, our financial viability is ensured and door charges and subscriptions remain affordable.
Therefore, the level of support from members suggests the formula may be right but I want to stress that meeting your interests is paramount. We would want to hear both suggestions for meetings and ideas and options for events that are planned. Each member of the committee is only too willing to talk with you to seek and explore ideas to ensure the club remains in good heart and is delivering what members want in terms of wine education, quality wine experiences and a good social atmosphere at meetings and amongst members.
As members you have excelled with the help you provide with meeting logistics. Looking after the glassware, setting the venue hall up and helping stack tables and chairs away, assisting with pouring when requested, being inclusive at tables and helping with distribution of wine orders does ease the pressures involved in meetings and covering the necessary tasks and it is appreciated.
It is pleasing to reflect that the club continues to thrive as Wellington’s pre-eminent wine society established and operating since 1980 expanding from a local suburban focus to a membership residing from across the city, the Hutt Valley to the Kapiti Coast. Your continuing involvement has ensured this longevity into our 40th year.
The programme over the last year was varied and well received. We visited Hawkes Bay [Unison Vineyard, Clearview Estate and Askerne Wines], tasted internationally from France [Maison Vauron with cheeses], Portugal [Confidant Wines] and Australia [Yalumba with Negociants], tasted Marlborough [with Villa Maria], looked at quality wines under $25 with Joelle Thomson and dined at Saigon Van, at Juniper and the traditional January BBQ (courtesy of life member Derek Thompson).
My thanks go also to an outstandingly willing committee. This is a group that is dedicated, reliable and affable. The portfolios are well shared and the committee’s focus is sustained membership, managing costs, providing publicity and information, and promoting wine education. It is pleasing for me to note that the current committee members have all expressed a willingness to continue in their involvement.
This is a group notable for their collective efforts and backing each other up. The committee deals with a plethora of issues, with finances and organising the annual tasting programme being a focus. There certainly is an extensive timely email flow amongst the committee and we always have a quorum at monthly committee meetings. Planning and being flexible are the keys, although occasionally there is pressure on the scheduled monthly programme. Invariably we manage to come through and frequently achieve stellar presentations. Our secretarial support, the newsletter and our website as our “shop windows”, licensing and venue realities, catering and balancing our books all require dedication and effort. For this collective endeavour I am grateful to committee members.
The club is about sociability,extending wine experiences and broadening horizons. We are always looking for the means to increase our membership. It is always a pleasure when you bring along guests to meetings and functions as prospective members and we are happy to make incentives for you to do so. With guest numbers a little down of late there is a real interest to encourage your friends and acquaintances who may wish experience a tasting evening and perhaps to join the club. Specifically, how we can increase younger membership is one of the challenges going forward.
Thank you for your support and active involvement and hence I raise a glass to you one and all and trust we will continue to do so for the year ahead and to mark the club’s 40th year.
Having the December Dinner on a Saturday night worked well. The food was great and was well received. The committee has received good feedback from people who attended. $65.00 seems to an acceptable price point for dinner pricing. We could go back in the future or try a similar venue, and let us not reject the idea of Saturday dinners if there are future opportunities.
January 2019 – Club BBQ
Not much to be said except to say it was another fine day and everyone seemed to enjoy the occasion. Not sure if the attendance was 42 or 44. Depends on who counted and at what time during proceedings.
This continues to be a great venue for a gathering of this nature, the food was excellent, the wine very nice and the company superb. As always we give special thanks to Derek Thompson for making his excellent facilities available.
It’s the start of another year with much to look forward to.
Now it may seem like a strange thing to say if you glance ahead to the coming events section, but things are quite well advanced with planning for the year. Just a small issue with the March tasting which might affect April. Don’t worry, as they say, it will all be right on the night.
Some interest has been expressed about recipes for the food matches which we occasionally prepare (or provide) for tastings. For those interested, the recipes for the matches we did back in November for the Portuguese tasting are available on the website. Also, Wayne is collating the 2017 Spanish recipes for inclusion on the website. We will look to include future recipes as tastings progress.
There were a few dishes etc left at Derek’s after the BBQ and I think these have been returned to their owners. If you have an item that you might have left there, let me know and we can pursue through Derek.
Another successful Cellar Club year started with a BBQ, several tastings, the AGM, another tasting, then mid-year dinner, followed by several more tastings, then finally a very successful end-of-year dinner.
In upholding tradition, and as a way of celebrating the committees’ work throughout the year, the club’s President hosts an end of year celebration for committee, partners and guests. Each year we celebrate by sampling each other’s favourite wines along with a grand selection of food. This year we were fortunate to sample many labels who have presented to the club and some who have not. The wines came from the labels La Cilla, Hunters, Clearview, Ruby Bay, Alpha Domus, Awatere River, Rapaura Springs, Lindauer, Okahu Estate, Tyrells, Old Coach Road, Olssens, Ransom, Dry River, Rod MacDonald, Rockburn, and Ash Ridge. A large and diverse range that could have gone down well at any tasting.
Thanks to our gracious hosts, club President Murray and Dina, who organised (with the gods) great weather for the event, along with the committee, wishes members and guests a joyous and safe Christmas. We look forward to seeing you all during 2019 starting with the BBQ in January. Details to come.
As I sit to prepare this newsletter Celine Dion is singing “Another year has gone by” in the background. Surely not, I say, but it is so. Where has it gone? We can start by reviewing our year. We began with our summer BBQ at the end of January. The usual excellent occasion and thanks to Derek for continuing to make his premises available. February saw us heading on a “Summer Romance – a love affair with Wine” where some of your committee members presented their favourite summer wines. In March Mark and Susan Haythornthwaite presented some of their “Haythornthwaite” wines and told us of the success they have had adding platters to the tasting experience at their premises.
In April Simon Bell from MacVine took us on a tour of Europe embracing France, Italy and Germany. May was the usual AGM then in June Unison Vineyards from the Gimblett Gravels in Hawkes Bay presented some lovely wines. July was something of a disappointment when we went to Saigon Van Grill Bar. The meal was lacking, particularly in quantity, and subsequent efforts to redress the problem have been futile. Never mind, we were back on track in August with a great tasting from Clearview.
September saw a continuation with European wines when Maison Vauron gave us a taste of French wine with some cheese matches. Then who could forget Negociants presentation from that iconic Barossa winery, Yalumba.
The tastings for the year finished with a return to Europe, this time Portugal with Confidant Wines, and some great wine with food matches. All this travel and we haven’t had to leave home.
As I finish this Celine has moved on to “Holy Night” and is singing about a night divine. I can’t quite work out if she means Christmas Eve or the December Dinner at Juniper. You be the judge.
Those of you who know me will know that my preference clearly lies with red wines, however, even I have to admit that the weather has been rather too hot for the heavier reds. It has been suggested that we should cool our reds a little and not refrigerate the living daylight out of our whites. I’m straight into experimentation with the concept.
The programme for the year is now taking shape with some good tastings in prospect. We will keep you updated as we go and we hope we can have a year of exceptional tastings.
Invariably someone leaves something at Derek’s place after the January BBQ. This time he has found a squarish white plastic bowl that does not belong to him. Let us know if this is your bowl and we will work out a way to return it.