Congratulations Derek, 80

Every once in a while the Club creates its own news, or at least things happen to members that are newsworthy. This month  I have opted against searching out a New Zealand wine story in favour of a little celebration of our own.  Back in May Derek Thompson (a foundation Member of our club) turned 80.  He had a small celebration to mark the occasion at which the birthday cake pictured below was a feature.   There are three things worthy of mention about the cake.  Obviously the first is Derek’s achievement at reaching 80, the second is that the prints on the cake represent his dedicated companion, Hershey the cat, and thirdly, but by no means lastly, the cake was provided by Adeline Porter, a fellow member.  I knew there was a good reason why Derek surrounds himself with women at the top table.

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Dinner at Juniper & Jan BBQ

Dinner at Juniper

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.

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Another great year

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.

Unison Wines

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.

Robin Semmens, Editor

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Cellar Club BBQ – Jan 2016

barbeque-explosionThe usual start to our year with the BBQ at Derek Thompson’s.

A beautiful day and a good turn-out of members plus a few visitors.

As ever we must thank Derek for his hospitality and generosity. This is a great place to have a BBQ and we are very fortunate that Derek makes it available. He even opened his magnum of Gladstone Pinot Noir (won during the Gladstone tasting). A lovely drink for a sunny afternoon.

Craggy Range – Gladstone – From the Editor

Craggy Range

What a great tasting on offer. Miss it at your peril. You will note that the door cost is a little higher than usual. This is to ensure that members have the opportunity to taste great wines from a top producer. Enjoy.


At the Gladstone tasting last month the winery set up a draw for any members purchasing case lots. On offer was a magnum of their 2009 Reserve Pinot Noir. This draw was won by Derek Thompson. Congratulations Derek.

Robin Semmens, Editor

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