I’m back, Events & subscription renewal

I’m back

You can breathe a sigh of relief. The real Editor is back.

Mind you as I sit here preparing this newsletter it is 4.50 pm yet almost dark, the rain is lashing on the roof and pouring over the side of the spouting outside the door, and the temperature is a balmy 8°, and to top it all off the Golf course was closed because of flooding. Where are the deserts of the UAE when you need them.

Just to answer Wayne’s question from the last month, yes we did have the opportunity to sample a couple of wines while we travelled. The cruise ship did not have a particularly good selection. We had a Grant Burge early in the cruise but it quickly disappeared off the wine list as did a number of others, and the selection became quite limited. We were able to sample a couple of Maltese wines, and two from Spain when we stopped in Barcelona. These were OK without being special. After paying between 9 and 12 $US for a glass (and not a particularly generous one) on the ship, we were probably overwhelmed by the significantly lesser price for bottles purchased onshore.

Events & subscription renewal

It’s that time of year again when we have several issues to deal with associated with the two upcoming tastings and renewal of subscriptions. Attached to the June dinner event you will find an attached payment advice form and the menu from Trade Kitchen.

Please complete the form and bring it to the June tasting or send to Wayne. Note that we are asking that you complete details of your requirements for the July dinner. This will make it easier for the restaurant on the night. And please check out the survey question. Of course, we are also asking you to part with some of your hard earned money but that is sort of normal for us.

See you next week, with another great tasting in store.

Cheers Robin Semmens, Editor

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2019 President’s Annual Report

8 May 2019

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.

Murray Jaspers
President
The Cellar Club Inc

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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End of Year Dinner – Saturday, 8 Dec – Juniper

We discussed this with members a little earlier in the year and have made the decision to opt for a Saturday for the December Dinner this year.

We believe that this will be convenient for most members. So we are off to Juniper, corner Featherston and Johnston Streets in the CBD for this year’s dinner.

We are working on final details for the menu and pricing. Wayne will supply members with a combined “payment advice’ form before the November tasting. So forget about second Wednesday of the month this time and put 8 December into your diaries.

We are sure it will be a great event. As I say, more detail from Wayne shortly.

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Mid Year Dinner – Saigon Van Grill Bar – July 2018

We are going to try a change of pace with a Vietnamese offering for the mid-year dinner. This is a well-respected establishment and many members have enjoyed well-respectedThe response at the AGM was very positive and we are sure that the event will be well supported by members. More detail in the next newsletter.

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Robyn’s return, Payment advice, President’s Report & Financial Statement

Robyn’s return

It wasn’t overwarm in Sydney while we were there but I must say I don’t think I have been warm since our return. Never mind the tasting this month should go some way to warm the cockles of the heart. I have it on good authority that the AGM went well in my absence, and it is a pleasure to have Cecilia join in the ranks of our life members.

Payment advice

Please find attached a PaymentAdviceforJune2018 for this month’s meeting. The form provides an opportunity to pay your membership subscription, entry fee for the June tasting and the July Dinner. Please bring this with you next week (completed of course) or contact Wayne by email.

President’s Report & Financial Statement

I would like to remind members that if you are interested in looking at the President’s Report or Financial Statement from the AGM, they can be found on the club website.

Cheers
Robin Semmens, Editor

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The year in retrospec

Our year

It is usual at this time to review our year. As ever we began with our summer BBQ at the end of January. The usual excellent occasion and thanks to Derek for making his premises available. It is an excellent facility. Our first tasting was the Rosė tasting presented by Will Brunel-Morven from Maison Vauron. Rosės are becoming increasingly popular, particularly as a summer wine.March was the time for Ata Rangi and was followed in April by our Quiz Night. An enjoyable and fun occasion. As usual, May was AGM time, June highlighted Giesen’s Wines and July was dinner at Bistro 52. August had us enjoying Seifried’s offerings and then in September the interesting and unique Aged Wines tasting. October was Stonecroft and last month was the festive tasting of Spanish wines. A great programme which will be nicely rounded off by our December Dinner.

Spanish tasting

It is interesting to note that EuroVintage had great orders from the Spanish tasting, and were blown away by the response. Well done everyone.

Cheers
Robin Semmens, Editor

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December Dinner, Cashmere Lounge

Wednesday 13 December 2017, 7.00pm start for 7.30pm sit down

By now you will studied the menu and indicated to Wayne with regard to your dinner choices.  There really isn’t much more to say.  Looks like a great turnout and we are looking forward to the event.  Unfortunately, or from our point of view perhaps, fortunately, we have the maximum number committing to attend and we are unable to accept any last minute requests to attend if people’s circumstances have changed.  For those who are coming can we please ask you not to arrive before seven.  Your committee will generally be arriving from work and will have some arrangements to sortWe would appreciate a bit of time to get things set up and members could help us by turning up from 7 pm, not earlier.

Wine for the December Xmas Dinner

2017 has been good for the club with great support from our presenters regarding the costs of their presentations etc. So for the December Dinner, we have decided to return the favour by purchasing some bubbles that are a little more expensive than normal. The wine we have chosen for you to enjoy won Gold at this year’s Air NZ wine awards and then went on to receive the Trophy for the best Sparkling White on show. So when you arrive at the dinner venue, you will receive a glass of chilled Aotea, a non-vintage Methode Traditionnelle sparkling wine from the Seifried family in Nelson,

There is an interesting backstory to this wine and we have included a quote from Anna Seifried.  Anna is understandably stoked with this win.  Enjoy the evening and the wine treat.

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Christmas Dinner – Cashmere Lounge, Khandallah – December 2017

You have to head to the suburbs to try one of Wellingtons best new restaurant/wine bars. Set in an 85 year old brick building, Cashmere Lounge has done a wonderful job of capturing the character and enhancing the aesthetics of the original structure.

A delicious menu and excellent service provide a wonderful and relaxed dining experience. The menu focuses on locally sourced produce with European and Kiwi flavours, expertly crafted by Head Chef, Vincent Good. We are working on the final details of an exciting menu and dining experience for members. Put 13 December into your scheduler now.

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July is Mid-Winter Dinner Month!

The Committee was looking to arrange the always-popular Cuba Street Bistro once again. But as the saying goes, the best laid plans of best-laid men oft gang awry. The building’s owner decided the chosen date would be a good time to undertake earthquake strengthening so the evening had to be scrapped.

However do not despair! Bistro 52 has been selected as the replacement. This is located in Lower Cuba Street and the Club has been there previously – and it very good it was too. The venue has been booked for Wednesday 19 July, with a 6.00pm start for a 6.30pm ordering of your meal. You will be welcomed with a glass of bubbles! Attached to this Newsletter is a Payment Advice for June 2017 (for both the dinner and your subscriptions). Price for the dinner is $52 per person including corkage – it’s BYO of course.

Note the date – this is a week later than the Club’s usual meeting evening. It’s the first week of the students’ new semester and they are still finalising the menu, but they have never let us down before!

This looks even now as though it will be a definite winner!

Payment Advice for June 2017

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2017, Upcoming events

2017

As always we commenced our festivities for this new year with the BBQ at Derek Thompson’s house. On the agenda for the year we have Ata Rangi, and after the success of the last quiz evening, we have decided to try it again.

Upcoming events

Your committee is working on options for the latter part of the year, but these will include the AGM in May, the mid-year dinner in July and the second dinner in December. As a definite, we have Seifried’s from Nelson booked in for August and other projects. We have found that a downside of arranging tastings too far in advance is that situations can change. These have resulted in late withdrawals necessitating urgent substitutes. We are trying not to work too far in advance. As always, we are happy for input from members on future events and tastings.

Cheers
Robin Semmens, Editor

Muse Eatery and Bar –  December 2016

Muse Eatery and Bar - December 2016 dinnerI was a bit nonplussed to pick up my Dompost the other day and see that Muse was “In Liquidation”.  I quickly reassured myself that this was obviously applied to Muse on Allen however and that the Muse Eatery and Bar are going strong.  They are also preparing to give us a great dining experience in December so make sure you get it into your calendar now.  The proposed menu is included below. See payment advice for Nov 2016 which includes the December Dinner.

Pity, I can’t be there, but a Pacific Cruise awaits god dammit.

Menu:

TO START

Selection of cured meats, hams and cheeses, etc.

A selection of cured meats, hams, cheeses, pickles, chicken liver pate, house piccalilli, short rib croquettes, mustards, beef tartar, warmed sourdough.

CARVERY AT THE TABLE

Pure Angus rump cap, served with a selection of sauces and truffled roasties

Grilled salmon with caper and lemon butter, served with baby roquette and pear salad

Milk braised free-range pork shoulder, crackling, apple sauce and roasted carrots

DESSERTS (TO SHARE)

Chocolate profiteroles

Mini Christmas cake

Chocolate truffles

Iced Baileys milkshakes

 

We can cater for any dietary or allergy requirements.

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