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.

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


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.

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.



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.


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


Chocolate profiteroles

Mini Christmas cake

Chocolate truffles

Iced Baileys milkshakes


We can cater for any dietary or allergy requirements.

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Condolences, Good Value, Attachments, Alan Scott

The Presidents

Holy smoke, did I just see November 2016 at the top of this newsletter?  Seems you only have to blink and a month has gone by.  Where does the time go?  The only thing that seems to be dragging on is the American Presidential election.  The Lord forbid our club elections should ever be as lively as that election is proving to be.  Quite a bit happening right now with a number of items to address.


The Presidents
The Cellar Club Presidents at The Cellar Club’s 25th birthday dinner, The James Cook Hotel, Feb 2006. From left to right Derek Thomson, Ron Thompson, Alan Evans, Wayne Kennedy, Graeme Fountain, Francesca Menzies and John Browning.

It is with deep sadness that we wish to report the passing of one of our Life Members , Ron Thomson.

Ron’s participation in the club dates back to our early beginnings when he was the editor of our newsletters until he relinquished that role to take over as our second President in 1986.

Ron became a life member in 2009 and whilst he has not attended tastings since he moved to Waikanae, he and his late wife Barbara, continued to attend our dinners until more recently when health issues began to intercede.   Ron continued to provide occasional pieces on New Zealand wine history which ran in this newsletter a little time ago.  Our condolences go out to his many friends in the Cellar Club.

And before anyone points out the issue of spelling I am aware that the “p” has slipped.  It is Ron Thomson and Derek Thompson, I just couldn’t change it in the jpeg.

Good Value at the Wine Club

A committee member was interested to hear one of our new member’s comment recently about the ‘good value’ you get from our wine club, and we thoroughly agree.  Just look at the Hunters meeting, all those good wines for less than $15 per bottle.  You won’t get that in a Supermarket.


Allan Scott was involved in the first planting of vines in the Marlborough wine region in 1973.
Allan Scott was involved in the first planting of vines in the Marlborough wine region in 1973.

There are several attachments to this newsletter; firstly the payment advice for Nov 2016 which includes the December Dinner; and secondly the menu for Muse in December.  There is a third attachment which honours the achievement of one of the Clubs very early members.  Sharyn Evans was a member of this club way back in the formative years.  She has recently retired after 47 years as a violinist with the NZSO.  I attach an item from the Orchestra’s programme notes a couple of weeks back.  Just emphasises what a talented membership we have had and still have.

Allan Scott

Members may have read the weekend magazine from the Dompost, which featured  an article on Allan Scott.  It mentioned he’d be giving a talk about his new book ‘Marlborough Man’ at Unity Books at 12 pm on November 11.  Just in case anyone is interested.  The item was too long to include in the newsletter.

Robin Semmens, Editor

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Lorkin quote, Where does the time go?

Lorkin quote

2016-06-3-5751105912f05“It’s easy to become a Riesling recruit without sending your wallet sideways. You’ll find yourself ticking boxes all over the show. Green apple, check. Lime, check. Lemon verbena, check. Raindrops on hot rocks, check. Long, lean, stylish and elegant, if there were such a thing as Riesling royalty in Marlborough, the Hunter’s household would be the full polo team. Sniff, sip, savour.”

With regard to the Lorkin quote above can I say that I have never yet tasted “raindrops on hot rocks” in any wine I have consumed over the years. Perhaps with my lack of expertise on the subject, I just haven’t recognised it.

Where does the time go?

After this week’s tasting, we only have the Festive Wines and December dinner to see out the year. It’s been a good year, though, let’s hope we can do as well in 2017.

Robin Semmens, Editor

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Mid-year Dinner – Logan Brown

mid-year-dinner-logan-brown57a812c61dc4641 members and 7 guests attended the dinner at Logan Brown.

It was a good night out for the most part, but there were some issues. Wayne has emailed Steve Logan to give feedback on the issues which were mainly around time between courses and timing between different tables. Steve has replied to say that the main issue was our large booking plus other customers on the night meaning a fullish restaurant.

We accept that there were difficulties with numbers but felt that an establishment such as Logan Brown should have been able to cope, particularly as they knew the numbers up front.

The Allan Scott bubbles were very good value and the food was wonderful but some of the tables were cramped and there was at least a 60-minute wait between courses for some tables. It appears that the Maître D tried to suit everyone by interspersing our orders between orders from other customers. The staff serving at the tables were fine, and Steve assures us that our custom was valued. We may have to give them another chance to redeem themselves.

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Condolences, Dinner, Elderton Wines


The Cellar Club would like to express its deepest sympathies to Dennis Mann and his family on the passing of his wife Junette last weekend. I understand several of Dennis’ close club friends will be around to support Dennis, and we look forward to welcoming him back to tastings when he feels up to it.


condolences-dinner-elderton-wines577e19462ed7cGreat response for the dinner this month, clearly a good choice. I am sure we will all enjoy the event.


Please note the programme change for August. While we might be disappointed to miss Peter Lehmann at this time, I have it on good authority that Elderton produce some really fine wines and will be a very suitable replacement, after all it is the Barossa. (Having said that one of the very few wines I was unable to drink was produced in the Barossa Valley, but that’s another story)

Robin Semmens, Editor

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Second half of the year – Editor


2016-04-27-57212e0c27865We are coming into a great second half of the year for club members. With the line-up over the next few months including Foxes Island, dinner at Logan Brown, and then Peter Lehmann, Squawking Magpie and Jane Hunter. Phew.

Dinner & subs

There are a couple of attachments to this newsletter. There is a payment advice which includes the June meeting, the July dinner and, it’s that time of year again, subscriptions. Please print off the form and bring it to next week’s tasting. Alternatively, you can arrange payment direct to the Club bank account as set out on the form.

Dinner menu

Also attached is the menu for the July dinner. No point trying to resist it, just come along.

Robin Semmens, Editor

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Dinner review – 1841 Bar and Restaurant

Dinner review

A great turnout made for a great evening. The staff and service at 1841 was as good as we’ve come to expect anywhere in town.

Members and guests were welcomed with a glass or two of Paul Bur sparkling then treated to Johnsonville’s finest array of fresh wholesome entrees and mains. Interesting was that most tables ordered everything on the menu. The vegetarian rice rolls served with an Asian dipping sauce was as fresh as you could get. Those ordering the chowder left nothing, even the crispy tortilla basket in which it was served was gone.

you may have been forgiven expecting mains to be smaller for a large group. The truth is the mains were fantastic – beautifully presented, great flavours (I shared my wife’s pork), leaving us needing a break before dessert.

The desserts and cheese board topped off a great evening.

Congratulations to the staff and chef at 1841 for a great meal.

Cheers Steve 


  • Wed

    Xmas dinner - 1841 Bar and Restaurant

    7:00 - 10:00 pm

    1841Venue: 1 Disraeli St, Johnsonville

    Cost: Members & Guest $45




    To start

    Beef Skewers (gf)
    Half a dozen served with satay sauce

    Vietnamese Rice Rolls (gf)
    Homemade vegetarian rice rolls served with an Asian dipping sauce

    Seafood Chowder
    Served in a crispy tortilla basket


    Phillip Street Fettuccine (v)
    Olives, sun-dried tomato, pumpkin & spinach tossed in rocket pesto

    Pork Belly (gf)
    Pork belly served on mash with homemade coleslaw, apple sauce, red wine jus & crackling

    Fish of the Day
    Served with mash, sautéed cabbage & bacon, topped with homemade salsa & hollandaise

    Seton’s Sirloin (gf)
    200g served with rosemary potatoes & a fresh garden salad. Topped with mushrooms & béarnaise


    Cheesecake of the Day
    Served with ice cream & fresh whipped cream

    Lemon & Passionfruit Mudcake
    Served with ice cream & fresh whipped cream

    To Finish

    A variety of cheeses, crackers and fruit
    Tea and coffee to order



    1841Menu-18  1841Menu-34


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