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.
Best wishes for the festive season.
Rest easy team, I am back. I would like to follow up on Wayne‘s message re the bit of disorganisation over the newsletter. Much has been happening in the last couple of months and Pat and I have spent six weeks in Sydney and are still getting back into a groove. Overseas visitors and other activities have further impacted. Please bear with us, things will come right in time. Some really excellent events coming up over the next year so there is much to look forward to.
Save the Date
This feature will continue over the next few months with the March event being the first of 3 special themed events your committee is planning in 2020 to celebrate our 40th anniversary. A full calendar of events will be sent out separately so you can update your diaries.
Please find attached the menu for the December Dinner. The second attachment is the payment advice for the November tasting. This includes a section allowing you to indicate preferences for the Dinner. The ability to let the restaurant know our requirements in advance is of benefit in keeping costs down.
See you there Wednesday,
Your committee found the Trade Kitchen staff to be very accommodating, making the organisation of this dinner easy. The venue worked reasonably well although the noise level in the bigger room made it hard to hear some conversations. The dinner was very enjoyable and the bubbles worked well with the dinner.
It was a good night and people seemed to enjoy it. The committee has received some good feedback about the dinner from attendees. The message seems to be that members like the higher level of the restaurant in town and close to public transport.
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
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.
The Cellar Club Inc
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Robin Semmens, Editor
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.
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
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 sort. We 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.