Wairarapa Wine Trip – Saturday, 13 February

44 people are booked to go to on this trip, which includes a tasting and then lunch at Coney Wines.

If you are one of that 44 and can no longer go, it is imperative that you text or ring Gayl on 021 040 6244 and let her know before this weekend as Coneys are seeking urgent confirmation of our numbers.

Once we do that, any subsequent cancellation is unlikely to result in a refund.
Sadly, Palliser Estate is no longer part of our itinerary as they want to focus on the operation of their new restaurant which adjoins their tasting area, much like what we will experience at Coney Wines.

Updated details including times and the replacement winery will be emailed to everyone early next month, if not beforehand.

Palliser Estate

Grave Wines

alana wines

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Wairarapa trip – Saturday, 13 February

Tim Coney of Coney Wines in Martinborough. Photo: Loren Dougan/Fairfax media.
Tim Coney of Coney Wines in Martinborough. Photo: Loren Dougan/Fairfax media.

As mentioned in September, the trip we had to postpone earlier this year is back on for Saturday, 13 February next year and it promises to be a great day.

To enable us to finalise the arrangements and ensure we have a big enough bus, we now need all members to read the following and then email Wayne to confirm your status for the new date.

The club is holding the payments of most of those members who’d committed to going this year (ie, those who didn’t request a refund) and of course, we welcome other members who are now in a position to join the trip.

So please email Wayne by Friday, 11 December, and advise him of one of the following options, along with all applicable names.

  1. I/we booked and paid for the March trip and will also be coming in February 2021.
  2. I/we booked and paid for the March trip but are unable to come in February 2021 so would ask you to arrange a refund.
  3. I/we were not on the list for the March trip but would now like to be added.
  4. I/we were not on the list for the March trip and will not be attending in February 2021.

Please note that if you are C, you will also need to deposit $75 into the club’s bank account 06 0541 0056031 00 before 24 December.

We plan to follow the same timetable as we’d planned for last March to save you searching your inboxes. This document is just to refresh your memory – we’ll update it closer to the date when the train times for that period are confirmed. It’s also likely that we’ll be visiting a different winery to Palliser, as they are now focusing on their new restaurant, rather than tastings. Details to follow.

Palliser Estate

Grave Wines

alana wines

Come along for a fun day and help wrap up the club’s 40th birthday celebrations in style!

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Winetopia 2020 in Wellington

Winetopia 2020 In Wellington – hosted by Lemongrass productions

Dates: 9 & 10 October 2020

Venue: TSB Arena

Winetopia tickets

Session times:

  • Session 1: Friday 9 Oct (5 pm – 8.30 pm)
  • Session 2: Sat 10 Oct (12 pm – 3.30 pm)
  • Session 3: Sat 10 Oct (4.30 pm – 8 pm)
2020 Winetopia
2020 Winetopia

Information about the event:

  • More than 50 of New Zealand’s best wineries
  • A full schedule of tastings, talks and new experiences
  • This is your chance to immerse yourself in the New Zealand wine scene and celebrate the growers and winemakers that have put this country on the vinous map
  • New to 2020: ‘Wine Blind’ tastings and your chance to sample some ultra-premium wines (these wines are usually found upwards of $100 per bottle) with our new ‘Golden Coin’ currency
  • Masterclasses with Bob Campbell (MW) and Joelle Thomson in Wellington
  • Egmont St Eatery will also have a pop-up restaurant within the event
  • Local band: Super Bad Soul Section will also round out the last hour of the show.

For the Cellar Club, organisers have thrown in a 10% discount which can be applied at checkout to any wine purchases by members from Lemongrass wine buying site winetree.co.nz – Code: treehugger10.

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Coming events

  • Wednesday 12 August – to be confirmed
  • Wednesday 9 September – to be confirmed
  • Wednesday 14 October – St Clair

Note:  Arrangements are well in hand for August and September so don’t be alarmed.  We will provide details as soon as possible.  Both will be great events, trust us.

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Events & condolences


There is little more that I can add.  Other Events and tastings are being pursued but it is clear that the future depends on events somewhat beyond our control.  Let’s hope it doesn’t last too much longer and we can get together to enjoy some good company and wines.


Rick and Fay Julian were members of our club for many years until they shifted to Hawkes Bay. Many of our members will be upset to learn that they have been involved in a vehicle accident where they both suffered mainly bruising injuries that required some hospitalisation.  Unfortunately, Fay’s mother was in the vehicle and has died from injuries sustained.  Our heartfelt condolences and best wishes go to them at this very sad time.

Robin Semmens,

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From your Committee

As you might expect, in the current Level 4 Emergency status, your club has effectively gone into adjournment, albeit your committee continues to communicate and make plans for the year ahead.

Our April tasting with The Crater Rim has been deferred and we are considering the Level 4 impact on the whole AGM process. Our club rules require us to give 3 weeks’ notice of our AGM which we will do as soon as it is practical to do so. However, if this means we will be holding the meeting after May [a possibility] then that will breach the time requirements set out in our constitution/club rules. Whilst we don’t do that lightly, there is no way we can comply with those rules in the L4 environment. We can’t even conduct a Special AGM to change the club rules so we are between a rock and a hard place and just need to be practical.”

We are considering if there is some way we could have a remote AGM.  Your committee has held a meeting on Zoom but there would be too many for that approach.  We continue to think through options and will keep you in touch.

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2020 is a very special year for our club

2020 is a very special year for our club. We will celebrate 40 years of activity and tastings as the year progresses. Because of special events being organised, you will note that this newsletter has a slightly different approach in that we are setting out activities for the first three months rather than one month at a time. I am sure that for many of you this is your favourite read but don’t be alarmed, so much is happening that we will continue to come at you monthly.

Please find the proposed events for the year and a Payment Advice for the February meeting.

A very interesting start to the year and we intend to keep the pressure on throughout the year.

Robin Semmens

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Newsletter, Save the Date, Dinner


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,

Robin Semmens

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Save the date – Saturday 21st March 2020

This is the date of our planned day trip to the Wairarapa, the highlight of which will be a wine tasting and a lunch at Coney Wines.

A full itinerary for the day is being prepared and we will let you know the information once it is finalised.

In the meantime, please put this date on your fridge, in your diaries or use whatever favourite way of remembering you have. You will not want to miss this event.

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Your news fix, Save the date

From the Acting Editor,

Let me begin by again apologising for no newsletter last month. As I think I said in an email, Robin and Pat had to fly to Sydney suddenly and there simply wasn’t enough time to get it out.  There is still no word as to when they may return, so please direct any communications to myself of another of the committee in the meantime.

Your news fix

Hopefully, this month’s newsletter will provide you with your news fix. That said, the objective of this newsletter is to dissimilate information, often with a generous sprinkling of humour. Given there is much information for you to read in this issue, please don’t just put it to one side after a quick scan. You may miss something.

Save the date

I would especially draw your attention to the section on Save the Date – Saturday 21st March 2020. This is 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. These last 2 months has been a funny old one for your committee with much drama going on in our lives, interspersed with overseas travel for 3 or us and a couple of major knee ops for another. Sadly included in all this, was the passing of Anne’s mum very recently. The club did deliver some flowers and card to Anne expressing our condolences on behalf of you all.

See you there next week,

Cheers Wayne Kennedy, Acting Editor

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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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Under Negotiation – 13 March 2019

We are negotiating with a very well known wine personality in NZ to present at this meeting. There are still a couple of matters to resolve and consequently, we will not make any announcement at this time. We have other options so you may be assured that whatever the result you will be treated to the usual high standard of tasting. Watch this spot.