Good grief, where is the year going? Much to look forward to however with Stonecroft next week and the November Festive tasting which will have Spanish wines as a theme. The December dinner venue is sorted and we will be going to the Cashmere Lounge in Khandallah. It is only yards away from the Khandallah train station if anyone is travelling from town.
Bottle a day
Now much has been written and said about the benefits, or lack thereof, in a regular glass of wine. While waiting for Winston to make up his mind you might need two a night. At long last however Wayne has found an oracle who deserves some attention. He reckons that a bottle a day does you no harm and indeed is probably good for you. Unsurprisingly not all the experts agree.
Hi Team, I am back, and I am not quite sure that we, Pat and I, have organised this properly. We didn’t generally have the kindest of summer weather while we were away and we have been well aware that it is still very much winter since our return. We will need to time things a little better if we do this sort of thing again.
Editor back in charge
So after Acting Editor, then Acting Acting Editor, it is back to plain old Editor again. Whilst travelling around southern England I did note there were a few vineyards and wineries advertised. After our last trivia evening where a question revolved around the demise of British wineries due to climate change, I was interested to see where the industry is at now. For the same reason it collapsed, ie climate change, there has been a significant resurgence in the last few decades. There are currently about 500 vineyards covering 4,500 acres in Southern England and Wales. They currently produce only about1% of the world’s wine but it is a start. Note that “In the News” I have included an item about their first national wine awards.
As for visiting wineries and sampling European wines our touring did not incorporate any established wine regions. When we went visiting we took New Zealand wines when we could source them. Far better to encourage the British relatives to think about purchasing NZ wines.
You will note that in the ”Coming Events” section there is quite a bit of TBAing. We have had a few late changes to deal with over the last couple of years and your committee think that we might commit to events a little too far ahead. We are trying not to get too far ahead but fear not, we have lots of great opportunities to tap into.
As was mentioned last month, your Editor is offshore enjoying the northern hemisphere summer.
Then your Acting Editor Richard took sick and so I’ve stepped in to try and keep you all up to date. Hopefully, that explains the delay in getting this out this month and maybe even the quality of the content.
Fortunately for Richard and my sakes, Robin should be back to resume the mantle of Editor next month and hopefully he’ll have some wine tales from abroad to include in our newsletter.
Keep warm and don’t forget, Mulled Wine is a great way to do that these wintery evenings.
It’s time for our AGM and we are looking forward to a great attendance. Look at the benefits, scintillating company, some nice food, some even nicer wine, and all at no cost to you personally’
The notice is incorporated above and a couple of the supporting documents are attached to the emailed newsletter. Other information will be available at the meeting. No need to bring your tasting glasses, Cellar Club glasses will be available.
One of the matters that arose from the Ata Rangi tasting was the challenge to match our door charge to the cost of the evening. We don’t want to risk member resistance by charging too high a door price. We were pleased that we had a good membership turnout. This tasting was subsided by 5 to 6 dollars per member. We figure this into our costing structure but we would just like to remind members that one of the benefits of the wine club is the subsiding of tastings such as Ata Rangi, which might otherwise be more expensive than people are prepared to pay.
Blue Wine News
I hope you have all noticed that we scooped the Dominion Post with the blue wine story in the last newsletter. Observant members will have noted that the paper has only carried an item on this subject in the last week. When it comes to wine, look for it here first.
I refer back to the quote in a previous newsletter about making ice blocks with leftover wine, which confused me greatly as I had to ask, “what is leftover wine?” This all leads me to the last issue of this newsletter where I mentioned the Fair Go episode which highlighted that some producers were using Australian wines to bolster their cheaper lines. The argument was that as 70% of NZ white wines are exported they cannot produce enough “economy” wines for the local market.
While researching for our quiz night it transpires that the average price for a bottle of New Zealand wine in Britain (where a significant amount of our wine goes) is only $5.92. Apparently, a sizable amount of NZ wine is sent to the UK in bulk and re-bottled there. Seems a lot of trouble to go to for this price. Surely they can get that amount selling locally. This confuses me almost as much as blue wine and wine ice blocks.
Things are progressing nicely and we have the majority of the planning for the year under control. We are looking forward to the schedule of tasting and events for the year and expect the usual high level of support from members. Please remember, we always welcome your feedback and ideas.
I am sure many of you will have watched the Fair Go episode on TV recently where New Zealand producers were using some Australian wines to bolster their cheaper lines. The warning is clear, read the label well if you want to be sure you are drinking NZ wines. The argument was that as 70% of NZ white wines are exported they cannot produce enough “economy” wines for the local market. Is the inference that NZ consumers don’t matter? In any event the label should clearly state that it is the “Wine of Australia”. Naturally, no one who is a member of the Cellar Club would be fooled by such rubbish and would immediately identify the taste as a standard Aussie whine.
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.
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.
As ever, I find this a time to reflect on what the year has offered. We had a great day for the BBQ in January. Always a pleasant afternoon for those attending. February saw a tasting with Roberta Montero presenting for the Artisan Winegrowers of Central Otago. An interesting and somewhat different approach to winemaking from this group. March was a very successful tasting of Argentinian wines presented by Josefina Telleria from South2South. In April we had Edward Donaldson presenting for Pegasus Bay. The AGM in May passed quickly and members enjoyed some wines from the Club’s cellar before we moved on to June where Foxes Island and held centre stage. This was a very professional presentation.
Things really got rolling in July with the mid-year dinner at Logan Brown. Some issues around service but otherwise an excellent evening. August was time for Keith Tibble to present an Australian evening, mainly Elderton from the Barossa Valley but included offerings from McLaren Vale and Clare Valley. September was with Gavin Yortt and Squawking Magpie from Hawkes Bay. October was a highlight with Jane Hunter presenting from Marlborough. It was great to get an icon of the NZ wine industry for this event. November completed a somewhat international year with Cangrande doing Italian wines for our festive tasting. Dinner at Muse this month completes our year.
Your committee have been very pleased with the programme and hope everyone found something to enjoy. Have a great Christmas and then we will look to developing 2017 events to match those of the past year.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
Apologies to those of you who ordered wines after the Eurovintage Barossa evening. Unfortunately, there has been a glitch in the wines reaching me. Keith is doing his best to get the balance of wines to me, but he is the only Eurovintage representative in this part of the country and is covering business across the lower North Island. I am expecting to be able to complete deliveries this coming weekend.
The next two months showcases two wineries that have been trailblazers in their way. Gavin Yortt has been producing wines in the Gimblett Gravels since the early 1980s while Jane Hunter has likewise been in the industry for a similar period and is the icon of Marlborough wineries. With such well-established presenters, the meetings are full of promise.