AGM 2022 Minutes

AGM 2022 MINUTES

COSTA BLANCA WINE SOCIETY

 

Minutes of the meeting held on January 20, 2022 at Restaurante La Senia, Denia.

Due to the late arrival of a taxi bringing a group of members, the meeting was called to order by President Tim Fawle at 18.15. 30 Members attended in person with a further 7 by Zoom video link.

  1. Apologies

 

Apologies were received from 17 Members:

 

Tony & Cherry Cabban                                   Brian & Jutta Courteney

Hilary Blackwell Landis                                   Barbara Priest

Keith & Pat Pacey                                           Ivan Harsdal

Kathy Johnson                                                Eliza Fraser

John & Shirley Sloggie                                        David and Azra Pearson

Alan & Rosemary Murdoch

 

  1. Approval of 2021 Minutes

 

There were no matters arising from the Minutes of the previous AGM held in June 2021 so these were approved unaltered.   Proposed:  Andrew Johnson.  Seconded:  Rod Anderton.

 

  1. President’s Report 2021

President Tim Fawle presented the following report:

This past year has been a challenging time for everyone However we managed to maintain a good level of communication firstly by adapting to virtual tastings with the help of Neville, Andrew and other members of the Wine Society as well as some great Bodega tastings. It also gave us time for reflection on our direction for the future within the Costa Blanca Wine Society but more of that later.

You will hear from Mike Granville that we have increased new membership by 33 people and it is exciting to welcome these new members who are enthusiastic participants. I hope as we move forward that some of these members will wish to participate in the activities we are planning in the months ahead. Wine tasting is a very individual activity and all of us have varying tastes and the great thing about being a member of the Wine Society is that we can discover some really nice wines and share our thoughts with fellow wine tasters.

 

A brief review of our 2021 programme.  Due to the Covid Epidemic we continued to use Zoom communication with at-home tastings.

January

25 members participated in the tasting hosted by Sandy and myself where we introduced the Wine Wheel an interesting tool to help people identify the various flavours and smells of the wines tasted. People selected their wines and shared their comments on the wine using the wine wheel.

February

32 members enjoyed a very interesting tasting hosted by Andrew and Kathy Johnson titled Fun with 3 grapes. The enthusiastic attendees submitted a stunning total of 30 different wines that they had tasted as a group and the evening was most enjoyable!

March

34 members participated in a bodega tasting from Bodegas Martué presented by Manuel Gonzalez a member of the family owned bodega. We had visited this bodega in 2016 on a Wine Trip and were not disappointed in their excellent quality wines. Members were able to purchase these wines at excellent prices and in fact a total of 80 cases were ordered!

April

34 members enjoyed presentations from two past presidents, our treasurer, and two longstanding members of the wine society.  They presented their personal selections and commented on why they had chosen these wines. My thanks to Gordon Sellars, Paul Nicholls, Mike Granville and Hugh & Gillian Epsom for their presentations.

May

43 members attended the presentation from Bodegas Finca Los Aljibes with Manuel Morente Director of the family owned bodega. We were not disappointed and that was demonstrated by the attendance and the excellent wines tasted with a record of 117 cases ordered.

June

25 members joined Neville Richardson for his topic: Eco, biodynamic, natural, organic, sustainable – do these titles mean anything? Clever marketing tools or the future of wine?’ To ensure that participants got the most enjoyment out of the presentation they were encouraged to enjoy a glass of wine with the above labels and compare them to those with traditional wine-making methods. It was very interesting and everyone was guided to their own conclusions whether Eco wines are a marketing gimmick as they are generally premium priced.

 

 

September

September was a welcome back tasting.  A total of 48 people attended a delightful “Welcome Back” event in September in the beautiful setting of Puerto Blanco where members enjoyed an informal get-together with wines selected from previous Wine Trips including the usual format of whites, rosados and reds. It was a great opportunity to meet up informally after being unable to organise physical tastings.

October

This event took place at Hotel Les Rotes, hosted by Neville Richardson and Tim Fawle who deputised for our invited speaker John Davies from London who was unable to attend. This tasting provided a background on the traditional Bordeaux blends of grape varieties made in Spain and some interesting comparisons were made.

November

Andrew Johnson kindly hosted Bodegas Volver in my absence and did a great job in presenting the very good wines offered by this Alicante bodega . Neville also explained the new wine scoring system we have introduced. This was the first time we had used Restaurante Los Amigos in Javea and the general feedback was that everyone enjoyed this venue. My thanks to Andrew for all his help in making this event very successful.

December

51 members joined us at A Bordo Restaurant, Club Nautico, Javea which was a fun celebration for our Christmas event. President Tim Fawle presented his selection for the evening which focused on Rioja wines.

Website

I would like to make a special word of thanks to John Sloggie who manages our website quietly and efficiently.  I think that when you click onto the latest Newsletter and look back at our tasting reports any outsider would be impressed by the activities of CBWS and the cheerful photos of our members so thank you John for your excellent work.

 

  • Andrew Johnson wished it to be put on record that Tim Fawle had shown amazing leadership over the past two years in ensuring that the Society flourished and even grew whilst so many other associations were struggling. He said that the continuing success of the Wine Society during these difficult times was due entirely to the efforts and enthusiasm of Tim, for which he thanked him.

 

  1. Treasurer & Membership Secretary’s Report

 

Treasurer Mike Granville handed out copies of the Society’s financial position at the end of 2021.  There is a current balance of just under €3,000.  2021 showed a loss of around €1,300 but this was offset by a profit in 2020.  33 new members joined in 2021, being charged the reduced membership fee of €10.  Membership fees for existing members were waived.

 

Bank charges have seen an increase, although by changing the account to La Caixa these have not been as great as they would have been with our previous bank. Every payment to a bank other than La Caixa incurs a fee.  Zoom charges are a new cost to the Society as the 40 minute free connection would not be sufficient for our needs.

 

Membership numbers have remained stable at approximately 120, although there may be a few members who have not yet advised of their wishes to cancel their membership.

 

The accounts have been checked by Keri Theophilus and our thanks go to Keri for his help.

 

The 2021 Accounts were approved as Proposed by Mary Anderton and Seconded by Phil Fraser.

 

2022

 

  1. Election of Officers

 

All Officers and Committee Members had expressed their intention to remain in their current roles for a further year.  These are:

 

Tim Fawle                    – President

Mike Granville            – Treasurer & Membership Secretary

Paul Smithard             – Secretary

Susan Blewett &

Netty Sayers                – Menus and Venues

John Sloggie                – Website

Neville Richardson      – Committee Members

Penny Floodgate

Sandy Fawle

 

There being no objections the Committee will remain in place.  The President thanked all committee members for their support and continued help.

 

  1. Proposal to Increase Membership Fee to €25

 

  1. The Treasurer introduced the above Proposal explaining that the Membership had remained the same for as long as anyone could remember and that now was the time to increase the annual payment in view of inflation but also as an indication of commitment to being a member of a serious Society.

 

  1. Hugh Epsom raised the argument that it was wrong to increase the fees as since Brexit there were a number of members who might not be able to attend as many meetings as before and they should therefore not be subsidising other members’ wine tastings. Andrew Johnson disagreed, saying that it was a small increase which would not greatly affect those members who might miss a few more tastings than before.

 

  1. Hugh Epsom also asked if there was currently any limit to the number of members. The President confirmed that anyone wishing to join the Society was given a place.  There is no upper limit, but the committee will keep a close eye on numbers and how it affects attendance at the monthly meetings.

 

  1. Gordon Sellars expressed his disappointment that two changes to the monthly bookings had been agreed by the Committee but had not been delayed and put before the AGM for approval. These referred to an increase in cost of the meals to both members and guests and also the change from cash payments at wine tasting dinners to a system of payment by bank transfer before the evening.  GS felt that, whilst he agreed with both changes, as a matter of principle they should have been put before the AGM before implementation.

 

  1. There followed some discussion in which the President explained that restaurant prices have gone up considerably in recent months and the amount we pay to the restaurants, plus the additional cost of the wine which we provide, was not being covered by the €35 charge. The amount paid by members had never been set or agreed in the past, but had changed according to what a restaurant charged.  For ease and convenience the average price of €35 had become a standard charge over the years.  This was now simply being increased.

 

  1. Both matters had been thoroughly discussed in a committee meeting. The Treasurer also explained that payment by bank transfer meant that the actual amount paid each month could easily be adapted, and even reduced, according to the cost of the restaurant. This system had been introduced on a trial basis to relieve the work of the Treasurer on the wine tasting evenings and the committee fully supported his request.  It was not felt by the committee that this was a change that required the approval of an AGM.

 

  1. Rod Anderton also felt that the two issues should have had approval from the membership. He also repeated a frequent complaint that we are a Wine Society and not a dining club and more emphasis should be laid upon the wine, with food being a secondary consideration.  Terry Sewell strongly disagreed with this last point saying that at a previous dinner the food had been very disappointing and might lead to prospective members not wishing to join the Society.  He felt that the food has to be good to complement the wines.  Neville Richardson added that with the proposed changes to the programme for 2022 members will be able to “vote with their feet” on which they feel is most important.

 

  • The increase to the membership fee was duly put before the membership for approval. Proposed: Neville Richardson, seconded: Maureen Holliday.  There were no dissentions.

 

  • The trial system of bank transfers was also put to the membership for approval. Proposed: Phil Fraser, Seconded:  Gordon Sellars.  There were no dissentions.

 

  1. Proposed Budget 2022

 

The Treasurer issued a sheet explaining his budget proposal for this year.  He feels strongly that the Society should not build up a large quantity of assets and that the balance of holdings should be kept to no more than approximately €2,000 to allow for any unexpected costs.  He also explained that it was difficult to forecast attendances this year in view of the current uncertainties.

 

The President thanked the Treasurer for his hard work.

 

  1. Programme 2022

 

You may recall we explained at our AGM in June our intention to step change our programme for the year with the idea of introducing various new activities but at the same time ensuring we do not lose the uniqueness of what makes our tastings so enjoyable. In November we held our first planning meeting with our Tasting

Team who kindly agreed to work together with me in achieving a varied and interesting programme.

 

They are: Neville & Sara Richardson, Andrew & Kathy Johnson, Gordon & Caryl Sellars, Paul & Helen Nicholls, Hugh & Gillian Epsom and Neil Robertson & Vicky Wyatt.

 

As you know many of you completed the recent survey we issued in our newsletter which provides us with good feedback to be able to meet what our membership would like to see with our tastings. With this information we can then adapt our programme accordingly.

 

The enthusiastic response from the Tasting Team has resulted in a varied programme for the coming year. A combination of existing style of tastings with some new activities which will provide an interesting programme. We also plan whenever possible to select a wide variety of good and very good wines which we are able to taste and purchase at very reasonable prices. This has always been our objective within CBWS.

 

We plan to publish the programme three months in advance as it is better to do that than publish an annual programme as we want to have the flexibility to change things if required. You will therefore see on the website the first three months of tastings and that will be updated on a regular basis. For new members remember to diary the third Thursday of every month except July and August when we do not meet, and December which is always the second Thursday, so that you can attend our tastings.

 

Here are the planned tastings to June:

 

  • February

A wine pairing menu at Republic Restaurant, Marina de Denia

organised by Caryl and Gordon Sellars

  • March

Wine Quiz hosted by Neville and Sara Richardson at Restaurante Los Amigos

Javea.

  • April

Priorat wines presented by Paul and Helen Nicholls Restaurante

A Bordo, Club Náutico, Javea

  • May

A visit from a Master of Wine based in London hosted by Neil

Robertson & Vicki Wyatt at Les Rotes Denia.

  • June As a departure from the usual Wine dinner a visit to a local

bodega has been organised starting at 16.30 with a tasting and early

evening tapas, organised by Neville and Sara Richardson.

 

Our visit to Puerto Blanco, Calpe will take place in September, hosted by Andrew and Kathy Johnson.

 

The programme from October to December will be advised later in the year.

 

 

 

 

Wine Trip – Proposed Dates May 2-5

The Wine Trip team will be visiting the chosen DO in February and as soon as they are able to confirm that the Trip will go ahead they will advise everyone and begin to take bookings.

 

  1. Wine Scoring

Neville Richardson again went over the new system of scoring wines at the monthly tastings which is designed to ensure that the wines are judged on their characteristics rather than whether we “like them or not”.  He made the following points.

  • The old system needed changing
  • We taste both good wines and very good wines but are unlikely to be tasting wines that would score into the 90’s
  • Is it a good wine? Not – Do I like it?
  • The guidance on scoring levels has been removed – score it what it deserves!
  • The section for Balance should be judged according to the balance between Fruit/ Tannins/ Alcohol/ acidity/ freshness. If all these elements are in balance it can be scored higher.

 

The President thanked Neville and also suggested that the wine receiving the highest points at the end of the year could receive a prize for the bodega.

 

  1. Any Other Business

 

There being no other business the President closed the meeting at 19.25