The Vintners’ Company Annual Review 2011-2012
Contents 2 3 4 5 6 9 10 15
The Company’s Bell Committees and Appointments What a Year Master and Wardens, 2012-2013 Obituaries Scholarships and Bursaries Court Visit to Bordeaux The Trade Liaison Committee
16 18 20 20 21 22 24 26
The Staff The Wine Guild of Basel Membership 2011-2012 Common Hall 2012 My Year with our Swans The Vintners’ Foundation Over 60 Years a Vintner HM Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee 28 The Master’s Year
30 Visit to 31 Squadron at RAF Marham, Norfolk 32 A Step into the Unknown 33 RTR Bobsleighing 34 1 RTR in Afghanistan 35 68 Upper Thames Street and Anchor Alley 38 Finance and Investments 41 Sports Highlights 2011-2012 43 Master’s Day Out
Covers: 'Elizabeth', the largest (tenor) bell from the Diamond Jubilee Peal, and commissioned by the Vintners' Company. Photos: Dickon Love
The Company’s Bell Early in 2012, the Company was approached by Assistant and Alderman Andrew Parmley, on behalf of St James Garlickhythe, the Company’s church. He sought our support for a project to commission a ring of eight bells for the church to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The Clerk immediately indicated that the Company would like to purchase the largest, tenor bell, beating the Dyers’ Company to it by a whisker. Fortunately the Court agreed, and so started a project that captured the imagination and interest not only of the Company, but also of the nation. The Company’s bell was cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, which has been casting bells for over 400 years. The casting, on 17 February 2012, was witnessed by the Master, the Clerk and the General Manager, and they were surprised to see ‘Elizabeth’ written in chalk on the outside of the casing. It transpired that Her Majesty had given permission, in her Diamond Jubilee year, for each of the eight bells to be named after members of the Royal Family, with the largest bell naturally named after her. This was a huge added bonus to the project. The casting was a spectacular event, with
sparks and smoke flying from the molten metal as it was poured into the casing. The bell weighs over half a tonne, and has the Vintners’ Company’s coat of arms on one side, together with the Company’s motto Vinum Exhilarat Animum and Presented by the Vintners’ Company. On the other side are the Royal Arms, the words Elizabeth II R and the text The Royal Jubilee Bells Ring Today to the Glory of God 2012. Having cooled, and been polished and tuned, all eight bells were hung on a specially-constructed metal tower on a barge, which then led the flotilla of 1,000 boats in Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant on 3 June. As the barge moved majestically down river, the bells, under the direction of the Captain of the Royal Jubilee Bellringers, Dickon Love, rang out as they passed each City church, whose bells pealed in response. It was a magically musical experience watched and enjoyed by millions. By 17 June, the bells had been dismounted from the barge, and were lined up in the aisle of St James Garlickhythe. There they were dedicated by the Right Reverend John Waine, former Bishop of Chelmsford, at a special service attended by the Master Elect, Michael Cox, the Clerk and their wives. On 11 July, the Company’s bell summoned the Company to St James for the newly-installed Master’s Installation Service. At the end of that service, all the bells rang out for the first time, to celebrate the Master’s Installation. The whole bell project has played a wonderful part in the Company’s year, and especially so to celebrate Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee. It is wonderful to think that the Company has provided a legacy for Vintry Ward where, God willing, the bells will ring out for many hundreds of years to come. Mike Smythe
Committees and Appointments
Many thanks to members who have supplied the photographs used in this review; and also to Nick Panagakis, [email protected]
for his unfailing help at events
For the Master’s Year 2012/2013 Master and Wardens’ Committee (monthly) J M G Cox .............................. (Chairman and as Master) A R J Sykes............................ (Upper Warden) R J Clevely............................. (Renter Warden) A S P Leschallas .................. (Swan Warden) (in place of the late PD Sandeman) M J Turner ............................. (Immediate Past Master) Investment Committee (4 a year) S Dow .................................... (Chairman) J M G Cox .............................. (as Master) R J Clevely ............................ (as Renter Warden) M J Turner Liveryman P Bowman Liveryman D A Delaforce Liveryman A F de C Paynter Liveryman M A Wagner Freeman G J Dale Court Selection Committee (as required) J M G Cox .............................. (Chairman and as Master) A R J Sykes............................ (as Upper Warden) R J Clevely............................. (as Renter Warden) A S P Leschallas ................... (as Swan Warden) M J Turner.............................. (as Immediate Past Master) W D Robson ......................... (as Court Warden) A Platt M A T Davies A C Parmley ......................... (as Junior Assistant) Membership Committee (5 a year) A W C Edwards ................... (Chairman) J M G Cox ............................... (as Master) S Dow A R J Sykes R J Clevely Vintners’ Foundation Committee (4 a year) J M G Cox .............................. (Chairman and as Master) R J Clevely............................. (as Renter Warden) Canon M Oakley .................. (as Chaplain) R J Rolls Liveryman E C F Bowen Liveryman Miss S Langton Liveryman S N McMurtrie Freeman R Watkins Treasures Committee (2 a year) A W C Edwards ................... (Chairman) J M G Cox .............................. (as Master) M H R Hasslacher Liveryman Miss L A Best-Shaw Liveryman J F B Brownsdon MW Liveryman Mrs L M C Lindblom Liveryman J A Stuart-Grumbar Wine Committee (4 a year) A R J Sykes .......................... (Chairman) J M G Cox .............................. (as Master) M J Turner Liveryman J R J Davy Liveryman M C Metcalfe Liveryman J C O Simpson MW Liveryman Ms M F Waters MW
Trade Liaison Committee (4 a year) M A T Davies ........................ (Chairman) J M G Cox .............................. (as Master) S Dow R J Clevely Liveryman S G F Berry Liveryman Mrs S D McCraith MW Court Warden Committee (as required) A Platt .................................... (Chairman) J M G Cox .............................. (as Master) T J Hood M H R Hasslacher Trustees, Wine & Spirit Education Trust E P Demery CVO Liveryman J C O Simpson MW Liveryman Ms M F Waters MW Trustees, Pension Fund (2 a year) S Dow .................................... (Chairman) A W C Edwards Liveryman E R Lines The Clerk Vintners’ Scholars’ Trustees A R J Sykes R J Clevely The Clerk Freemen’s Social Committee (as required) Freeman Miss A C P Hunt (Chairman) Freeman D R Dix Liveryman M R Blundell (ex officio) Freeman C M M Hamilton Freeman N Llewellyn Freeman G Smith-Walker Freeman F St Johnston Golf Captain S Dow Golf Secretary Liveryman J G F Stoy Cricket Captain Liveryman P M Tuck MW Skiing Captain Liveryman G Stoy Sailing Captain Freeman Miss A C P Hunt Liaison Officer with RTR Liveryman A O Blayney Liaison Officer with 31 Squadron RAF Liveryman R P P Wilson Swan Liaison Officer Liveryman Miss S L Langton NB: The Clerk attends most committees in an ex-officio capacity.
What a Year Michael Turner, Master 2011-2012
‘Are you looking forward to your year?’ I was asked by a number of Liverymen in June of last year. Well, frankly no (although I hope that wasn’t what I said). I found the whole idea rather daunting and, with a day job to hold down, the time commitment seemed a serious challenge. How wrong can one be? I have had the most wonderful year, representing your Company at events that I otherwise might never have attended. One of my first official engagements was at Canary Wharf, to wish good luck to the 125 taxis that take terminally-ill children and their families to Disneyland Paris. (The Vintners sponsor one of the taxis.) So struck were Diana and I by this magical event, where all the taxi drivers give their time free to enhance the lives of these remarkably brave children, that this year Fuller, Smith & Turner will also be sponsoring a taxi. In this historic year the Great Twelve livery companies got together to present a gift to the Sovereign. On the advice of HRH Prince William, this took the form of a contribution to Fields in Trust, a charity close to Her Majesty’s heart, whereby open spaces are purchased in trust for the benefit of the public. Collectively we raised £150,000 for this excellent cause, and have preserved twelve playing fields in perpetuity. The Great Twelve also raised a further £155,000, paid over a three-year period to the Ron Pickering Foundation, to support twenty young British athletes. I am delighted to say that nine of them were selected for Team GB at the Olympics. The livery movement is extremely generous in its donations to charities and schools, and we all have a responsibility to ensure that the Vintners play their full part. I hope you all give to the Vintners’ Foundation on a regular basis. If you don’t, but would like to, our new Clerk, Jonathan Bourne-May, will be happy to explain how this can be done in the most tax-effective manner. During my year I have been to the Lord Mayor’s Banquet at Guildhall; to a Garden Party at Buckingham
Palace; and to lunch with the judges at the Old Bailey. These were all amazing occasions. There were also the one-off events for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee that showed how loved the Queen is by her people. The casting of the largest of the new bells for St James Garlickhythe, sponsored by the Vintners’ Company, and named ‘Elizabeth’, was extremely exciting. The procession of boats in the Diamond Jubilee Pageant was a real adventure, when I, my Wardens and the Clerk took part on the Great Twelve’s vessel, amongst 72 Masters, Wardens and Clerks dressed in full regalia with Tudor hats and gowns. We had a great view, and when the rain came down the fur kept us dry … for a while. At the conclusion of the event everyone went below decks for tea and a cucumber sandwich (how very British). The smell of warm damp fur, with steam rising from the robes, was like a room full of wet Labradors. Two days later I hosted a table at the Diamond Jubilee Lunch at Westminster Hall, organised by the Livery of all the companies. This moment will stay with me forever, with the National Children’s Orchestra playing throughout, State Trumpeters, the Yeomen of the Guard, and the wonderful pomp and circumstance of such events in a historic building which dates from 1097, in the company of all the Royal Family. I really felt part of history. The Vintners’ dinners have all been happy events, with the Livery in good spirits and with very good wines. Perhaps the best was the visit of the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress and their entourage, in very relaxed mood. Their thank-you letters showed that for them too this was a highlight of a very busy year. You will read elsewhere of our trip to Bordeaux, where we were greeted as emissaries of the English wine trade, their oldest sizeable market, and treated like kings. I was also lucky enough to go to Morzine with the Vintners’ ski team. The whole weekend was enormous fun in lashings of powder snow. Competing under floodlights in a parallel slalom certainly got the
blood flowing. If any of you are thinking of joining the team next year, I can heartily recommend it. I have already booked myself in! The Trade Liaison Committee, under Past Master Mickey Davies, has made great strides in putting the Vintners’ Company at the centre of the UK wine trade. There are exciting plans to be unveiled soon to bring the Company onto the radar of the World wine trade too. During the year significant changes have been made to our Corporate Governance. First there was the election by the Court of a Court Warden, to liaise on behalf of the Past Masters with the Master and Wardens, as well as acting as Senior Past Master. The role of Father of the Court continues, and is undertaken by the longest serving Past Master, although this role is now rather more ceremonial. During the year a number of distinguished Past Masters took emeritus status as our retirement age of 80 took effect. The Court also made the decision to appoint a number of Court Apprentices each year to the Court for a period of one year. This will give a larger number of individuals an understanding of the Court and its workings. It will also give the Court an opportunity to work with a wider range of potential candidates. At the end of their year these Court Apprentices will rejoin the Livery. Common Hall, in May, was once again an opportunity for Vintners to learn more about the workings of
the Company and ask questions. One particular question asked whether the Company is a democracy or an oligarchy. The answer is that it is an oligarchy, because the running of the Company is in the hands of a small group of individuals, in this case the Court. An interesting thing that arose out of researching this question is that the Company is run for the benefit of the Company, not for the benefit of its members. This makes it easier to pursue long-term policies, which of course is why we will be celebrating our 650th anniversary next year. It also enables us to concentrate on our links with the trade and charitable giving. So have Diana and I enjoyed our year as Master and Mistress? Yes. We can’t believe how much fun we have had, and are both extremely flattered and honoured to have represented the Vintners’ Company at so many wonderful events. I would like to end by thanking Mike and Carole Smythe for their company and guidance throughout our year, and Steve Marcham and all his staff. Nothing has been too much trouble, and the standard they set is exemplary. I would also like to thank Diana for encouraging, enthusing, and at all times amusing me and everyone else. We have had a wonderful year, and hope that all the Vintners have too. Michael Turner Master 2011-2012
Master and Wardens, 2012-2013
Michael Cox Master
Anthony Sykes Upper Warden
Rupert Clevely Renter Warden
Simon Leschallas Swan Warden
Obituaries Past Master Francis John Avery On 23rd March, 2012, Past Master John Avery shocked the world of wine, and the Vintners’ Company, with his sudden death after a heart attack. Born in Bristol in 1941 and educated at Clifton College and Lincoln College, Oxford, John became a Freeman of the Vintners’ Company in 1964, and a Liveryman later the same year. He joined the Court in 1998 and became Master in 2004, a year notable for the amazing photograph of the Master, dressed in combat gear, hardly fitting into the turret of a tank on exercise with the Royal Tank Regiment on the plains of Alberta. He became a Master of Wine in 1975, having joined the family firm of Avery’s of Bristol in 1966, where he became Chairman when his father Ronald died in 1976. He was elected Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine in 2000. By that time he was already acknowledged around the world as a leading proponent of New World wines. He first visited California in 1965, and Australia and New Zealand in the early 1970s. His thirst for fresh, interesting, high-quality wines saw him lead the way by imparting wonderful surprises to his unsuspecting customers in England. Names such as Grange Hermitage, Cloudy Bay, Hamilton Russell and Tyrrell burst forth into Avery’s Wine List. John, with his usual panache and exuberance, introduced them at tastings, and persuaded his customers to buy. This led to him being accepted as one of the most skilled and knowledgeable experts on New World wines. He was a judge at many of the leading wine shows in Australia, New Zealand, California and South Africa, and more recently in Singapore and Hong Kong as well, often being Chief Judge on a very distinguished panel. John’s life was not limited to his wine tasting ability, or his prodigious memory for wines he had tasted, their origin and with whom he had tasted them. He was also an enthusiastic ‘Angel’ for many of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals. Whilst at Oxford, perhaps surprisingly to those who met him in his later years, he obtained a Blue for Skiing. In fact he was on the slopes at Obergurgl only two weeks before he died. You could say that he ‘went out on a high’: having
dined with the Bristol Commanderie de Bordeaux on Friday, and joined the Bollinger Party at Twickenham the following day, he suffered his fatal attack at home that evening. John was always on the move, and one of his most endearing qualities was his total inability to say ‘no’ to an enticing invitation. This often led to an overcharged diary, a headlong dash between events and a marginally late arrival. Dinner with John and Sarah was always a treat. There would often be a topical theme running through the choice of wines. Sometimes this would be his guests’ birth year. On other occasions it was a single vintage from various parts of the world, or the subtle differences between the vintages of a single vineyard. There was also a surprising range of fellow guests winemakers, churchmen, judges or actors - but never a dull moment. John loved the Vintners’ Company, and was proud to be a member. He gave distinguished service and rarely missed a Company event. He also did his best to promote the wine trade education side of the Company. He was a lecturer and board member of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, in addition to his services to the Institute of Masters of Wine. He was President of the International Wine and Food Society, and wine adviser to a number of other livery companies. He also advised Her Majesty’s Government about wines to be served on public and ceremonial occasions, having for a number of years been on the committee for Government hospitality. After forty-eight years as a Vintner, Past Master Avery leaves a legacy with the Vintners’ Company, having ensured that his son and daughters became Freemen and Liverymen. His gifted, lovable, energetic and sizeable presence will be sorely missed by all who knew him. Past Master Jim Hood Liveryman John Harvey May 2012
Patrick David Sandeman 1958-2012 Swan Warden Patrick Sandeman, who was tragically killed in a skydiving accident on 22nd September, 2012, was born on 6th October, 1958, in Haywards Heath. He was the fourth of six children born to David and Teresa (née Valdespino) Sandeman, and was the descendant of two great sherry houses in Jerez, Spain. At Ampleforth College he excelled at sport, representing the school at rugby, athletics and cross-country. Following a gap year, and a spell as a teaching assistant back at Ampleforth, Patrick went to the City of London Polytechnic to read Business Studies, qualifying as a Chartered Company Secretary. His long-held ambition to join the family port and sherry business in London, and to work alongside his father, uncle and older brother, was thwarted when in 1979 the House of Sandeman was acquired by Seagram. However, keen to keep the family involved in the business, Seagram engaged Patrick in 1982 in a role which embraced the wider world of wines. His first posting was with Barton & Guestier in Bordeaux and later in Paris, during which time he became engaged to Katie Fuller. They married in 1983 and settled in Putney. In 1986 Patrick joined Layton’s Wine Merchants, where he met his soon-to-be partner, Charles Lea. With Charles’s buying expertise, and Patrick now an accomplished retailer, the two hatched their plan for a business which would combine their skills as retail and wholesale merchants: they would buy wines that they liked, direct from sources that they liked, and from people that they liked. By June 1988, Lea & Sandeman commenced trading in Battersea. A second shop was opened at the top of Kensington Church Street in 1993, followed by a third in Barnes High Street in 1995. Bolstered by success, the duo acquired the butcher’s shop at 170 Fulham Road and relocated their office headquarters there. The next opening was in Chiswick in 2010, thus expanding their coverage of West London. While Patrick and Charles were the figureheads of the business, Patrick’s wife Katie was the person who made it work. Patrick and Katie worked side by side, and her flair for organisation and endless energy ensured that the never-ending accounting
and administration burden was well managed. Patrick was an incredibly hard-working, focussed and dedicated businessman. He took the greatest pride and pleasure in Lea & Sandeman. He had many passions, chief of which was his family. He was an exceptional and dedicated parent, forever putting his family first. He liked people and people liked him. He was a very good, kind and loyal friend. The twinkle in his eye indicated a naughty streak. Patrick was also a fine cook and, as might be expected, a very hospitable host. He shot, he skied, and was no stranger to adrenalin. In his fifties he continued to enjoy what are widely considered to be younger men’s pursuits. He drove a motorbike (too fast), he sailed (too fast), and he ran (quite fast), taking part in the London Marathon in 2011. He took up skydiving in 1994, which gave him enormous pleasure. He completed 700 jumps, occasionally bunking off work when the skies were clear and his bike was ready to go. Patrick Sandeman became a Freeman of the Vintners’ Company in May 1994, and joined the Livery in January 1997. He was elected a Court Assistant in October 2009 and became Swan Warden in July 2012, carrying out his duties admirably during the Swan Voyage of that year – when the traditional ‘Upping’ week had to be cancelled due to a swollen and dangerous River Thames. Despite this setback, Patrick ensured that a brood of cygnets was duly marked as Vintner swans, and proposed the Loyal Toast. Patrick is survived by his wife Katie and three children Natasha (27), Edward (25) and Georgie (21). Patrick’s family have set up a charitable fund, ‘Patrick Sandeman, Funding Extraordinary Journeys for People with Spinal Injuries’, under the auspices of Southern Spinal Injuries Trust. To donate, please go to http:// www.justgiving.com/Patrick-Sandeman-fundingextraordinary-journeys. In her tribute to Patrick, Jancis Robinson OBE wrote: ‘I’m sure I am not alone in having found Patrick one of the most appealing and entertaining characters in the wine business, devastatingly handsome but not intimidatingly so, charming but not oleaginous, well-informed but engaging, and great company. He was extremely talented in his ability to hand-pick great wines. He occupied a unique place in the world of wine, and was a thoroughly benign, modernising member of the Vintners’ Company. A very bright light has been extinguished.’ Michael Cox Master
Past Master Quentin Morgan Edwards In his tribute to my father, who died on 17 September 2012, my brother Arthur described him as ‘a Celt, but also a Roman’. Quentin was born in 1931 at the Rougemont Hotel in Exeter. His father Arthur, a hotelier from South Africa, had moved to England from Cape Town after winning an MC in the First World War. The family would maintain its links with South Africa until the 1960s, because Arthur kept a hotel in Hermanus where he and Quentin’s mother spent the British winter months. When Arthur died, Quentin was charged with selling the hotel, which he did, not returning to South Africa until Mandela came into power in 1995. Then, while Master of the Vintners in 1995/6, Quentin re-engaged his old contacts in the Cape to organize a wine tour there for the Court. Quentin was the fifth child after four daughters, hence his name. He had an idyllic childhood, and the family home – previously occupied by Vivien Leigh – was on the cliffs above Teignmouth. Quentin attended Pinewood School at Postbridge in the heart of Dartmoor during the war, and to the end of his life maintained a deep love of the moor. After Pinewood he attended Rugby, and then did his National Service. However soon after becoming an officer he was invalided out with polio, convalescing at Osborne House. He then went up to Oriel College, Oxford, to read PPE, where – as at Rugby – he formed lifelong friendships. After some time working in vineyards in France, he began work as a wine merchant with Harry Payton of Peterborough, following his father into the Vintners’ Company in 1953. He loved good wine, and enjoyed tremendously the rich traditions and history of the Company. He later moved into management consultancy with WH Smith, and married Helen, with whom he had two children, myself and my brother Arthur. He loved to entertain, and would spend hours in the kitchen cooking, accompanied by a ‘gin and french’ and extremely loud opera music. Despite being ill with hepatitis for nearly a year during the early 1970s, he decided to retrain as a solicitor, joining the firm Nabarro Nathanson as an articled clerk. Later he joined a firm in Pump Court and ran their Croydon office, which later became Morgan Edwards and Kaye. Meanwhile he was much involved in Chelsea life, first
with St Luke’s church, where he was a churchwarden, and then as Chairman of the Chelsea Society. He was a force in the landscaping of Dovehouse Green to mark the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. He also led the battle against having the Katyn Memorial sited in the gardens of St Luke’s, where it would have dominated the entire space. He was also until recently Chairman of the local Residents’ Association in Chelsea. He was a man of firm views but also of great foresight, helped by his prodigious appetite for reading, his background in PPE and his intense interest in history, current affairs and politics. Concerned by its line on the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Quentin wrote to the Economist saying that he was cancelling the subscription he had continued for over fifty years until they changed their Editor! He never did re-subscribe. To the uninitiated, Quentin may have appeared a rather predictable conservative dinosaur. Yet he loved to engage in conversation on a wide variety of topics, ranging from politics, literature and history to art and foreign affairs. He was never afraid of arguing against the ‘establishment’ line, and had an innate sense of justice for the most vulnerable. He gave advice and wrote letters on behalf of people needing support, and was sympathetic to the plight of the poorer communities among whom he worked when practising as a solicitor in Thornton Heath. He was moved by art, history, travel and theatre, and made an effort to inculcate this appreciation in us, his children. He adored driving ‘on the Continent’, as he would say. His last trip abroad was one such drive in April 2010, when the Past Masters’ Association participated in the Sechseläuten festival in Zurich. He insisted on driving himself and Helen out to Switzerland. It was only on arrival that they learnt of the ash cloud which had prevented other Past Masters from flying to Zurich! Sadly, by this stage the illness from which he was already suffering (Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, a very nasty form of Parkinsons) was about to be diagnosed. His last two-and-a-half years were frustrating, as he became increasingly immobile. However he maintained his interest in reading, and managed to make many outings. He bore his illness without complaint and with great courage and died, aged 81, after a difficult summer Lucy Morgan Edwards
Scholarships and Bursaries General Education Nilufa Yasmin Sir John Cass Red Coat School, Stepney
Art Wine Label Award Celia Bannerman City & Guilds of London Art School The Alan Coldwells Bursary Greencoat School Stepney
The Master with Celia Bannerman
Wine The Vintners’ Scholar (at Diploma Level) Emma Harrison (The Sampler) The Vintners’ Bursaries (at Advanced Certificate Level) Alexandra Howard (Fine & Rare Wines) Ella Lister (Octavian) Nicholas Tynan (Majestic) Hors Concours Jane Hyde
General The Davies/Langton Memorial Award No award was made this year.
Nicholas Tynan, Alexandra Howard and Ella Lister with Michael Cox and Jancis Robinson
Emma Harrison with Michael Cox
Jane Hyde with Michael Cox and Jancis Robinson
Court Visit to Bordeaux Monday 16th April to Friday 20th April, 2012 We had a magnificent week in Bordeaux, and the late John Avery was very much in our thoughts. John was revered in the world of wine, and nowhere more so than in Bordeaux. John, you would have loved it! How else do you get to visit the Grand Crus châteaux of both the left and the right banks in such depth? Only the privileged few get to dine at Château Margaux with Paul Pontallier, at Château Cos D’Estournel with Jean-Guillaume Prats, at Château Langoa-Barton with Anthony Barton and at Château Hosanna with Edouard Moueix. These people have crafted some of the world’s greatest wines. Money can’t buy experiences like this. As for the vintages themselves, money can buy them, but you now need more and more. Recent vintages are no longer wines but commodities. Prices have risen dramatically, particularly for the 2009 and 2010 vintages, fuelled by the Asian markets. This has added to the excitement about the release of the 2011 vintage, when we hope for a 40% reduction against 2010. When we left Gatwick, anticipation was high. Day One was to start with a visit to Château Margaux, in Haut-Médoc, including lunch to be hosted by the General Manager, Paul Pontallier. We were not to be disappointed. Château Margaux is a truly imposing house, as well as one of the élite First Growths of the classification of 1855. It has seen a succession of families down the years, and is today owned and cherished by Corinne Mentzelopoulos. Loving care was the theme of our visit: in their cooperage, where they make all of their
Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at First Growth Château Margaux
Lunch at Château Margaux. A treat in store own barrels; in their stunning barrel cellars; and in the way the tasting was presented, followed by a delicious glass of Krug with Corinne herself. During harvest, Château Margaux employs 250 pickers, most of whom come back year after year. The estate is 260 hectares, with 82 hectares of red wine and 12 of white. The red vinification is in oak vats, with the wine being subsequently aged in new oak barrels for 18-24 months. Lunch in the dining room with Paul Pontallier was exquisite. How often are you able to compare two vintages of Château Margaux? In my case, rarely if ever! We toasted our late Past Master, John Avery, and left in fine spirits after photos were taken on the grand steps. We next headed a few kilometres north to Château Pontet-Canet, in the commune of Pauillac, one of the biggest estates in the Médoc. In the eighteenth century Jean-Francois de Pontet, Governor of the Médoc, combined several plots in Pauillac. His descendants added neighbouring vines in a place called Canet, hence the name. Pontet-Canet is a Fifth Growth, but today the quality of its wines would probably position it as a Second Growth. Guy Tesseron acquired the property in 1975. Today it is run by his son Alfred, and Alfred’s niece, Melanie. This is the only Grand Cru Classé château in Bordeaux that is produced 100% bio-dynamically, and this is the third year of its pesticide-free approach. As we stood in the cool sunshine, the vineyards stretched to the horizon,
with horses travelling up and down the vineyards. Horse power has increasingly replaced tractor power, as it lessens the carbon footprint, does not compact the soil so much, and is less likely to damage the vines. After a quick tour we were joined by Alfred Tesseron, who encouraged us to ‘wait for the taste of the wine to speak’. Normally properties of this size have a viticulturist and an oenologist, but here one man handles both: Jean-Michel Comme. This was a stunning visit with stunning wines, a fine end to a long and exhilarating day. Day Two started with a short journey to the Second Growth Château Montrose, in St-Estèphe. We were met by the very charming Nicolas Glumineau. Château Montrose is a muscular wine that often needs decades to fully mature. This property has 95 hectares, and including its second wine produces over 300,000 bottles a year. Grape varieties are 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc and 32% Merlot, with the remaining 2% Petit Verdot. All the grapes are picked by hand. As we stood outside, surrounded by the vineyards and the well-presented estate buildings, we could not help being impressed by the care and attention to detail. Nicolas led a ‘vertical tasting’ from 2011 back to 2000. He is obsessed by tannin, which should be silky and sweet rather than stringent. Unlike Pontet-Canet, he has no intention of applying bio-dynamic tech-
Alfred Tesseron clearly delighted with the Master’s gift
niques. The estate is however very focused on sustainability, in particular geothermal refrigeration, solar panels and water recycling. In Nicolas’ opinion it is the leader in this respect in the Médoc. When questioned about the expected release price for Château Montrose 2011, he said he would wait for the First Growths before making a decision. Only the day before, Château Lafite had come out with a 30% reduction in price. The others had yet to follow. We said goodbye to Nicolas and travelled only a few hundred metres to the pagoda-topped Château Cos D’Estournel. By now it was mid morning, and a rainy and windswept day was upon us. We shivered in the April gloom. As we entered the dark, rich interior, Géraldine Santier was there to meet us. With a vast drawing room in what was formerly a barrel room, Bio-dynamic farming at Pontet-Canet in 2012 behind the unusual sandstone exterior, the place was spectacular. A magnificently modern gravity-fed vat room was visible to the rear. Here pumps have been banished. The winemaking embodies simplicity, allowing the land and grapes to express themselves. Jean-Guillaume Prats, the President of the Property, joined us for the tasting and exquisite lunch. We tasted the whole 2011 range, from their Goulée Blanc through to the Cos
Tasting at Château Montrose on Day Two
Excited about the day ahead
d’Estournel, while the wines at lunch showed the full character and depth of the château. Jean-Guillaume was extremely good company, and expected the 2011 en primeur pricing to be at least 30% lower than the previous vintage. The Master gave a fine speech of thanks, and Jean-Guillaume gratefully accepted the Vintners’ scroll. By now it was pouring with rain, but only three minutes away across the valley, in Pauillac, lay Château Lafite-Rothschild, in recent times possibly the King of First Growths. Here the surrounding land is really quite hilly for this part of Bordeaux. We ran in from the bus, and Nicolas Quiet hosted us in a very relaxed and informal manner. After the newly-refurbished world of our previous visit, Lafite seemed rather low key, and certainly very understated.
We moved quickly through the vat halls, and through the cellar vaults where priceless old vintages lay, into the magnificent circular barrel hall. We tasted the 2011 in almost complete darkness. In a gentle way it reminded us that a case or two of Lafite is almost the same price as a gold bar. Here they work in a very traditional manner. They age the new wines for 18 months in only new barrels, and the wine is normally bottled in July, some 22 months after the grapes are first picked. That night we ate in the Café Lavinal in Bages, next door to Château Lynch-Bages. The famous names are so close to each other that you can almost reach out and touch them. Day Three: thankfully the weather had cheered up a bit. First we visited Château Beychevelle, in Saint-
Château Beychevelle still in hibernation
visit. We had heard great things about the winery and Julien, which has long had close links to the British were not disappointed. It is a magnificent contempwine trade. This beautiful château hides its glory from orary structure that gently rises from the vineyards, the road; it is only as you wander through the garden softened by a grass-covered roof and steps to a rooftop that you realise its full majesty. Long ago it was owned garden. Inside, its immaculately-presented, glassby Jean-Louis Nogaret de la Valette, Grand Admiral of lined, cement vats stand resplendent. The cellar is also France. Legend has it that passing ships had to dip newly built, and design matches purpose their sails in salute, hence the name, perfectly. Beychevelle, which means ‘lowering the He is well known for Château Magdelaine is situated close sail’, the emblem on the château’s wine to the town of St Emilion, on the edge of labels. Here we were met by Susan Glize, saying, ‘I want the St Martin plateau. The 10.5 hectares who is English, but has lived in Bordeaux people to buy my of vines surround the château which for many years. This château had wine and drink it. today, sadly, is uninhabited. Merlot recently changed hands and was about to start a period of renovation. That is why I release accounts for 90%. Tasting the wines in the cellar, formed out of the natural Average annual production is 40my entire stock at en limestone caves, we were entertained by 50,000 cases, and here too they follow traditional vinification, yet age only 50% primeur time, and try Nathalie Millaire, who works for the Moueix family, who own and operate of the wine in new barrels. The tasting to keep it reasonably eleven châteaux in the area. They room looked out across the wonderful priced.’ maintain real family business ideals. gardens, with a proud male peacock Vintage time provides bonding for the prancing by. whole team, including the 50-80 pickers who annually Literally two minutes up the road, we arrived at make the pilgrimage to Bordeaux from their other life Château Langoa-Barton. Anthony Barton was there to on the French railways! In particular, at the end of the greet us, immaculately dressed. In the tasting room, vintage, the family host an annual dinner/dance for all Anthony hosted a wonderful selection of wines from those involved. This year there will be a Chinese his châteaux Langoa-Barton and Léoville-Barton, from theme. the soon-to-be-bottled 2011 back to the vintage of Lunch was a short distance away at Château 2004. He is well known for saying, ‘I want people to Hosanna, on the edge of the village of Pomerol, where buy my wine and drink it. That is why I release my we met Edouard Moueix. The château is recently entire stock at en primeur time, and try to keep it restored, and we were entertained to a truly delicious reasonably priced.’ We were beautifully wined and meal accompanied by great wines. The main markets dined by him and his daughter Lilian, and thoroughly for the Moueix family, apart from Great Britain, are enjoyed the garden after lunch. He is a man of great Belgium, America and the rest of Europe. Edouard gave charisma, and a good friend to the Vintners’ Company, a splendid toast in honour of John Avery, and the having hosted Court trips in the past. Master responded eloquently. Bidding a fond farewell, we journeyed for two Our last visit of the day was to Château L’Evangile, hours in more pouring rain to St Emilion, and our very in Pomerol, only a few hundred yards across the vines. pleasant hotel. By the morning of Day Four, the Corinne Gracian was there to meet us. Here 80% of weather was looking a little better. We travelled five production is Merlot, the remaining 20% being Cabernet minutes to Château Cheval Blanc, the first Premier Franc. Once again, they gravity-feed the new wine Grand Cru Classé ‘A’ of St Emilion, near the borders of from vat to barrel, in a very simple manner. This property the Pomerol appellation. It has 37 hectares of vineyards is another owned by the Rothschild family. They have in one single block, with 58% Cabernet Franc and 42% 16 hectares under vine and the vineyards are bordered Merlot. The château was purchased in 1998 by Baron to the north by Château Pétrus, and to the south by Albert Frère and by Bernard Arnault. Pierre Lurton is Cheval Blanc. the CEO. Our host was Stephanie Duhar, and we were As is often the case on the last day, we woke to very privileged to receive such a detailed and in-depth
Looking across St Emilion from the terrace at Château Magdelaine
This was a very successful week. We covered the famous names of Bordeaux from top to tail; we tasted many, many wines; we were entertained royally; and we saw Bordeaux in rude health.
Deep in thought at La Mission Haut-Brion lovely weather! We said goodbye to our hotel, and travelled to Graves. Our first stop was Château Haut-Bailly. This château is 48 metres above sea level, which means that it often does well in poor, wet vintages. Its wines have now regained the reputation they enjoyed in the nineteenth century, when the estate was referred to as a Cru Exceptionnel. It is beautifully and elegantly maintained, with a delightful, well-organised shop. The General Manager, Véronique Sanders, kindly asked us to stay for lunch, but with little time to spare, we sadly had to decline. Soon after, we arrived for our final visit at the majestic gates of Château La Mission Haut-Brion. The TGV railway, overhead cables and proximity to the edge of Bordeaux seemed an unnatural fit for one of the finest wines Bordeaux has to offer. This château until modern times has been completely separate from
Château Haut-Brion, across the road, taking its name from its owners before the Revolution, the Lazarite Friars. We were met by Laetitia Dubos and quickly ushered into the barrel hall, another breathtaking room with a great deal of history and the famous cross, the estate symbol, resplendent on the wall. We were then shown upstairs to the tasting room where Laetitia put on a wonderful tasting, and Patrick Baseden, an old friend of the UK trade, joined us. We then headed for the airport and return flight. This was a very successful week. We covered the famous names of Bordeaux from top to tail; we tasted many, many wines; we were entertained royally; and we saw Bordeaux in rude health. Thanks must go to Hew Blair, who arranged so many of the introductions; to the Master, whose inspiration it was; and of course to our time-conscious (former) Clerk, Mike Smythe, who organised everything in the finest detail. We had maximum time in the fields and minimum time travelling. Rupert Clevely Swan Warden
The Trade Liaison Committee Sam Dow in his year as Master Vintner felt strongly that the Vintners’ Company should review its relationship with the wine trade, and strengthen it if possible. The Trade Liaison Committee was established in November 2011 as a direct result of this initiative. I was honoured and flattered to be invited to chair it, but somewhat nervous to be given a completely blank sheet of paper to work out its aims, objectives and terms of reference. At the same time I was delighted to be able to persuade a team of busy and effective people to join the committee. We now have a very strong working group. The Vintners’ great history has been completely entwined with the wine trade, to ensure that the product was ‘fit for purpose’. Anybody caught adulterating wine was brought before the Court and severely punished, the ultimate sanction being dismissal from the Company and loss of livelihood. This continued almost to the present day through our supervision of the Wine Standards Board. Our other links to the trade are through wine education (both the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and the Institute of Masters of Wine having been set up by the Company); and through our commitment to the Wine & Spirit Trade Association and the Wine & Spirit Trades’ Benevolent Society. The Trade Liaison Committee has reviewed our
relationships with the various wine trade bodies, to ascertain the very best way of helping and nurturing them. It has also looked to see what else the Company can do for the trade as a whole. We believe that through the following initiatives we have extended our limited budget to create a wider relationship with ‘our’ trade: ■ Wine & Spirit Education Trust: we have agreed to host a bi-annual dinner for the WSET at Vintners’ Hall, so that those closely connected with the world’s pre-eminent wine educator both nationally and internationally can meet and enjoy our hospitality in a special venue ■ Institute of Masters of Wine: we have agreed to host an annual dinner at Vintners’ Hall for the new graduates, after the graduation ceremony ■ Wine & Spirit Trade Association: having helped finance WSTA through its formative years, we have agreed a long term annual contribution ■ UK Vineyards Association: we have offered UKVA a prestigious showcase dinner at Vintners’ Hall next year ■ Wine & Spirit Trades’ Benevolent Society: we have agreed to hold an annual lunch for the wine trade each January at Vintners’ Hall, starting in 2013. The Vintners’ Company will pay for all the food and wine, so that 100% of the ticket price can be donated to ‘The Benevolent’. This will be a topgrade networking lunch for the wine trade, and we anticipate that tickets will be on allocation. It should bring significant income to The Benevolent ■ International Wine Trade Dinner: we will be hosting a dinner at Vintners’ Hall for the International Wine Trade on the Monday evening of the London Wine Trade Fair in May 2013. This will be an enormously prestigious occasion, linked to the Company’s 650th Anniversary celebrations. We hope that it will become an annual event, which will establish Vintners’ Hall as the spiritual home of the national and international wine trade. It has been a busy few months, but I believe that Sam Dow’s vision, of the Vintners’ Company becoming closer to the wine trade, is becoming a reality. It will of course take time for these and other initiatives to filter through, but the will is there and the way is a great deal clearer. Past Master Michael Davies Chairman, Trade Liaison Committee
The Staff VALETE Houseman Alex Bonnewell After six years’ service with the Company, where he ran the Cloakroom, Alex decided that he needed a change of scene. He has now moved to Gibraltar, where he works in the security team at the airport. The Clerk – Michael Smythe After sixteen years, Mike has now left the Company’s service. He and Carole will be spending their retirement in Sussex and France. SALVETE Houseman Stephen O’Connor Stephen has joined the Company to run the Cloakroom, and to look after the front entrance and facilities for visitors to the Hall. He is also a pretty handy painter and decorator, and has already helped out during the annual maintenance of the Hall in August. Stephen lives with his partner in Southwark, and they have a baby girl. The Clerk – Jonathan Bourne-May Jonathan joined the Company in July, having served in the Coldstream Guards for 35 years. Amongst a number of interesting and sometimes unusual jobs in the Army he commanded the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards in Windsor and, later, 143 (West Midlands) Brigade based in Shrewsbury. He has also been Chief of Staff Headquarters London District at Horse Guards and has the unusual distinction of having commanded the Trooping the Colour on two successive years. He has therefore had wide experience in running and managing both soldiers and civilians in small, medium and large sized organisations within the Army in addition to being well versed in London ceremonial! He is married to Karen, has 2 grownup sons (one of whom works in the City), and lives in Hampshire. He is much looking forward to a new challenge as Clerk to the Vintners and to meeting you all during the months ahead.
Brigadier Michael Smythe OBE A Valediction Were one to be asked to define the required qualities of Clerk to one of the City of London’s Great Twelve livery companies, no research would be needed beyond a summary of the talents which Mike Smythe has deployed to the benefit of the Vintners’ Company these past sixteen years. In his speech at Mike’s farewell party last July, the Master mentioned that he qualifies as an ‘institution’, not only within the Company but far further afield. His wisdom and experience have been prized by livery companies generally and especially among the Great Twelve, but it has been with the Vintners that his loyalty has lain steadfastly throughout. He joined the Company in 1996, and immediately demonstrated the qualities acquired during his distinguished service career. He quickly got to grips with that part of his role which concerned management of the Hall and its dedicated staff, earning their respect and affection in the process. He took a keen interest in the individuals concerned with the Hall, and the Company’s affairs generally. In particular – and sometimes controversially – he was instrumental in bringing about changes which will secure the Company’s continuing relevance and vibrancy. Selection procedures have been introduced which have enhanced the quality of the organization at all levels: participation of the membership in Common Hall and the Company’s sporting and social activities has widened markedly. And all the time he has respected the traditions of the Company, ensuring that the quality of our hospitality remains second to none – not least by eating every last mouthful of the tasting menus put forward by our caterers – and by supporting the renewal of the Company’s focus on its wine trade roots. Mike also immersed himself in the Company’s charities, and had considerable influence in rationalising grant-making policy. He raised money by lengthy walks around London and along Hadrian’s Wall. He rowed the river with the Uppers, having undergone some serious training with the Swan Marker in order to qualify, and survived a 7 a.m. start after a Great Twelve dinner the night before. And on the Company’s Champagne walks, (which raised well over £100,000
for the VCCF), he always set a cracking pace – though his direction finding did not always come up to scratch! His grasp of the Company’s finances, and particularly his concern to cut costs where possible, was notable. The flow of paper dried up (almost) when computers were introduced for Court and committees, his comment being that Court members eagerly tackling their Ipads was a sight to see. He gave 100% of himself all the time, and expected the same of others. He led by example, and it is a test of any leader that things continue after they move on: his greatest legacy is the team he has built at the Hall, which is the envy of the City. What of the man himself? Always good company, courteous, attentive to detail, especially concerning dress codes – ‘Black Tie means Black Tie’ – and woe betide the wearer of brown shoes or a spotted bow tie. (In response to a Smythe encyclical on dress, a Freeman gave him a pocketful of lurid, spotted bows, which Mike took in good part.) He wasn’t over-keen on diners leaving the table for a comfort break: a note would be taken and comment passed, though always with good humour.
That was how he conducted himself: seriously, but always overlaid with a sense of humour, wicked at times. The giggles are familiar territory for him, and these came to the fore during the less formal parts of the Company’s year, such as the annual Court visits. He has throughout been cautious about his palate – at any rate in public – but his knowledge of wine and food is considerable. (He cooks a good soufflé, and his tarte tatin ‘vaut le voyage’.) He is, however, no wine and food snob, and is not averse to a glass of beer and what he describes as a brattie. Loyalty is to the fore with Mike, whether it is to his many friends or to each year’s Master. To have served as Master with Mike alongside was to enjoy the support of one dedicated to the task: no event in the year was too trivial for him to attend – always with cheerfulness and enthusiasm. His ability to get the Master to a function, well briefed and on time, was truly remarkable and he was widely known for it. He was a stickler for timekeeping; an apparently surreptitious glance at his watch was a sure signal that time was marching on. When asked by a speaker how long he had, Mike vouchsafed ‘anything between 7 and 7½ minutes’! He was an impressive ambassador for the Company and, withal, has borne himself with modesty and self-deprecation. We all wish Mike, and Carole, who has supported him so steadfastly, a long and happy retirement at their homes in France and Sussex; and hope that Liveryman Smythe will attend Company events for many years to come. Anthony Edwards Past Master
The Wine Guild of Basel Basel’s Zunft zu Weinleuten is one of its oldest guilds, founded in 1233 for the control of wine produced and sold in and around the city. At one time the ancient city walls were surrounded by vines, planted both for wine production and as an extra barrier against attack. Today’s Wine Guild is made up of over 400 members, all citizens of Basel, and mostly from the world of banking. With a waiting list of over three years, it is the most sought-after membership in the city. The Vintners’ Company’s association with the guild was started some years ago by Past Master Anthony Edwards. There is now a reciprocal annual invitation, representatives of the guild attending a dinner at Vintners’ Hall, and the Swan Warden (or this year, the Swan Warden Elect) invited to the guild’s annual day out. This year’s event took place on Saturday, 16th June 2012. It was an early start, as 230 guild members assembled at Basel’s central railway station to board buses at 7.40am for Lake Thun in the
Bernese Oberland. My host, Past Under Master Hansjörg Wirz, seated next to me on the bus, gave me a full guided tour as we wound our way through the Jura mountains. It was a gloriously sunny day, and the background of snow-capped Alps provided scenery worthy of the best Swiss chocolate box. All that was missing were the Alpine horns; they were to come later. Our arrival in the picturesque, sleepy town of Thun caused consternation as we processed through the centre, led by the magnificent guild banner, followed by drummers and pipers. Market stallholders cheered us on, tourists stood agog and the good burghers of Thun smiled kindly, largely, according to Hansjörg, because we were not making any form of collection! We arrived at the lake, and the large boat chartered by the guild, a good twenty minutes early. With typical Swiss efficiency we were made to wait until the appointed hour before embarking. The scrum that followed was impressive, as members seated themselves at tables to tuck into wine and sandwiches. Hansjörg and I made our way onto the deserted sun deck for a better view of the lake and the Bernese Alps. There is much to be said for standing on a boat on a lake surrounded by forests and mountains, watching sailing boats drift by, and counting the numerous swans and their cygnets, all bathed in gloriously warm sunshine, at ten o’clock in the
The wine flowed throughout the lengthy meal and many toasts were made, including one to the Vintners’ Company.
morning with a glass of chilled white wine in hand. Having disembarked after the lake tour we again went in procession, this time to Thun’s impressive conference and culture centre for the guild lunch. This proved to be a lengthy affair, starting just after midday and carrying on until just after five o’clock. Speeches by the young mayor of Thun, the Master (or Chairman as they call him), and others were punctuated by performances: by the guild choir, whose director, originally from Pennsylvania, is now a leading opera singer in Basel; by the guild band; by Alpine horn players; and most entertaining of all, by two yodellers. My grasp of German is poor, limited mostly to expressions from old Commando comic books, but everybody went out of their way to make me feel extremely welcome. And although the speech by the Master of the Monkeys‘ Guild (stonemasons) was extremely entertaining, presented in suitably animated fashion, I
was assured by people sitting close by that it was almost totally incomprehensible to them as well as to me, because delivered in an old dialect that very few understood. The wine flowed throughout the lengthy meal and many toasts were made, including one to the Vintners’ Company. The bus journey back to Basel became increasingly less rowdy as all, including yours truly, slipped into deep contemplation of the day’s events. It is clear that the guild members are delighted by the association with the Vintners’ Company, and extremely impressed by our efforts to attend their muchloved and extremely well-attended Guild Day. Special mention must go to Past Under Master Hansjörg, and his wife Chrissie, who offer such wonderful hospitality to Vintners’ Company members. He is a fount of knowledge about the guild’s history, and a great supporter of our own Company. Patrick Sandeman
Membership 2011-2012 There were nine admissions to the Livery during the year: Emily Davies, Nicholas Hender, Tom Cannon, Hannah Stoy, Susan Northcott, Philip Bowman, Hermione Edwards, David Cox, and Brigadier Michael Smythe. Five had joined the Company via Patrimony and four via Redemption.
Emily Davies, The Master, Nicholas Hender
The January Court of Binding, once again, proved very successful. Once ‘bound’ to the Company, the new members were escorted to Guildhall, where the Patrimony candidates received their Freedom of the City. Returning to Vintners’ Hall, they were given a tour of the main rooms followed by lunch. New Freemen of the Company were ■ Philip Bowman ■ David Cox ■ Geoffrey Dale ■ Jocelyn Fowler ■ Rachel Metcalfe ■ Julian Nicholes ■ Geoffrey Hodgson ■ Frederic St Johnston ■ Brigadier Michael Smythe. At the end of June 2012, the Livery and Court totalled 345, and the Freedom 185.
Tom Cannon, The Master, Hannah Stoy, Susan Northcott
Philip Bowman, Hermione Edwards, The Master, David Cox, Brigadier Michael Smythe
Common Hall 2012 Common Hall took place on Wednesday, 2nd May 2012, attended by sixty members of the Company and staff. In addition to the annual, very informative presentation on the Company’s finances by the Chairman of the Investment Committee and the Renter Warden, there were also presentations on the Vintners’ Foundation, by the Upper Warden, and a fascinating talk on 31 Squadron
RAF, by Squadron Leader Gareth (‘Gaz’) Littlechild. As in previous years, there was the opportunity to ask questions after the presentations. The evening concluded with the ceremonial election of the Master and Wardens for the coming year. Yet again, however, attendance could have been better. I very much hope that the lure of a good supper, together with the promise of an interesting and informative evening, will encourage more of you to attend next year. The date is Wednesday, 1st May, 2013. Make a note now! The Clerk
My Year with our Swans For most of us, mute swans are a beautiful part of the joined me for a visit. We were British scenery. We appreciate their elegance, greeted not only by Kay and strength and authority, yet perhaps are a little fearful Wendy, but also by a police car of them. I had always imagined handling a fullywith a policeman in the back holding a very calm swan. The police grown male to be a pretty challenging and frightenhad rescued it from the middle of a ing activity, let alone catching them while they are nearby dual carriageway. They seemed to guarding their partner, the mother of their cygnets. accept this as a normal part of their duties. The reality is less daunting, particularly if you know Swan Lifeline was established in 1986 for the care what you are doing. This was proved to me by our of sick and injured swans in the Thames fantastic team of Swan Uppers, led by Valley and surrounding area, and also for Martin Spencer, and by all the staff of The police had their protection and conservation. Patrick Swan Lifeline, at Cuckoo Weir Island on rescued it from the and I were very impressed by the the Thames at Eton. passion shown by the team, many of middle of a nearby whom are volunteers. Apart from The Vintners’ Swan Voyage in July 2011 dual carriageway. everyday injuries from such accidents as was fortunate to coincide with good They seemed to flying through glass greenhouses, or weather. With much excitement we from hooks and fishing lines, swans also boarded the Waterman at Hurley Lock, accept this as a have to cope with human cruelty. One eager for our first catch. (The thought of normal part of their recent arrival had been shot and beaten a glass of Pol Roger non-vintage had duties. at a travellers’ site. Hopefully the 24nothing to do with it.) The Vintners’ new hour care available at Swan Lifeline will Swan Pennant was proudly prominent help restore it to health, albeit unable ever to fly again. on the bow of our boat as we gently made our way I have had a wonderful year as Swan Warden towards Henley following our illustrious oarsmen which will live with me forever. (Swan Uppers). We soon came to a halt to watch the Rupert Clevely catch of a father, mother and five Swan Warden 2011-12 cygnets. All in rude health, they were brought aboard. After a few words from your Swan Warden (aided and abetted by the late PM Avery, who reminded me of Five, not Three, Cheers for the Master), the birds were checked, ringed with the Vintners’ mark and returned to the water. A further two catches were made that day and we returned to Hurley in great spirits having being beautifully wined and dined. Swan Lifeline, founded by Kay Webb and managed by Wendy Hermon, is a remarkable centre. My succSwan Warden Clevely essor as Swan Warden, welcomes Past Master John Patrick Sandeman, Avery to the Swan Voyage
The Vintners’ Foundation Some time ago, the responsibilities for all strands of the Company’s charitable giving were drawn together under the umbrella of the Vintners’ Foundation, in order to streamline the process and refocus its aims. The Vintners’ Foundation has replaced both the old Vintners’ Gifts Charity and the VCCF. The Foundation’s remit is to: ■ donate predominately to charities associated with the wine trade in all its forms but specifically to charities associated with the social aspects of alcohol abuse or dependency ■ focus on charities and schools that operate in the Greater London area ■ support charities that help the needy in the wine trade ■ donate to charities nominated by Company members ■ grow a capital fund of some £4m to create a future income base to service its requirements. In addition, the Foundation controls the income and expenditure of the Save Our Swans charity that supports the excellent Swan Lifeline at Eton and Swan Sanctuary at Shepperton. Every year a number of charities petition the Company. These are filtered, initially by Stephen Freeth, our parttime Charities Secretary and Archivist, and then by the Clerk. After initial contact the charity is asked to make a submission and a specific visit is arranged, either by a member of the Company who has volunteered or by a member of staff. A report is then compiled with a recommendation as to what sort of donation would be appropriate.
preventing homelessness promoting social inclusion
Some of the charities that the Committee selected for donations in 2011 are listed here: ■ Anchor House is a small charity based in Canning Town providing support for homeless people, many of whom have alcohol-related problems. The £3,000 was specifically to support its ‘Healthy Living and Well Being Programme’ ■ The Fairbridge Project in Kennington helps young people who are ‘NEETs’ (not in education, employment or training). The £3,000 was to support its alcohol awareness programme ■ The Single Homeless Project runs a hostel in Camden. The £2,500 was to provide a new training kitchen where residents with alcohol addiction would be taught a ‘pathway to independent and healthy living’ ■ The £5,000 for Action on Addiction was to provide two places in their Hope House women-only centre in Clapham, where those who have succumbed to dependency on alcohol are given treatment, rehab, and family support ■ The Brandon Centre based in Kentish Town provides guidance and therapy to young people at risk from problems associated with alcohol and drug abuse and teenage pregnancy. The £5,000 donation was to fund an extra therapy team that can counsel problem families around the clock at this well-run centre ■ The Coram Foundation runs a Family Alcohol and Drug Abuse centre on the Coram Community Campus in Bloomsbury. Our £5,000 donation was to support a parent mentoring scheme ■ One North East London is a small charity in the London Borough of Redbridge that helps
are asking for donations. recovering alcoholics stay ‘dry’ The future strategy for To help with this, and to and integrate back into the the Foundation revolves increase our ability to give in the community, using reformed future, a capital fund is being alcoholics as counsellors. Our around the following premise: built up from our resources. This £5,000 will support an extenit is imperative that the temporary diversion of funds sion of this work. Company increases its reduces our capacity to give at The Vintners’ Foundation is indebtpresent, but will enable us to be ed to those members of the Company charitable giving in much more generous in the future. and its staff who freely give up their all its forms. As I am sure many readers are aware, time to make charity visits and compile the wine and spirit trade’s own charity is The the reports that the Committee needs in Benevolent. The Vintners have a long association order to make donations. with it, and are a significant contributor. Plans are Each year, the Committee will also consider petitions under way to help The Benevolent raise more funds in submitted by individual Company members for 2013 and beyond, with the Company agreeing to run donations to charities that do not necessarily come the annual January wine trade lunch at the Hall, and within the broad parameters of ‘alcohol-related’ or also a fundraising walk in France in the summer of within Greater London. However from 2012 onwards, in 2013. order to help build up a capital fund, the amount The future strategy for the Foundation revolves earmarked for these Member petitions will be capped around the following premise: it is imperative that the at a total of £15,000 per annum. Company increases its charitable giving in all its forms. In addition, the Company allows the Hall to be used A key objective is therefore to encourage more free of charge up to ten times a year by charities that donations, from all Liverymen and Freemen alike, to have significant fundraising targets. As an example, in supplement the Foundation’s coffers. It behoves us all, February 2012 the Urology Foundation held a fundas good Vintners, to uphold the traditions and aims of raising gala dinner and auction in Vintners’ Hall at our predecessors, and indeed the Livery movement as a which Jane MacQuitty, the Times wine correspondent, whole, and to consider ‘giving’ as much as we ‘receive’. conducted a ‘Chile versus France’ wine tasting. The If as a quid pro quo the notional value of the event raised over £35,000. wonderful food and wines that we and our guests The medium-to-long-term plan for the Foundation enjoy at Livery dinners each year was donated by is to find a target charity or hostel that could very much members, the Vintners’ Foundation would certainly be become a focus for the Vintners – a real place, near to our hearts and to our Hall, with which we can become flourishing root and branch! more involved. Such a focus might in turn make it that Michael Cox little bit easier to explain the need when we ourselves Chairman, Vintners’ Foundation Committee
1 N E One North East London
0ver 60 Years a Vintner Guy Gordon Clark In 1810 my great-great-grandfather Matthew Clark set up in business as a foreign wine and spirit broker in the City of London, thereby founding the firm of Matthew Clark and Sons. Because he had been educated at Merchant Taylors’ School he joined the Merchant Taylors, making his sons Merchant Taylors by patrimony and starting a Merchant Taylor dynasty.
was all. Our knowledge of the Company was confined to a vague notion that it ‘helped the Wine Trade’, although as an active member of the trade I knew that the Company charged only nominal rents to various trade bodies, and had helped found the Institute of Masters of Wine during the 1950s. We were not encouraged to ask questions. The idea of a Freeman or Liveryman serving on a committee was unthinkable. When I joined Matthew Clark at the age of 20 in 1948, However the dinners, as now, were of the finest I too expected to become a Merchant Taylor, to join quality. several relations, and was slightly surprised at the Early in 1959, in Lorne Campbell’s Mastership, my suggestion that I might become a Vintner. At that time, father Michael Gordon Clark was asked to become a the Vintners’ Company was recruiting, and Freeman and Liveryman Honoris Causa. had decided to become more involved in This was in recognition of his work in the My year of the Wine Trade, a connection that had early post-war era as Chairman of the Mastership was been largely lost in the earlier years of the Wine and Spirit Association, negotiating twentieth century. I was interviewed over import quotas of wines and spirits. Greatly one of the most lunch by a group of my father’s wine trade to my surprise, I was asked by the Master memorable of friends including Jack Rutherford, Lorne to attend that part of the Court meeting Campbell and Eric Evans, and my name when my father was to be admitted. I was my life. duly went forward. duly ushered to a seat in the corner of the In those days things happened very quickly. Having Court Room, just by the grandfather clock. A Past been made a Freeman by redemption in early 1950, by Master, a past Lord Mayor, then said in a horrified the end of the year I was a fully-fledged Liveryman at voice, ‘What’s he doing here?’ At this point Lorne the ripe old age of 22! As now, we had each year one Campbell, one of the most charming people I have ever dinner invitation with guest, alternately male and met, apologised to his colleagues for not warning them female, and an invitation to the Lenten Dinner. That that he had asked me to attend. In later years, my father always said that the Vintners were much more fun than the Merchant Taylors. Early in 1967, when Francis Everington was Master, the Company decided to help trade education, and gave money to found the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. I was then Chairman of the Education Committee of the Wine and Spirit Association. This was subsumed into the Trust, and I became
the Trust’s first Chairman. I was even asked to a Swan Feast, a rare occurrence for a Liveryman! During the 1970s the Company was able to cement its relationship with the trade even further, by joining with the Government in the setting up and governance of the Wine Standards Board, a partnership which was not terminated until 2006. Since then the Company has quite rightly in my opinion encouraged members of the trade to become Vintners by redemption, although we hope that we will not lose our wider connection with members of other trades and professions. When I joined the Court in 1983, I was surprised to discover that we gave very little in general During the late 1980s, as I was coming up to be charitable donations. Our new Clerk, Greg Read, shared Master, I detected a strong wish among the Livery for this view. At that time the Charity Committee consisted more information about the Company. Just as in the of the Master and all Past Masters, and met once a year. 1950s, its inner workings, and in particular Each Past Master was able to nominate the negotiations for the redevelopment of one charity, to which a sum of money was its estate next to the Hall, were completely given. The Committee was now given a I have so much hidden. When I became Master in 1989 I bigger budget, financed by the takings enjoyed my long was able to persuade my colleagues to from Lent Halls, and enlarged to contain a connection with hold the first Common Hall in modern mix of Court members and Liverymen. I times, at which to brief the Livery in detail. was made Chairman, and remained so for the Vintners’ I had hoped that Common Hall would some years. Members of the Committee for Company over become an annual event, but not until 1997 the first time were asked to visit possible was a second Common Hall held, charities, to see whether they were the years. specifically to get the feeling of the Livery deserving of support. The successor to this regarding Lady Liverymen. Happily, Committee is the Vintners’ Foundation Common Hall is now an established part of the annual Committee. This has more Liverymen and Freemen on programme. it than Court members, and is very active in raising My Mastership was one of the most memorable charitable donations to the Company, and helping years of my life. The Hall was closed for major deserving causes. refurbishment at the beginning of my year, but we Unlike some other livery companies, the Vintners were able to have my initial dinner at the Clothworkers, have never owned or managed schools. However and Court meetings at the Tallow Chandlers. The Hall before I joined the Court we had been able to help was in due course refurbished beautifully, and I led a finance the education of a pupil at Christ’s Hospital successful Court trip to Portugal in spite of leaving my through its donation governor scheme. The Company’s passport at home. The dinner we hosted for our Oporto nominated Donation Governor was Geoffrey Jameson, friends at the Factory House will long stay in my and after his death I was asked to take over, handing memory. over eventually to Alistair Buchanan. In all we have I have so much enjoyed my long connection with made it possible to educate four children at this very the Vintners’ Company over the years. fine school, three of whom have had direct links with MAY IT FLOURISH ROOT AND BRANCH FOR EVER the Company. In addition we have given considerable WITH FIVE AND THE MASTER. help to the Red Coat and Greencoat schools in Tower Guy Gordon Clark Hamlets, both connected to Benjamin Kenton, an eightPast Master eenth-century Master of the Company.
HM Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond 2012 has been a momentous year for the Royal Family. Her Majesty has reached the historic milestone of sixty years on the throne, being only the second monarch to achieve this. I am delighted to report that the Vintners’ Company, a proud member of the Twelve Great Companies of the City of London, has taken a full and, indeed, conspicuous part in the nation’s celebrations of this tremendous achievement. Many of you will have read in the national press (or in our own Silver Swan newsletter) of the new ‘Ring of Bells’ commissioned for our church of St James Garlickhythe. Her Majesty graciously permitted the bells to be named after members of the Royal Family. The Vintners have been delighted to fund the largest of the bells, named Elizabeth, which proudly carries the name of the monarch together with the Company’s coat of arms. All the new bells were carried (and rung) down the Thames as part of the Queen’s Jubilee Flotilla – a memorable day – made even more so by the strong presence of Vintners on the water. The Master and his Wardens, accompanied by their wives and the Clerk, were aboard the William B with other representatives
‘Elizabeth’ rings out at the head of the Flotilla
of the Great Twelve livery companies. Members of the Livery and Freedom and their guests were aboard Salient. The final string to the Vintners’ bow was supplied by our hugely respected Swan Uppers. The Great Twelve Masters, Wardens, wives and Clerks were ushered aboard at Wandsworth Pier in time to watch the ‘man-powered’ section of the flotilla pass our mooring, led by the magnificent Gloriana rowing barge, battling a strong head wind. Our Swan Uppers were roundly cheered as they rowed past. The range of craft, from kayaks to dragon boats and even a gondola, made this a truly magnificent sight. Our section of the flotilla, forming part of the Royal Squadron, then tucked itself behind the man-powered vessels for a gentle cruise down to near Chelsea Harbour. Here we all formed up and were joined by the Royal Barge, Spirit of Chartwell. Fittingly, the wines served on board the William B and Salient had been selected and supplied by the Vintners’ Company – wines specially chosen to provide elegant drinking for a festive occasion on the river. The prevailing weather conditions, dull and overcast, meant that ‘mulled wine’ might have been an alternative! However there was no
Jubilee shortage of warmth aboard the Great Twelve boat, and the wines were perfectly matched to the splendid food provided by the Fishmongers. Towards the end of what had been a wonderful day, the heavens opened, and some very bedraggled Masters, Wardens, wives and Clerks disembarked at Tower Pier. On the Tuesday, the Master Vintner hosted a table in the Great Hall of the Palace of Westminster during a celebratory lunch hosted by the City Livery Companies. The guests at the Master Vintner’s table represented the Company’s charitable and other associations, which play such an important part in our daily life. These included the Royal Tank Regiment, 31 Squadron, The Benevolent and other charities. The Company’s last, but by no means least, contribution to the Diamond Jubilee has been a substantial donation to the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge. This project is administered by the charity
Gloriana under way
Fields in Trust (otherwise known as the National Playing Fields’ Association), and was launched by Prince William in June 2010. It aims to preserve leisure and sports facilities and open spaces as a lasting memorial to Her Majesty and her Jubilee. As the individual sites are identified and protected, so a plaque with the name of the Vintners’ Company will record our contribution to this wonderful legacy. The Queen is only the second monarch to achieve sixty years on the throne in the lifetime of our own Company, as we approach our own 650th anniversary next year. Our celebrations will, necessarily, be rather more modest. But we hope that all members of the Livery and Freedom will embrace our own celebrations as fully as our Company has embraced the Jubilee. Long Live the Queen! Anthony Sykes Renter Warden
Dragon boats take part in the Flotilla
The Master’s Year
South of England Show
The Swan Voyage, with Swan Warden Rupert Clevely
The casting of 'Elizabeth’
A family affair
The Cabbies' Big Breakfast
A day to remember
Visit to 31 Squadron at RAF Marham, Norfolk On 26th April 2012, ten Vintners led by the Upper Warden, Michael Cox, ventured into the Norfolk countryside for the first Company visit to 31 Squadron, better known as the Goldstars. We were met by Flt Lt John Howard, who explained the history of the squadron over biscuits and coffee. Our day then started with a briefing from Wing Commander Jim Mulholland. He ran through the squadron’s current role in Afghanistan and Iraq, and explained how the Tornado G4 is adapting to modern warfare. He and his colleagues feel very strongly that their role is one of showing force, and not necessarily of engaging the enemy. Subsequently we were all taken in a mini bus to the Flight Simulator. Here three of us in
turn were allowed to take the controls of a ‘Tornado’, while the remaining Vintners waited enviously. The Upper Warden, with his RAF navigator (aged about 23) behind him giving instructions, took off very well from Fife airfield for his 20-minute ride and showed some excellent skills. These included barrel rolls and tight turns which in a normal flight would have been unbearable. The Wing Commander kept saying politely that Michael must have done this before. To his horror, the Upper Warden then decided that he had got the hang of it all so well that he would fly under the Forth Road Bridge, only to end up in the water with alarms sounding ‘Pull Up’, ‘Pull up’, and then ‘Crash!’ Fortunately the Vintners Company will not have to pay for the aircraft. After this excitement, it
was off to the Officers’ Mess for lunch. Here we were able to ask our hosts all those boyish questions about films like Battle of Britain, Top Gun and Behind Enemy Lines. After lunch, we went to the Safety Equipment Main Bay, where the capable and hugely helpful staff described the safety equipment for pilots and crew in the event of ejection from the aircraft. I was interested to learn that some pilots survive ejection only to die shortly afterwards from shock; once on land or water, it is essential to keep active to minimise this risk. We were also shown life rafts and other kit you need to survive, whether at sea or in the desert. Crews are also trained in what to do if captured and interrogated. Now it was time to fulfil a boyhood dream, and get into the cockpit of a real Tornado. Sitting in the navigator’s seat, with the Upper Warden acting as pilot, all we needed to get started was to switch on power
and ignition. It was equally interesting to be taken around the aircraft by one of the crew, who showed us the various missiles and weaponry. As a keen restorer of classic motorcycles, I was eager to fix the dripping oil leak that was staining the floor, but was told this was normal. We all had our photographs taken in and around the plane, after which Michael Cox was presented with a signed squadron photo, a fine memento that now hangs in the Company’s offices. In conclusion, this was a really memorable and inspirational day. We Vintners should be very proud of our association with 31 Squadron. If I ever get the opportunity to visit again, I will be delighted to do so. Liveryman Guy Nightingale
A Step into the Unknown US troops in the east of Afghanistan have come under effective enemy fire and are pinned down. With casualties mounting, they desperately need air support. The unit’s Joint Tactical Air Controller (JTAC) puts out a radio call of 'Troops in Contact' (TIC). Two Tornado GR4s from 31 Squadron, the ‘Goldstars’, arrive overhead in a matter of minutes ... I am a Tornado GR4 Weapon Systems Officer in 31 Squadron. With my pilot crew mate, I responded to the TIC that evening. Operation HERRICK (Afghanistan) was my first operational tour, and this was my first live weapon event. Life in a front-line squadron had suddenly become very real. We had begun working up to operations in Afghanistan during the spring of 2011. Prior to our departure, we held a squadron Families’ Day at RAF Marham, a chance for family and friends to join us. It was a fantastic day, infinitely appreciated by those I hold dear, and a great morale boost. On 4 July 2011, I deployed to Afghanistan. I had been living with my now fiancée, Rhiannon, for a year; it was our first house together. Saying goodbye was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. However once I stepped onto the coach and the banter started, I knew everything would be OK. We had a job to do, and were all in it together for the next four and a half months. Kandahar Airfield was our destination and operating base. The first thing that hit me was the heat and the dust. Our accommodation, ‘Cambridge Lines’, was primitive. Imagine a line of chicken huts held together by masking tape, not far from a sewage plant (‘Poo Pond’). However compared with conditions for the ground troops, it was palatial, although constantly having to rummage in the dark, because your room mate was on a different shift pattern, could get tedious. Food was surprisingly good. There was a selection of different places to eat, along with a recreational area known as the 'Board-walk’, which had a
TGI Friday’s of all things. There is nothing more bizarre than drinking a milkshake in TGI’s next to a female US Army sergeant carrying a machine gun. My first operational flight was fuelled by adrenaline. This time all the weapons were real. It was a short walk to the jets, which were parked under large sun shelters. Within seconds of leaving the airconditioned operations building we were sweating. The temperature outside was around 40 degrees, and because we had the capability to operate all over Afghanistan, we were dressed to survive in the worstcase environment. Kandahar might be hot, but it was different in the Hindu Kush mountains. Screaming down the runway, in full afterburner, the reduced performance of the engines was immediately noticeable. The altitude and high temperatures made take-off distances much longer than in the UK, reducing the margin for error. However once airborne and focussed on the task I soon settled. I knew what I had to do, and how to do it. It was late evening, half way through the tour, when we received the order to attend the TIC. We were returning from air-to-air refuelling, and could hear the tension in the JTAC’s voice. Very soon we were requested to fire into the hillside from which his unit was receiving enemy fire. My heart was pounding as we went into the attack. We had to get it right. We carried out four strafe runs on the hillside, peppering the enemy position with 27mm high explosive rounds. This was not enough, and so the JTAC requested a Paveway 500-pound ‘smart bomb’. He passed the coordinates, and I entered them into the bomb. Having ensured that we were not going to hit friendly forces, I released the weapon. It was the longest few seconds imaginable, waiting for the impact. It hit. This one bomb was enough to stop the enemy fire, and for the US troops to withdraw. The attack was a success. The training had paid off. After we landed, we received a message
Flight Lieutenant Sean Davis
My first operational flight was fuelled by adrenaline. This time all the weapons were real.
from the Americans, thanking us for saving their lives. It was and still is the proudest moment of my career. Returning from Afghanistan, I enjoyed some time with Rhiannon. War gets the heart racing, but proposing is in a different league! The conflict in Afghanistan continues, and I expect further tours. The superb job done by all involved on operations there goes far beyond what can be seen on the news, or documented in a book. I am proud to have been part of it, and part of the Goldstars, who earned their motto ‘In Caelum Indicum Primus’ - First in Indian Skies – over the same part of the world 97 years ago. Sean Davis Flight Lieutenant 31 Squadron
RTR Bobsleighing The Royal Tank Regiment swept the board at this year’s Army Bobsleigh Championships held at Igls in Austria. Past Master Anthony Edwards represented the Master, and presented the Vintners’ Cup and a cheque for £500. The regiment’s achievement was all the more satisfying as they won in the bobsleigh funded by the Company and bearing the Company’s Coat of Arms. Mike Smythe
Heading out on patrol
1 RTR in Afghanistan The First Royal Tank Regiment (1 RTR) is currently embarked on a six-month tour of Afghanistan, named Operation Herrick 16. The regiment has deployed approximately 280 soldiers within 12 Mechanised Brigade as part of Task Force Helmand, across the three major districts of central Helmand province. They have provided armoured support, specially trained dog-handlers and, upon initial deployment, specialist training teams. In addition, officers from 1 RTR have filled key appointments in Task Force Helmand Headquarters, and other battalion and company headquarters across the province. The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Andy Britton, is the senior staff planning officer in Task Force Helmand Headquarters, responsible to the Task Force Commander for planning the long-term future of the UK’s part in the campaign. Other officers from 1 RTR also fill vital posts in Task Force Headquarters, as well as posts with 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, and 1st Battalion The Welsh Guards. Of course the real story is that of the soldiers. G Squadron is providing four troops of Mastiff protective mobility vehicles, one to each of four British units. The tasks they undertake range from securing important routes, through providing logistic support to the infantry, to conducting discrete operations to take on the Taliban directly. They are based across central Helmand, from the south up to the north, where members of G Squadron are manning checkpoints only a few miles from the notorious town of Sangin. Everywhere partnership with Afghan security forces is paramount, and many ‘tankies’ from 1 RTR live alongside Afghan soldiers or policemen. 1 RTR has also deployed 20 soldiers as specialist dog-handlers. These, all volunteers, are posted throughout the units of the Task Force, providing a search capability to the infantry as they patrol throughout Helmand. They are an asset highly prized. When they
leave Afghanistan they will return to 1 RTR, having had an experience far removed from what they would have envisaged on the day they first joined the regiment. In order to ensure that the Task Force deploys into the field as prepared as possible, a final training package is delivered to all soldiers when they arrive at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, prior to moving on to their final locations. For 12 Mechanised Brigade, this training was provided by H Squadron. From February until May of this year, it provided weapons ranges, field exercises, and Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) and driver training, to name but some of its responsibilities. The same duties will be carried out by D Squadron for 4 Mechanised Brigade when it starts to relieve 12 Mechanised Brigade in the autumn. Elements of H Squadron will then redeploy to Cyprus in September to run 12 Mechanised Brigade’s Decompression, which all members of the brigade will pass through. This will give them a short chance to reflect on their experiences before they return to the UK. Fortunately, at the time of writing, the regiment has sustained no fatalities, nor has a soldier suffered a truly life-changing injury. A number have however been evacuated back to the UK as a result of injuries received on operations. The support they and the regiment receive through the continued generosity of the Vintners is therefore greatly appreciated, a humbling reminder of the benevolence of those whom we serve. The regiment will return to the UK in stages between September and November. Homecoming parades will be held in Glasgow and Liverpool on 24 November and 1 December respectively. The regiment will also parade in Bury St Edmunds on 28 November to receive its campaign medals. What next year will bring is as yet uncertain, but the regiment will meet the challenges head-on, as it always has. Fear Naught! Major Mike Fielder 1 RTR August 2012
68 Upper Thames Street Anchor Alley Between Vintners’ Hall and the magnificent offices completed in 1992 known as Vintners’ Place lies a small yard or light well called Vintners’ Court. This is a modern name. Formerly this space was known as Anchor Alley, and was much longer than it is today, running all the way to the Thames. It gave access to a small wharf, Vintry Wharf (Fig.1). However access to the wharf was always difficult. The alley was very narrow as well as very long, with continuous buildings along both sides, and no passing places. On the other side of Anchor Alley from Vintners’ Hall stood property belonging to the Merchant Taylors’ Company, which had bought it in 1803. Like Anchor Alley, it extended all the way to the Thames. The front part, 44 feet wide, faced Upper Thames Street and will have comprised some sort of shop or shops; the back part will have been warehouses. The western boundary of this property was another alley, now completely disappeared, called Worcester Place.
Merchant Taylors’ Archives (GL MS 34223A)
Figure 2. 68 Upper Thames Street, looking past Vintners’ Hall, 1901 (Bedford Lemere & Co).
Figure 1. Anchor Alley looking south towards Vintry Wharf, 1885 (London Stereoscopic Co).
A few years after they bought this property, the Merchant Taylors had been forced to sell it to the City Corporation ‘for the approaches to London Bridge’. Fortunately it was found not to be needed, and in 1844 the Merchant Taylors bought it back again. This must have been good news for the Vintners as well as for the Merchant Taylors, otherwise we might have London Bridge where Vintners’ Court now is! From the archives of the Merchant Taylors and Vintners, we can piece together quite a lot of detail about this corner of old London. Until 1803 Anchor Alley was private ground belonging to the Vintners. It was not a highway, but a footway five feet wide, though adjacent owners had rights of light. (Even today it is only around 13 feet wide.) It must always have been very dark. As early as 1717 the Vintners had been sufficiently worried about Anchor Alley to block up the windows along the west side of the Court Room as a fire precaution. No doubt this helped against burglary too.
Merchant Taylors’ Archives (GL MS 34223A)
Merchant Taylors’ Archives (GL MS 34223A)
Figure 3. 68 Upper Thames Street awaiting demolition, 1907 (Bedford Lemere & Co). The notice is misleading. The Vintners had already agreed to rebuild.
Figure 4. 68 Upper Thames Street from the south-west, looking towards Vintners’ Hall, 1907 (Bedford Lemere & Co).
Soon after 1803 the Merchant Taylors increased the width of the alley to ten feet, still pretty narrow, at the request of one of their tenants, the British Copper Company. They did this by sacrificing a long strip of their ground on the west side of the alley. However a suggestion in 1825 that the alley should be widened still further ran into objections from other tenants, who had concerns about security. No action was taken. By 1808, the Merchant Taylors had already rearranged the property as two separate tenancies: the northernmost 100 feet or so, which faced Upper Thames Street, and the remainder to the south, which remained warehouses. (This back part was eventually sold off in 1893.) The northernmost part later became known as no. 68 Upper Thames Street, and we know a good deal about its layout and its tenants during the nineteenth century from old leases, usually for 21 years, many of which were accompanied by inset plans. In 1808 this northernmost part comprised a pillared space fronting Upper Thames Street, together with counting houses, a yard, stables and stores immediately behind. All of this, described as newly rebuilt, was leased to John Reynolds, a sugar refiner. In 1842, during the interval when the City Corporation had the freehold, this northernmost part was leased to George Knott, a wholesale grocer. It then comprised a sale room, counting houses and, incongruously, a bedroom. It is clear from the various inset plans that the buildings on the site at this date were
new in whole or in part since 1808. These buildings appear to have survived until 1907. In 1864 the property was again leased by the Merchant Taylors, this time to Samuel Hood, iron merchant. In 1884 the Merchant Taylors leased it again, to Messrs Simmons, wholesale stationers, and in 1901, after Messrs Simmons had surrendered the lease, to Messrs Pryke and Palmer, hardware merchants. However this time the term was only three years. Redevelopment was approaching. The 1842 buildings were by now dilapidated, inconvenient and out-of-date. Although the impressive facade was on seven floors (see Figs.2 and 3), the upper floors had very low ceilings, and so could only be used as storerooms, otherwise they would infringe the Factory Acts. As the City came to consist less and less of warehouses, and more and more of offices, this was a problem. In addition the rear of the property was a jumble, and poorly laid out (Fig.4). This part may even have survived from before 1808 (see Fig.5). There were other problems too. The London County Council had served a notice in 1901 requiring a fire escape to be provided. Also, Anchor Alley was still only ten feet wide, or seven feet wide excluding pavements. In addition the Merchant Taylors’ Company only had rights over the western half (five feet), ie the ground which it had itself added to the alleyway soon after 1803. The remaining five feet on the Vintners’ Hall side belonged to the Vintners.
Figure 6. Anchor Alley, looking south-east past Vintners’ Hall. May 1938.
Figure 5. 68 Upper Thames Street from the roof of Vintners’ Hall, 1901 (Bedford Lemere & Co). The back roof looks very old indeed. So awkward was the access along Anchor Alley, and so numerous the complaints from occupants about being blocked by ‘vans’, that in the early 1870s the Vintners and Merchant Taylors had come within an ace of agreeing to close the southern end of the alley altogether. The intention had been for one of the tenants, Alderman Sir William Rose, an oil refiner, to rebuild his tenancy straight across the alleyway, and for the two livery companies to surrender their rights of light and access. However Sir William’s serious illness put paid to this scheme. A solution was eventually found in the years 19058, after much negotiation. The Merchant Taylors granted the Vintners a building lease, by which they were to rebuild no.68 entirely, but narrower, by setting it back ten feet on its eastern side. Anchor Alley thereby became twenty feet wide (see Fig.6). It also became entirely Vintners’ property once again: for £4,775, the Vintners in 1906 bought both the extra ten feet of ground that was being added to Anchor Alley, and all the Merchant Taylors’ rights over the rest. The Vintners then took an 80-year lease of no.68 in its new reduced form from the Merchant Taylors, at £350 per year. They were also required to insure the building for £13,000. For a plan of the new building, see Fig.7. The old building was demolished in 1907. Its replacement was constructed for the Vintners by CW Martin & Sons, furskin merchants, of no.4 Lambeth Hill nearby, and was complete by May 1908. Martin & Sons then became the Vintners’ sub-tenants. This area of the City, around St James Garlickhythe, was long a centre of the fur trade. I have yet to trace any photographs which show the new building clearly, but what can be seen of it in the corners of photographs of adjacent properties suggests that it was not a thing of beauty. The building continued to be owned by the
Merchant Taylors and occupied by Martin & Sons until July 1965, when the Vintners bought the freehold for £45,000. Part of Vintners’ Place now stands on the site. Stephen Freeth Company Archivist
Figure 7. Plan of 68 Upper Thames Street, as rebuilt in 1908.
Finance and Investments operational expenditure, and provides a framework for shorter-term financial planning and budgeting, taking account of the volatility of investment returns. Under the Spending Rule, expenditure can exceed income in a year, but over the long term the net worth of the Company should increase ahead of inflation.
At Common Hall on 2 May 2012, Past Master David Robson, Chairman of the Investment Committee, gave a presentation on Finance and Investments. In the absence through illness of the Renter Warden, Anthony Sykes, Past Master Robson spoke on his behalf. The presentation, which was well received, provided answers to the following questions:
■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■
Equities Bonds Real Estate Physical Cash & Equivalent Equities Long Short Commodities Hedge Funds Other Private Equity Real Estate Equity
What were the Investment Returns? The total return from the investment portfolio since 2009 has been 20 per cent, with a return of 1 per cent being made last year, following returns of 5 per cent, 14 per cent and a loss of 4 per cent over the previous three years. The economic and financial situation continued to be very difficult in 2011-12, with interest rates low and volatile markets. To illustrate this volatility, if the year-end figures had been drawn from valuations at the beginning, rather than the end, of March, the total return from the Company’s portfolio would have been 6 per cent, and not 1 per cent. Significant political and economic uncertainties remain. Strong oversight by the Investment Committee, and the professional skills of Stanhope Capital, the investment managers, will be critical to ensure that the long-term target return is met without taking unacceptably high risks.
What is the Company’s Investment Strategy? The Company has set a long-term total return target to achieve two objectives: to maintain the real purchasing power of the Company’s assets (i.e. after inflation); and to give the opportunity to maintain the real value of the Company’s spending. When this target was set at the beginning of 2008, the Investment Committee concluded that the Company’s existing portfolio did not give a good enough chance of earning this return. It was therefore decided that the Company needed to invest differently, choosing assets with a higher return while managing the increased risk through much greater diversification. In particular it was decided to reduce the Company’s direct investment in property, predominantly within a stone’s throw of the Hall and accounting for 66% of the portfolio. Instead more exposure to equities was introduced, including diversifying out of the UK. The Company also took the decision to depart from only spending income, and from a balanced annual budget. In its place a Spend5% ing Rule has been developed. This links (over the 5.9% long term) total investment return (income 6.5% and capital gains) to
Asset Allocation 31 March 2012 6.5%
Are the Investment Strategy and our Investment Advisers still the right ones? During the year the Investment Committee devoted a special meeting to considering the continued applicability of the Company’s Investment Strategy, in view of the dramatic changes in the world, 39.9% and the deterioration and high degree of uncertainty in the financial markets since 2008. It has become increasingly apparent that these difficult conditions will prevail for a number of years. The Committee went back to Cambridge Associates, who had
■ 2010-’11 ■ 2011-’12 ■ 2012-’13 (Budget)
600 500 400
performed the investment review in 2008. Cambridge advised strongly that no change to the Investment 300 Strategy was required. They emphasised the continued importance of asset diversification; of a total return 200 target (income yield and capital growth); and of a Spending Rule within which to budget affordable 100 operating expenditures. The Committee considered this feedback, and 0 particularly the tension between achieving the Office staff Office Hall Court and costs expenditure expenses livery stretching long-term total return target of 4.8 per cent plus inflation, and wishing to have lower volatility in Operating Expenses (£ 000s) returns. It was acknowledged that the direction to the make the minimum investment of between £10m and investment managers to ‘protect capital’ when markets £20m in additional direct property investments. The had been particularly volatile had been at the expense Committee was also cautious about the practicalities of of maximising returns. For the future it was concluded co-investing, and concerned that the Company does that the long-term total return target should be reset at not have any specialist property expertise. The 4 per cent plus inflation (previously 4.8 per cent), after Company already had 11% of its investment portfolio taking account of the Company’s spread of assets and invested in Five Kings House and the the wish to avoid higher risks and value ascribed to the freehold interest volatility. There are a number of in Vintners’ Place, plus 2% in property Stanhope Capital also had been asked to make a presentation to the ‘obligations’ which the funds within the Stanhope portfolio. The Committee therefore concluded that Committee covering, inter alia, their Company has had to the Company should focus on the asset views on the Company’s Investment fulfil. Its continued allocation to property within the Strategy; a briefing on themselves, Stanhope portfolio. This would provide particularly for members of the Commsupport of the Wine a greater spread of risk compared with ittee who had not been present when Trade in difficult times one/ possibly two substantial direct Stanhope had originally presented to the investments in property. It was also Committee in 2008; and to inform the has enhanced its Committee about changes to their standing in the trade. decided that the Committee should work with Stanhope to identify propbusiness over the last three years. erty funds, so as to increase exposure Stanhope’s appointment had been to property from the current 2 per cent to 7 per cent. initially for 5 years, and the Committee saw no need to make any change at this stage. The Committee was impressed by the new presentation made by Stanhope; Why has an Open-Ended Investment Company by the responses given in the question and answer been established? session; and in particular by the co-investment of the In order to minimise the impact of taxation on Stanhope partners, their families and staff in their investment decisions, a new Open-Ended Investment portfolios. Stanhope had also provided reassurance Company (OEIC) has been created, the St Martin’s about the capability of their research team to cover the Fund. An initial transfer of £25 million of the Compbreadth of potential investments. any’s investment portfolio has been made into it. This At the particular request of four Past Masters, the allows investments to be held tax free until amounts Committee also considered making new direct investare withdrawn from the OEIC, and is a welcome ment in properties, and had itself taken advice from a initiative because of the tax and administrative benefits property investment specialist. It concluded that whilst that it brings. Opportunity will be taken to transfer there might be some attractive property investments, more monies as and when the Company’s tax position the Company’s investment portfolio was too small to allows.
What was the total return and expenditure There are a number of ‘obligations’ which the for 2011-12? Company has had to fulfil. Its continued support of the In 2011-12 the total return from investments Wine Trade in difficult times has enhanced its standing amounted to £0.6 million. This included rental income in the trade. from the tenants in Five Kings House. However, the current support revolves around giving sums of money to These tenants value the high level of the various trade bodies. In future it is maintenance and attention to detail. In future it is intended intended that the Company will take a This underpins the full occupancy of the that the Company will much more pro-active role, co-hosting building, and appetite for forthcoming take a much more proevents here in the Hall. This will release renewals. emphasise the Company’s ambition to In addition to this, a record income active role, co-hosting be seen as the ‘spiritual home’ of the from Hall lettings of £0.3 million was events here in the Hall. UK Wine Trade. achieved in a difficult market. Hall This will re-emphasise Charitable giving is also an letting income makes a major contribessential tenet of our charter, and ution to the cost of running the Hall. It the Company’s cannot be reduced. Finally, but not also enhances the Company’s reputation ambition to be seen as least, is the maintenance of the fabric in the City. of this wonderful Hall. There are some Whilst expenditure for the year, of the ‘spiritual home’ of major projects in view – the re£2.1 million, exceeded the total return the UK Wine Trade. painting of the ceiling in the Livery Hall from investment and other activities, this for example. followed a year when the reverse was true (return £2.6 million, expenditure £2.1 million). As What is the conclusion? referred to above, such deficits are planned, and the Past Master Robson concluded his presentation by variability of investment return is built into the saying that: Spending Rule. However if such deficits continue, the ■ the Company is in a sound financial position Company will have to consider opportunities for ■ the long-term investment strategy has been raising income from the membership, as well as reconfirmed continuing to control expenditure tightly. ■ no further direct property investment is planned in Is expenditure being reduced over time? the foreseeable future The table shows the trend of operating expenses over ■ the Investment Committee has a strong overview, the last two years, and the budget for next year. and challenges the performance of the investment managers Operating Expenses ■ the Company has a robust long-term Spending Rule Costs are well controlled. Operating expenses budgeted ■ the Master and Wardens continue to exercise for next year are £0.1 million less than in 2009-10. If strong operational cost control. total expenditure had been adjusted only by inflation from the beginning of 2009, this would have resulted In July 2012 Past Master Robson handed over the in a cost base of £2.4m. chairmanship of the Investment Committee to Past Costs have been contained through investment in Master Sam Dow. Past Master Robson’s term of office new systems in the office, which have increased over the last four years has coincided with a period of efficiency; and through very tight control by the intense financial and economic uncertainty. The General Manager, making sure Hall contractors are kept Company is greatly indebted to him for his surein check. The Company’s partnership with Searcys is handed and prudent chairmanship and oversight of the very successful, another way in which costs are well Company’s investments. managed. The burgeoning reputation of the Company’s Andrew Ling entertaining stands it in good stead. Stavesman
Sports Highlights 2011-2012 If you are keen to take part in any of our sports teams (and we are always on the lookout for talent), please contact Glenn Roberts ([email protected]
Sailing Drinks Trade Regatta, Seaview, Isle of Wight, 17th September, 2011
Great Twelve Sailing Challenge, 15th/16th June, 2012
Determined to restore the Vintners’ Cup to its rightful home, the Vintners’ sailing team gathered on Friday evening for pre-race briefing and crew selection. Saturday dawned bright, with light winds, and our three Vintners’ boats made for the start line confident that our spinnaker drill would pay dividends. In the event the wind eased to such a degree that only one spinnaker run could be made over the two races in the morning. Nevertheless the Company led the fleet by one point by lunch. At this point the wind got up from the South West, forcing the afternoon racing to take place under reefed mains with a storm jib. In these testing (and extremely wet) conditions, our Company teamwork both within and between our boats enabled us to take convincing line honours in both races, giving us a comfortable victory across the whole regatta. After a splendid dinner in the Yacht Club, the trophy was presented by the Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight, Major-General Martin White. The evening was rounded off with a spirited rendition of the Vintners’ Song, to the acclamation of the other livery companies present. Liveryman Jonathan Jameson
Gale force winds sweeping across the Isle of Wight did little to dampen the spirits of the Great Twelve sailors who gathered in Seaview for this annual event. The direction of the wind was in the South West, and the sea directly off Seaview was in the lee. A little out to sea it was a very different story. By starting early the organisers managed to run two races for each of the young and old guards. The races were fast and furious, but it was decided to call it a day before the boats, valour and perhaps human life started to fail. These two races saw first, second and third places go to the Clothworkers, Ironmongers and Salters, respectively, with the Vintners’ Company, hampered by gear failure, coming in joint tenth. The abandonment of afternoon racing meant that the most hotly-contested competition of the weekend was the inaugural Great Twelve Bowling Championships, held at the Ryde Superbowl, a culture shock for some!
Left to right: Roger Watkins, John Stoy, Jonathan Jameson, Hugh Suter MW (guest), Charlie Hamilton, Clive Hunt, James Hingston, Bob Somers (guest), Claude Hamilton; kneeling: Nella Jameson
The annual match against the Grocers was stumped by the weather this year, and attempts to arrange another date proved unsuccessful. Liveryman Andrew Paynter has now handed over the Captaincy to Liveryman Philip Tuck MW. Let’s hope 2013 brings a successful first innings for Philip.
Inter-Livery Ski Championships, 2012 On Thursday, 19th January, 2012, representatives from the Ironmongers, Vintners, Coopers, Shipwrights, Stationers, Apothecaries, Actuaries, Air Pilots & Air Navigators, Leathersellers, Barbers and Information Technologists arrived in Morzine, part of the Portes du Soleil ski area, for the annual Inter-Livery Ski Championships. Now in their third year, the championships are on their way to becoming an institution for liverymen who enjoy the slopes, attracting a wide range of participants from teenagers to veterans. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned pro, the event offers just the right amount of friendly competition and, most importantly, fun. The Vintners’ team again did very well, inspired by the Master, who not only skied fantastically, but provided a figurehead to rally around throughout the event. The Company came second overall to the Leathersellers, winning the Actuaries’ Ski Cup, with the Master
Golf 2012 The season started on 22nd March, 2012, with an excellent win over the Distillers’ Company on a lovely spring day at Royal Wimbledon GC. We managed not to lose any of our games and, although work being carried out to the course had shortened it to 16½ holes, the remainder was in good condition. The Distillers graciously treated us to some very good wines and port at lunch. The Great Twelve Competition was held at Tandridge GC on 16th April, 2012, in fine but cold conditions. Our teams put up a splendid performance, coming second to the Merchant Venturers of Bristol (so theoretical victors of the ‘true’ Great Twelve). Alistair Buchanan and Ralph Manners Wood (the Greybeards), together with Charlie Hamilton, the ‘three bacon baps man’, and James Davy (the Young Lions), made up our teams. The Young Lions took part in the morning competition and got rid of their bad shots; the Greybeards practised their putting and prepared for a good Vintners’ lunch. The main competition in the afternoon saw the Young Lions come in with 40 points, a very good score, with the Greybeards just behind on 37 points. This was just two points behind the overall winners. The Merchant Venturers of Bristol and the Vintners later drank a toast to John Avery in a New Zealand Pinot Noir; how appropriate. The spring meeting was held at Denham GC, home to the Clan Dow. The weather started somewhat damp, but in no way affected the spirit of our golfers. The day’s
managing the fastest time for a Court member/Master. The Vintners’ Ski Captain, Liveryman George Stoy, posted the fastest times both days. Liveryman George Stoy Captain of Skiing
format was singles in the morning for the Founders’ and Vintners’ cups, and foursomes after lunch for the Athlone Cup. There were also prizes for putting (the Cotman Cup), and for nearest the pin on the 12th (the Greenway Cup). Denham looked after the Vintners’ needs most hospitably, and a good day was had by all. Winners were: ■ Founders’ Cup Bill Cooper ■ Vintners’ Cup Alistair Buchanan ■ Athlone Cup Ed Lines and James Davy ■ Cotman Cup Ed Lines ■ Greenway Cup David Robson The final match of the year was against the Brewers’ Company on July 16th at Tandridge GC. We narrowly lost by 3-2, on a lovely day. 2013 fixtures are as follows: ■ Match v Distillers’ Company at Royal Wimbledon GC, 18th March ■ Spring meeting at Denham GC, 23rd April ■ Great Twelve Competition, 15th April ■ Match v Brewers’ Company at Tandridge GC, 15th July Golfers of any ability – please come and join us. It is another way to meet your fellow Vintners in the most enjoyable context of sport. Contact Golf Secretary John Stoy, [email protected]
We thank the Company for its generous sponsorship throughout the year. Liveryman John Stoy Golf Secretary
Master’s Day Out As can be imagined, with a Master Vintner whose day job was Chairman of Fuller, Smith & Turner, the staff had been keeping their fingers crossed that the Master’s Day Out for the staff just might take place at the brewery in Chiswick. We were not disappointed! Having spent days working up a reasonable thirst, we reported to the brewery to be met by the Master. He gave us a fascinating talk on the interlocking family histories of the Fullers, Smiths and Turners, all of whom still either work for, or continue to have an interest in the company. A wonderfully traditional tour of the brewery followed, with the smell of hops and barley tweaking our taste buds in anticipation. We then enjoyed a tasting in the Hock Cellar with the Director of Brewing himself, when
we managed to taste just about every beer that the brewery produces. By now we were suitably refreshed, but still moderately thirsty. The Master and Diana, together with Rosie, the Master’s PA who had provided the administrative link between the Company and the brewery during the year, then all very generously entertained us to a magnificent lunch (and more London Pride) at the Mawson Arms, attached to the brewery. It was a perfect ending to a perfect visit, and we cannot thank the Master and Diana enough for looking after us all so well. We are also grateful for the party bags! We will use our FST umbrellas with ‘pride’. Steve Marcham General Manager
Design and Print: www.tridentprinting.co.uk
The Vintners’ Company Vintners’ Hall • Upper Thames Street • London EC4V 3BG Tel: 020 7236 1863 • Fax: 020 3432 6670 Web site: www.vintnershall.co.uk