Dear London Branch members

I am delighted to present my latest report as your chairman; it has been an interesting year to say the least.  One might almost say a year of two halves.

In the first six months we were able to enjoy our usual programme of innovative tastings including Portuguese, Japanese and Chinese wines, as well as Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhone, and a wide variety of dinners:

  • a Rhone tasting dinner led by the late Paul Mapplebeck
  • our superb AGM and Tasting at Corney and Barrow
  • an interesting evening of Turkish cuisine
  • a wine dinner at the Vintners Hall with the Confrérie St Etienne d’ Alsace

January 2020 saw us celebrating a late Christmas with an outstanding dinner at the Savile Club.  We managed to fit in some superb tastings, but two months later everything ground to a halt and our entire programme had to be suspended.  I’m happy to be able to tell you that the events you were looking forward to in the first half of 2020 will go ahead just as soon as we are able to rearrange them.  Let’s hope that our political masters get this virus under control soon.

Thanks to the pandemic, our Branch Committee meetings have moved on-line, with some success.  We have also held some on-line wine tastings recently, using wines from Majestic so that we could be sure that members would be able to purchase them locally.  We have had some very interesting and enjoyable evenings.  It has been disappointing however, to see that relatively few members are supporting them.  I would urge you to join us in future.

What we are able to do together in the coming year depends upon progress in fighting the virus.  I know that most Branch members are being very careful if not actively shielding.  Of course that makes the ability to meet on-line even more important.  I can assure you that your Committee are working hard to identify interesting opportunities for on-line events and are more than ready to organise events in real life just as soon as we get the opportunity.

I truly believe that it is important that members of our branch let us know what they think, and we are always delighted to welcome any of you who wish to suggest, organise or participate in an future event.  We do badly need more of you to help out by organising or helping to organise events for us.  Please contact us directly with your ideas and comments.

Finally, I would personally like to thank on your behalf our committee

Stephanie Shepherd – our overworked Secretary.
Graham Lovelock – our Treasurer.
Alan Shepherd – our Deputy Chairman.
Roger Ellis, our Membership Secretary
Keith Ellis.
Peter Diamond.
Richard Jackson who is looking after our recruitment initiative.
Also Beverley St John-Aubin, Rachel Burnett, all of whom believe me work extremely hard on our behalf and have continued to give me tremendous support during the last year.

I look forward to seeing you all at our events in the coming year.

Jeffrey Benson – Chairman London Branch