The Wine Circle was set up in 2001. Its prime purpose is to encourage liverymen to increase their appreciation of wine. No special knowledge is required as the emphasis is on enjoying wine in a social atmosphere. Each year a series of tastings and wine-related dinners are organized. The tastings, normally on specific themes, take place in a London Club or in various wine merchants’ cellars. The tastings are usually conducted by guest expert speakers. Recent examples are New Zealand or Chilean wines at the Club, claret at Berry Brothers and Spanish wines at Corney and Barrow.
The Circle is run by a small committee, which includes the current Master, a representative of the Luncheon Club and the Paviors’ Cellarer. There is a small membership fee and an annual subscription. Both these charges are waived to new liverymen in their first year. Guests are normally allowed, depending upon numbers.
The Wine Circle committee’s other purpose is to advise the Company’s Cellarer on his responsibilities for buying wines to lay down for future livery functions and managing the Company’s cellar. Due in part to not having its own livery hall and partly to financial considerations, wine had previously been chosen on an ad-hoc basis to match the food at each event. But a few years ago, it was realized that if the Company began to lay down some well chosen bottles, liverymen could benefit in future years from drinking mature wines from the Company’s own cellar at an affordable cost. Since 1998, this policy has enabled the Circle to acquire, both by Company purchase and also through generous gifts from retiring Masters, a number of good clarets, red and white burgundies and ports that will be shown in the years to come. The Court each year authorizes a sum of money for continuing expenditure. Details of expenditure on the wines chosen by the Cellarer and management of the cellar are given to the Company at the annual Common Hall.
The Wine Circle wants to promote the essential fun and delight in tasting, drinking and appreciating wine. It also allows liverymen to get to know each other on a more personal basis than can often be attained in the more formal events held by the Company.
Liverymen can contact the Wine Circle via the Members’ Area of the website. Others seeking more information on the Wine Circle should contact the Clerk (details below).