Grapevine Archive for AGM
‘All in all it has been a rather unexceptional year so far as our financial statements are concerned. On the whole, we think that is rather a good thing.’ - Sarah Evans, Chairman
On Monday night 342 members gathered at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre for The Society’s 140th AGM. In her speech, The Society’s Chairman Sarah Evans talked about the strong performance of The Society over the past year, with 5.5% more new members joining compared to the previous year and with each member purchasing a little more too.In volume terms members’ purchases over the last year increased, which Sarah said was ‘roughly equivalent to about 2.5 Olympic size swimming pools. Not quite a ‘wine lake’ … yet!’
The importance of keeping up-to-date with digital media was emphasised with several stories from SocietyGrapevine shared with the members present. Sarah said that in future the Annual Report will be published online with a simplified printed document for those that prefer to receive the information in this way. She said that there were no plans to stop sending out our Lists and offers by mail though.
Sarah also emphasised how seriously The Society takes comments and questions from members with each being assigned to the appropriate member of staff or passed on to the Committee for consideration if deemed necessary. She also reminded members of our primary aim to offer ‘the best overall value to members’ and that the Value Charter, published this year, sets this out for all to see.
In this our 140th year, Sarah made a point of reminding members of our history and quoted from minutes of our 40th AGM in 1914, which showed that two new wines were to be included:
‘a ‘Chablis type’ and one a ‘claret type’: both from the 1907 vintage in California. In fact we first listed wines from California in 1890 and Australian wines as early as 1880.’
We have scanned in pages from the 1914 July List for those interested in looking at the sort of wines members had access to 100 years ago.
Questions and comments from the floor included a request for graphs showing trends in members’ drinking preferences; a question about the age profile of new members and how this compared to the existing membership; a thank you for allowing the withdrawal of part-cases from Members’ Reserves and a request for the facility to lay down mixed six-bottle cases; an update on progress in expanding our listing of English and Welsh wines, and a request to be able to collect wines bought en primeur from Montreuil.
A full transcript of the questions and answers and minutes from the meeting will be posted on the website in due course.
In the meantime, the Chairman’s speech can be viewed here.
On Monday 6th June The Wine Society held its 137th Annual General Meeting in the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster. Chairman Sarah Evans addressed the 425 members and their guests; there was a wide variety of questions and comments from the floor. Sarah paid tribute to Sebastian Payne MW who was taking to the stand for a last time in the capacity of chief buyer. Before the meeting closed, Sebastian made the following brief speech:Since it is the last time I shall do this, I would like to end, if I may, on a personal note.
I joined The Wine Society as a member in 1967. Six years later I became a member of its staff.
It was obvious to me from the start that The Society, formed in 1874 almost by happy accident, was an exceedingly good idea. Its focus always was and is to provide members with delicious wines from all over the world at a fair price. To do this well in the long-term interest of its members and owners rather than in the short-term for profit.
I have been fortunate to work with successive Committees who understand this completely and with colleagues who, I believe, have managed the business well and with integrity.
I have been doubly fortunate to have been The Wine Society buyer since 1985, the best job in the wine trade.
It has been a pleasure to do the job for such an articulate and discriminating and reasonably critical membership, who keep us on our toes.
Thank you all.
Long may The Wine Society flourish!
Read a transcript of Sarah Evans’ speech here including a full tribute to Sebastian Payne.