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The Vintners’ Company celebrate 650 years in good company

24 May 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Glenn Roberts
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The night of Monday 20th May 2013 will live long in the memory of those who attended the unique International Wine Trade Dinner at Vintners’ Hall, in celebration of the 650th anniversary of the Company’s first Royal Charter in 1363.  What a party it turned out to be! 

In 1363 Master Vintner Henry Pickard hosted a feast for five Kings, but 650 years later Master Vintner Michael Cox was proud to host wine trade royalty who had travelled from ten countries. 
The stellar cast list of attendees included Paul Pontallier (Chateau Margaux), HRH Prince Robert of Luxembourg (Chateau Haut-Brion), Aubert de Villaine (Domaine de la Romanée-Conti), John Buck CNZM OBE (Te Mata, New Zealand), Serge Hochar (Chateau Musar), Etienne Hugel (Hugel et Fils), Egon Muller (Weingut Egon Muller), Arturo Cousiño (Cousiño Macul, Chile), and Mauricio González-Gordon (González Byass).

Mistress Vintner (Lynne Cox) welcomes
HRH Prince Robert of Luxembourg to Vintners' Hall

They were joined by the great and the good from the British wine trade, including Freemen Honoris Causa Michael Broadbent MW and Hugh Johnson OBE, Oz Clarke, Steven Spurrier, and Sarah Kemp. 

Master Vintner (Michael Cox)
with Jancis Robinson OBE, MW
The guest of honour Jancis Robinson OBE MW spoke eloquently and amusingly with anecdotes from her much lauded career. In proposing a toast to the Vintners’ Company, she highlighted the role the Vintners has played in the development of the wine trade and notably its support of wine education through the Institute of Masters of Wine, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, and the WSTA, and its continuous backing of the trade’s charity The Benevolent. 

In responding to the toast, the Master drew attention to Jancis’s outstanding contribution to the world of wine, and congratulating her on becoming the most recent Freeman Honoris Causa of the Company.  Welcoming all those that had travelled from all corners of the globe, he also commented on the important part that France had played in the 650 year history of The Vintners, and the fact that, apart from the excellent vintage port, all the wines served at the dinner were French. This did not stop him from poking some mild fun at our closest neighbours, to rousing applause! 

The playing of the Post Horn Gallop from the gallery by the band of the Honourable Artillery Company 
was greatly appreciated by the cosmopolitan diners, and all the Court members and Liverymen present felt proud that their Company had hosted such a convivial and successful evening of good food, superb wines, and unrivalled camaraderie. 
To view the SEATING PLAN click HERE
To view the FULL GUEST LIST click HERE
To view the MENU AND WINES click HERE

Guests at the International Wine Trade Dinner seated in the spectacular Vintners' Company Livery Hall

Oz Clarke with Serge Hochar
of Château Musar and John Buck CNZM OBE

Photographs by Darren Woolway.  More photographs of this event can be viewed HERE

Extracts from some correspondence received following the dinner: 

What a truly incredible and memorable evening last night.  The dinner lived up to this great and historic anniversary of the Vintners in every aspect. The organisation was totally flawless and quite superb.  What was so special was that it was all done with a bit of humour and affection, while the underlying theme was of the utmost respect for everything that the Vintners stand for.
Paul Symington, Managing Director, Symington Family Estates, Oporto 

It was one of those truly memorable events that demonstrate yet again that contemporary Britain continues to do ceremony better than anyone else in the world and with a lot more style.
Jane MacQuitty, wine correspondent, The Times 

Quite simply, it was the best wine trade event I have ever attended.
Dan Jago, Wine Category Director, Tesco

What a triumph. Monday was an extraordinary evening, happy, a fabulous atmosphere, super wines, great food and of course wonderful company. I think you presided over and inspired one of the very great Livery Dinners which will be remembered for ever. Aubert de Villaine (Domaine de la Romanée-Conti) enjoyed himself hugely, Peter Sisseck (Dominio de Pingus) had lunch with me the next day and was similarly entranced and I know Edouard Moueix thought it pretty amazing too! They were all honoured to be there.
Adam Brett-Smith, Managing Director, Corney & Barrow 

I am sure that the Mystery is less mysterious to the wine world this morning…
Simon Berry, Chairman, Berry Brothers & Rudd

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