CWN Winter Drinks 2019 at 67 Pall Mall
CWN members started 2019 in style on 23 January at 67 Pall Mall by making new connections and learning about wine at the same time. Grant Ashton, Founder & CEO, hosted this CWN event in their magnificent Grade II venue. Grant set up this fabulous members’ club in 2015 and described it as ‘not a gentleman’s stuffy club, this is a club for social people who enjoy wine and want to know more about wine.’ He also added that at least 30% of their members are female and he was keen to increase the gender diversity ratio. With over 4,000 bottles of wine and currently the largest wine list by the glass, it certainly is an appealing possibility.
As a network which brings together successful women, we were delighted that a female sommelier introduced the wines available to taste. She had selected them as they all had ‘emerging’ aspects, such as a British couple that started producing wines and regions that had only recently started growing grapes. Interestingly, the red wine from Greece proved extremely popular.
Then we were charmed by Sarah Kemp, the former Managing Director of Decanter, who shared some amusing anecdotes as she briefed us on how wine has changed over the last forty years. She believes we are in a golden age of wine as we’ve never had better wine made with the most incredible selection from all around the world.
Sarah started with the role of Oddbins bringing Australian wines to the UK and went on to tell us how a wine tasting competition with French judges, in Paris, organised by a young British wine merchant called Stephen Spurrier, started an explosion in Californian wines. She revealed how she set up the Decanter Wine Competition which became the world’s largest wine competition (now with over 17,000 wines judged by 250 judges) and we revelled in hearing how last year an English wine producer called Ridgeview beat all the established French champagne houses, to win the best sparkling wine award. Finally, we heard about the rise of Chinese wines, triggered by an unknown wine producer west of Beijing winning the best Bordeaux Blend Category.
All in all, the evening was a wonderful excuse to meet old and new CWN members and to toast the new year in style.