VATS Committee Meetings 2007


Present: Rob Shaw, Bernd Sonnenberg, Dave Moss, Hanneke van Linge

Financial Report:
89 paid members
63 guests
Anyone who would like to see the financial for his quarter, please e-mail Rob at
Tasting Co-ordinator's report:
The rest of the year is pretty much organised, we are just waiting for replies for 6/11 and 26/11.
4/12 to be Vats Top 6 wines for 2007. 11/12 to be final tasting for 2007. Hanneke to present bubblies with a social.
Tastings planned for 2008 so far - 8/1 Geoff - white blends, 22/1 Chairman's tasting and AGM.
Rob to print business cards for committee members, to be handed out as shows and tastings.
Response to Website is good from new and emerging wine farms.
Food / wine matching functions very topical, to possibly be more emphasised on Website, to encourage estates to
offer more tastings / sponsorships.
To approach Catherine Rebel to do a basic and/or advanced food/wine matching workshop, possibly coupled with a social.
Investigate the possibility of some members being able to offer cooking courses to match with wine tastings.
To raise the topic at the next AGM of members rushing the presenter in order to go to supper afterwards.
Emphasis to be made that tastings start at 7:30 sharp, and end as closely as possible to 9:00, keeping in mind the eventuality
that (specifically) winemakers present more lengthy tastings. It is, after all, a privilege to have the winemaker attend in person.
It is considered to be in our favour (when approaching estates to do tastings, and in the industry in general) that our scoring is
done accurately and empirically, and published in the Website.
Bernd to make a bag to fit all the spittoons for easy handling.
Dave to approach Rado (BCC) to organise cleaning of spittoons, as well as investigate the possibility of acquiring
a lockable cupboard at the venue for spittoons / glasses etc.
With respect to presenters' gifts, it was decided to restrict it to a free supper after the tasting, if this offer is not taken up,
no other gifts / tokens to be offered;
Hanneke to buy 12 decanters for tastings.
Secretary's report:
Minutes of previous meeting:
Bernd to get prices of t-shirts with embroidered logos;
Arising from the treasurer's report, it was decided that as the venue costs have gone up by 100% in the last 2 years,
and the costs of wines have gone up as well, the annual membership fees for 2008 are to up to R100.
Bern to look into his records when last the fees went up.
Hanneke to look into the possibility of doing a joint festival with Brightwater Commons Oyster and Champagne festival.
Communication with members - confusing signals going out to mailing list. Previous decision was to let all communication
come from secretary, as people were getting confused when communication came from two sources.
In future, notice of tastings to be sent out on Wednesdays by the secretary, and a reminder to be sent out from the chairman
on Monday prior to the tastings.
Serious policy and conduct issues to be exclusively sent by the chairman to avoid issues as experienced recently.
All bookings to go through secretary.
Dave to approach webmaster, issues / suggestions to be discussed:
Dreamweaver (Rob can provide software)
Use of filmstrips (we have a fantastic gallery, let's use it)
Gallery order to be revised so most recent event shows at the top, not the bottom.
The “tasting results” page to be converted to a printable format (per tasting), without the need for select /cut/paste-type actions.
Alternatively, to create a “print this page” button per tasting.
Keywords on search engines - how are people finding us and should we be diversifying?
A Vast group has been created on FaceBook, webmaster to create a link to it on the main page.
Suggestion to be brought up at AGM that VATS acronym should stand for Vintage Authentic Tasting Sods.
2007 Beaumont Shiraz - if any member wants some, they are to approach Dave before Mid October.
The rest to be moved to Bernd's house and be used at Gluhwéin competition in 2008.
2008 Beaumont Shiraz - The need was determined to have one person in charge of the wine-making process.
Dave to approach either Rudolph or Kevin to fill the post. The Baron & Moss venue to be kept for the making and storing of the wine.
Kevin and Rudolph also to be approached for their notes /summaries of the processes followed in previous years, to build up
a type of archive for future reference.
Year-end function - 11/12, Hanneke to present a bubbly / MCC tasting with snack afterwards, details to be resolved at the
30/10 tasting.
Vats Logo - Hanneke to consult with her designer before 11/12.
Date of AGM to be 22 January 2008.
The possibility of creating a “Social Co-Ordinator” portfolio was raised again. It was decided to let the initiative lie with the
members, rather than create a portfolio. If someone wants to get involved, encourage them.
Bernd to look into the option of organising a Wine-lands Tour, but definitely co-opt a keen member to assist with the
organisation thereof.
Vats has created a presence on FaceBook, secretary to notify members with a link etc.


Present: Rob Shaw, Bernd Sonnenberg, Dave Moss, Hanneke van Linge

Matters discussed:
Financial Report - Rob said we are cash flush again. Rob to investigate the possibility of a rate increase for 2008.
Tasting co-ordinator's report - All is well, tastings are booked until 21/8.
Secretary's Report - Database is being updated on a continuous basis.
Next social is the Gluhwéin evening 17/7.
Possible future socials to be held at Golden Harvest Park.
To consider organising a social / group to do the Vaal River Meander (Dave to investigate)
Presenters supper / gifts - need more thought. Maybe table weights?
It was voted that requests for wine-related special offers and / or price lists to be distributed via the mailing list are to be declined
The borrowing of Vats glasses at tastings is to be discontinued, as it is being abused.
Branded glasses will be available at R15 each, (or R12.50 each if 6 are bought), unbranded ones still at R10.
No-shows at booked / paid for functions:
Maybe set up an early-bird structure (discount of plm R10)
No-shows must pay if any other tasters were turned away. To be rigorously enforced if specific members do this more than once.
Beaumont tasting:
Bernd to set date with Rats, Dave to confirm who is hosting.
Our wine is looking good, just about to be blended. Bernd has bottles.
Bernd to investigate Addict t-shirts with Vats logos
Etiquette at tastings:
Mention needs to be made at every tasting of perfume / toothpaste / smoking, and noise levels need to be
controlled more closely.
Members' comments of wines and winemakers is getting out of hand, responsibility lies with chairman to ensure criticism
is fair and constructive. On the other hand, it is also the chairman's responsibility to pull the presenter back to the group if
he/she focuses too much on one taster to the detriment of the group as a whole.
Ideas for future tastings:
Avondale is keen, Liquidity company (brandies), beer (Worthogs), pate & wines, food & wine matching (Catherine Rebel),
Woolworth's (sponsored food & wine fest), Vondeling. More wine makers if possible.
Committee to think about ideas for a (possibly annual) mini-festival in 2008 at Fabz / Cellar D'Or / Longmeadow restaurant /
Bryanston High School (eg Port & Fortified, in association with Port Association?)
We might want to look into running two mailing lists, one for members only, the other off the Website.
Meeting adjourned, date for next meeting to be advised.


Attended by Dave Moss, Bernd Sonnenberg, Hanneke van Linge, Rob Shaw.

Matters discussed:
The tasting schedule has been implemented by Bernd to take us into April.
Rob reports that our expenses have been high for the start of the year.
Six of the Best tastings, Chairman's tasting, and costs of the Beaumont Challenge have all been high.
We plan to have a raffle at tastings to raise funds.
VATS Social and Boulle Championship Day at Athol's house. Details have been finalised.
We will award prizes for best cook and winner of the boulle.
Costs to be R 50.00 for members and R 75.00 for non-members.
Children under 5 years free and children under 12 years half price.
There is a good vibe and atmosphere at VATS tastings.