Meet the Committee
Alan Black - President
Our President is always the Chairman of the Wine Society, based on our historical links.
Stuart Goldsmith - Vice President
Stuart has been Vice President since 2017 and a member of the club since 1996. He's been a member of the committee twice, including a stint as Chairman.
"The Dining Club is fortunate to be able to attract charismatic wine makers to attend our dinners. Leoville Barton is one of my favourite wines (when I can afford it) and we have welcomed Anthony Barton and more recently his daughter Lilian to speak at a succession of dinners in different Livery Halls over the years: 2001 at Painters Hall was particularly memorable – we followed it up by visiting them when on a Dining Club wine tour to Bordeaux. Also memorable is when en route to Burgundy we have visited Alfred Gratien several times – and nearly missed the onward transport because of their inexhaustible generosity with old bottles of champagne."
Jim Ryan - Vice President
Jim has been Vice President since 2017. Before that, he was Chairman of the Club for 7 years.
‘I’ve been a member of the Club since the 1980’s and have served on the Committee in various capacities for the past twenty years. There are two things I really enjoy about the Club: it gives me an opportunity to spend time with the many members who I count as friends, and it also gives me the chance to enjoy wine I wouldn’t otherwise get to taste, whether from the Reserve, or from the eclectic tastings that we hold.
"I especially enjoy the Tours. The three most recent have seen us go to Piedmont, Spain, and Portugal, Bordeaux is next. I’ve had huge fun at all of them, and come away quite a bit richer in knowledge about some of my favourite areas.
Right now, I have to spend most of every month working in California. I’ve yet to find the West Coast equivalent of the WSDC, if one exists, and that makes me appreciate all the more just what a special and unique thing that Wine Society Dining Club is.’
Eleanor de Kanter - Wine Society Representative
As part of our link with The Wine Society, there is always a Wine Society Representative on our Committee.
I have been on The Wine Society's Committee since 2018 and was elected Deputy Chair in 2021. My day job is as a fintech founder. I love exploring new wines - particularly pairing them with food, which takes the experience to a whole new level. My favourite regions are Rioja and the Rhone.
Azim Karimjee - Chairman
Azim as elected at the 2022 AGM and as Chairman in 2023.
I was introduced to wine through a bottle of 1970 Ch. La Tour St Bonnet at a tasting conducted by the late Richard Peat of Corney & Barrow rather more years ago than I now care to admit. A relatively recent member of WSDC, I’m delighted to join the Committee and to support the operation of the Club. Being able to taste iconic wines in convivial (not to mention extremely knowledgeable) company often in the majestic surroundings of a Livery Hall – what’s not to like!
Mike Stone - Honorary Secretary
Mike was elected to the committee in 2020 after joining the Dining Club in 2009
"I have been a member of the club since around 2010 and have served on the committee previously.
I am a great fan of the Club and particularly enjoy the opportunity it gives me to enjoy wines that I would not normally have a chance to and, in interesting places. I always look forward to the wine tours and am eagerly awaiting the next tour to Bordeaux."
Michael Bullett - Honorary Treasurer
Mike joined the committee as Treasurer in 2019 after being involved with the club since around 2006.
"I've been a wine lover for over 50 years and Burgundy is one of my very favourite areas having made a few visits to producers there. Other wine travels have included California and South Africa and I had a wonderful reception at Felton Road in New Zealand a year ago, where Sarah Knowles had smoothed the path.
"On another trip, in 2011, I visited Huet in Vouvray, where thanks to Jo Locke I had a full trip of the cellars. At one point underground there were some roots dangling down from the vineyard above, Le Haut Lieu I seem to remember. I remarked that we must be fairly close to the surface. “Yes” our guide came back, “just a mere 30 metres”!
"Having been a Dining Club member for around 15 years, I’ve many good memories, but one that I particularly remember was at the 2015 Christmas tasting when I won first the third prize in the raffle, and then 2 draws later - also the first prize, a bottle of Chateau Lafite! My first thought was that I really had got a good return on my investment in raffle tickets! Other guests thoughts on "my return" were rather less printable!""
Lucy Clitherow - Committee Member
Elected at the 2022 AGM.
"I have always been intrigued by wine, and in particular how individual wines can be paired with food to perfectly complement each other. I have learnt a lot about more obscure and less obvious wines during my time as a member of the WSDC and look forward to introducing new members to some of the delights we have in the WSDC cellar. I live in rural Oxfordshire with three dogs (only one of whom shares my enjoyment of wine!). As well as wine, I love to travel and cook and work as a freelance operations manager.”
Sarah Jeffery - Committee Member
"I was introduced to the WSDC around 2015 and was drawn to the common goal of sharing beautifully aged wines with excellent food and company." .Sarah has been active in the committee since 2018 and provided some wonderful event photos for our new website.
"I have been interested in wine from a young age; conducting family blind tastings of French supermarket wine on holiday in my early teens. Over the years that interest has turned into something of an obsession and a few casual tastings led to WSET and Wine Scholar Guild exams (who doesn’t like a certificate?) and ultimately completing the WSET diploma in 2018 after a career break spent travelling various wine regions. Whilst you can’t fault the classics of the old world, there is such an exciting and burgeoning range of regions and grapes to explore and I will try anything once (although a Burmese Sauvignon Blanc was admittedly something of a low point). There are over 1300 grapes in Jancis Robinson's “Wine Grapes” anthology and it is a lifetime mission to try them all.
As an oenophile there is nothing more impossible or infuriating than the common question “what’s your favourite wine?” - so much depends on the occasion, the company, the season and mood. It would be rare for me to turn down a German riesling (my partner is from the Rheingau) and reds tend to be on the more full bodied side- a mature Rioja being a frequent go to wine in my cellar. I am least likely to be seen sipping a rose or pinot noir and I am yet to be converted to skin contact orange wine but am happy to keep searching for one to change my mind. "
Colin Middlemiss - Committee Member
Colin was elected at the 2022 AGM.
"Although I have benefited from being a Wine Society member for many years, I only discovered the existence of the Dinning Club last September. With my career in hospitality, I believe wine and food are inseparable so to find a Club that puts the two together is something I want to support. I recently retired as the Clerk (CEO) of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames. I remain Clerk Emeritus of this wonderful Company which has a Georgian Hall in the City of London used for internal and external events. The Company has its own wine cellar and is a member of the Wine Society.
My own journey through the world of wine started in my youth at home where my Dad had a fondness for German Riesling. I have toured vineyards in France, Italy and Spain both with Watermen’s Company and with my wife. Through the Vintners Company, I have several WSET qualifications."
Dorothy Hurrell - Committee Member
Dorothy was elected to the committee in 2023.
I was introduced to the WSDC ten years ago, and have always found it a very friendly space, where members are warm and welcoming. My journey into wine started because I love cooking, but I quickly learnt that wine is not just what a bottle tastes like, but geography, climate and even social history too. I have really enjoyed the two tours I have been on to Portugal and Bordeaux where it was a real privilege to meet the wine makers and tour their high-tech wineries, learning how they are attempting to meet the challenges of climate change. These tours and the various convivial WSDC events in often historic settings give me the opportunity to taste wines I would never otherwise try. I was fortunate recently to be able to visit the Margaret River area of Western Australia which also opened up new avenues of the wine world to explore. I look forward to being able to contribute towards future events at the Club.
John Clark - Committee Member
John was elected to the committee in 2023.
I have been a member of the Club since 2011. I enjoy the tasting as they give me an opportunity to enjoy wines which I would not normally drink. I am somewhat traditional in my tastes which include Bordeaux, Alsace and Spain particularly Sherry. I have also been fortunate to take part in the tours to Italy, Spain and Portugal.
Corinna and Chris Edge - Joint Club Administrators
Corinna and Chris joined the team in October 2020, with responsibility to adminster memberships, event bookings, and our website, among other tasks.
"We have been members of the Club for many years and both served on the Committee a while ago. We love fine wines and food which is why we joined the Club in the first place. We have enjoyed the many events we have attended and of course the tours we have been fortunate to be able to go on; making many friends over the years. Both of us are Bordeaux, Cote Rotie and desert wine lovers, but also like to try other wines."