The Darling Buds of May

As we surveyed the emergent grape clusters in the Rhine Valley we were informed that this year so far was frost free, unlike previous years, so optimism abounds.

But I digress and since Easter, time has just flown by.

The month started well with the Gin Guild induction and dinner in its new venue of the Guildhall library, followed by a lunch with the Bakers and witnessing the payment of their annual rent in three loaves; positively biblical.

A tour of the regeneration of St Bart’s hospital was an enlightening view of the world of modern medicine and the extraordinary advances in the speed of diagnosis and treatment of cancer and heart disease. The communications and analysis “the Pathway” that happens seamlessly from the moment the patient is in the ambulance to being in the theatre was very impressive. We are fortunate to have some of the finest and most advanced facilities in the world on our doorstep in the City.

The Annual City Drinks Debate that we created five years ago has a well deserved reputation for addressing the big issues of our industry and this year we brought together the best of the innovators and the heavyweights of the city M&A community to consider which was the most effective way of delivering brand growth. Perhaps it was no surprise that the acquisition experts won the day, but perhaps the scale of the movement in opinion that they achieved was! The marketors will have to push back the next time.

For the last 27 years members of the Court have visited the main areas of spirits and wine production around the world but have never been to Germany. Well, after five days in the Rheingau and Mosel Valley that has all changed as we explored the mysteries of their finest Pinot Noir and Riesling vineyards, and they are impressive. A magical moment started the tour when we listened to the oldest working organ in Europe and Andreas Scholl, one of the finest counter-tenors in the world perform for us in Kiedrich Basilica, endowed by the English philanthropist and vineyard owner Sir John Sutton, who built up the Robert Weil winery. A cruise on the Rhine showed how important this waterway is to central Europe; with the stream running at times at 10knots you would not want to get in the way of a downstream tanker. Our boat, painted in the colours of Asbach brandy, moved us swiftly and safely towards the Mosel and a final two days bathed in Riesling and possibly the best weather of the Spring. Dionysus and Apollo were protecting us this time!