Sailors’ Society Wine Tasting Event at ING Bank, London.

Last Thursday ING Bank very kindly hosted a wine tasting on behalf of the Sailors’ Society. Founded in 1818, the Sailors’ Society is a not-for-profit Christian charity that provides relief and benefits in many ports around the world. Jan Webber, Director of Fundraising at the Sailors’ Society gave an example of two corresponding chaplains enabling an injured Ukrainian seaman to Skype his family back home from his hospital bed in Brazil. The Sailors’ Society is also currently recruiting teams to take part in the Three Peaks Challenge (email for details).

Stephen Fewster, the Global Head of Transportation Finance at ING was the host, and ING also provided the wine-expert and the butler service. First, we were greeted by Holly and Sophie from the Sailors Society and shown some of the wines from the cellar. The ING cellar is essentially that of Barings Bank, which ING bought for £1.00 and assumed all the debt brought about by Nick Leeson’s gambles on the forex market in 1995. Barings was the oldest private bank in the City, and was famous for its fine dining. Indeed, according to the butler, that was the basis of the bank. Clients were treated to wines that the bank had laid down years before, which were almost unobtainable anywhere else. We were shown some of the rare wines from the cellar, including a Margaux that would cost £15,000 in a restaurant. On the display table were several six-bottle cases of Petrus, which currently average around £1,000 per bottle at auction. According to the head butler, upon hearing of the bank’s collapse the chairman telephoned him with the instruction; “lock up the wine cellar and take the keys home with you. Guard them with your life”.

The wine tasting was of six different wines, three whites followed by three reds. The wine expert explained how the bulk of the information on French wine bottles labels can be misleading or just unnecessary. While it is interesting to know the “terrior” and on which bank of a particular river the grapes were grown, the most useful thing to know is who made the wine. This is a brilliant piece of advice – next time you drink a bottle of wine you really like – just remember name the wine-maker.

To the wines. Below is the list of wines we tried and the names of the wine-makers.


Rully La Chatalienne, Olivier Laflaive 2011 (£11.95 a bottle)

Pouilly Fume, Eric Louis 2011 (£13.99 a bottle)

Chassagne – Montracher, Les Chenevottes, Marc Morey 2007 (£35.00 a bottle)


Château Cadet, Cotes de Castillon, Louis Mitjavile 2008 (no longer available – if you see a bottle, buy it immediately)

Bourgogne Cyrot – Buthiau, Pinot-Noir, 2010 (£12.95)

Château Cissac, Haut-Medoc, Vialard 2009 (£9.58)

We were told to write down our opinions and then the wine-expert told us which ones were the more expensive. On the whites, I was the only one who preferred the Olivier Laflaive, even those this was the cheapest.

On the reds I was more in line with popular opinion. The Louis Mitjavile was the most favoured among the 40 or so people present. It had a longer finish than the other reds. It was also quite high in alcohol content. Although the wine-expert gave an opinion on prices, I have looked up the current prices on the internet. All the above prices are per bottle if you bough a case ex-VAT from Corney & Barrow wine merchants. I looked on several websites, and the 2008 vintage of Louis Mitjavile seems to have sold out, so if you see a bottle buy it immediately.

As well as hosting the event, I hear that ING donated £4,000 to the Sailors’ Society. So let’s raise a glass to ING.



About Craig Jallal
A shipping analyst whose feels the need to comment on the industry.

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