"ANY ESSEX COUNTY N.J. RESIDENTS INTERESTED IN FORMING A WINE SOCIETY PLEASE CONTACT HERBERT “HERB” NEW, 77 MOUNTAINVIEW DRIVE, CEDAR GROVE, N.J. 07009 (201) 239-6216"
Fourteen oenophiles responded to this ad in the July, 1972 issue of (the now-defunct) Vintage Magazine. Eighteen people in total met on October 19, 1972 at the Town & Campus in West Orange, NJ.
Rae and Jack Cohen (who had encouraged Herb to place the ad), Marcene and Irv Tarlow, Susan and Dick Murray, Ann and Jules Terry, Steve Mills, Herman Sebiri, Laurie and Herb New, and six others, tasted some 1964 and 1966 Bordeaux and thus began THE society. As they say, "The rest is history.”
The first dinner was held on May 26, 1973 at the (also now-defunct) Continental Plaza in Hackensack, N.J. By this time The Essex County Wine Society had grown to about forty members. The original founders’ attempts to buy old wines for this dinner seeded the idea of acquiring a Society Wine Cellar.
The evening was a huge success! Each bottle emptied was placed on the floor against the walls - soon they were ringing the room to the amazement of the restaurant staff. The most memorable item from the evening was the 1966 Romanée St. Vivant (DRC) which Herman Sebiri acquired for us for the group for just $150.00 per case. The good old days!
From the start, the Essex County Wine Society had a way of attracting a congenial group. In the early days they would have a season-closing July "Beaujolais Picnic" where everyone chipped in with food or a venue. This has since become the May dinner. There have been informal Chinese, Moroccan, Greek, French, and Italian dinners as well as Champagne brunches and additional themed dinners.
At fifty years and going strong, the Society has and will continue to accomplish the intent of its charter members: to instruct and disseminate knowledge of the world of wine in all its facets.
All of us - present and past members - have acquired knowledge and shared wonderful tasting experiences. And as a by-product, the Society has been the catalyst for the formation of many life-long friendships. Cheers to another 50 years!