Honouring a tradition that dates back to the days of Ancient Greece, the Fine Wine and Cheese Society has long played a crucial role in the University’s social scene. In addition to a slew of solo events, the society has partnered with the Global Investment Group, the St Andrews Africa Summit, Management Society, and the Clay Pigeon Shooting Club in order to host the most alcoholic evenings on the social calendar. Exact figures are difficult to determine, but the average guest is allowed access to nearly unlimited quantities of wine and numerous wheels of cheese, easily justifying the relatively steep entry cost.
Possibly a result of the infamous nature of most Wine and Cheese nights, the society has occupied a variety of venues over the years. Dervish, the Cottage Kitchen, the homes of some brave souls, and the Byre Theatre all hold positions in its history. The Byre is possibly the most frequented of the bunch, and it is where the society will make its return on Thursday 24 November.
Once appearing in our diaries with regularity, the Fine Wine and Cheese Society vanished last year, leaving in its wake an aura of unsolved mystery. Recently, the Rule-based event Wine and Sleaze appeared as both a parody of and a tribute to “the bygone era of W&C.” Students mourned the chaos, mess, and unrestrained revelry that accompanied a wine and cheese event, a result of the society’s unashamed dedication to the Bacchanalian arts. No other society centred itself so completely around alcohol; to be a member of the society was to embrace one’s baser desires.
Denizens of Facebook were fraught with anticipation when they received an invitation from the previously dormant Wine and Cheese Facebook page. When the traditional opening event was not held in September, many had written the society off as deceased, vanished in the wake of a low profile 2015-16 campaign (only one event was held last semester). The new committee has made it clear, however, that this year Wine and Cheese intends to make a permanent reappearance as an iconic St Andrews institution.
“We have been working on the resurgence for a while,” the society said. “But our committee members are highly involved in St Andrews socially, athletically, and especially academically.”
Now, as we approach the finale of semester one, the committee is able to fully commit themselves to their roles as the town’s vino cognoscenti. As a subset of last year’s committee, the team has space available for potential members, all of whom are encouraged to attend Thursday’s elections.
As the Fine Wine and Cheese Society prepares to embark on another year of booze and brie, members assure us they will maintain the attributes we have come to value.
“There will be wine,” the society said. “And plenty of it. There will be a roof above our heads. There might be a sliver of cheese.”
As the group endeavours to serve only the finest of wines in the classiest of venues, the average event requires a fair amount of planning. Led by President Victoria Bennington, the committee will surely have no trouble re-establishing the mystique of its predecessors.
By way of summarising the society as a whole, the committee said, “It’s cheeky. And certainly wine-filled.”
We may all be thankful this Thanksgiving for the rebirth of such a glorious institution.