WARE WINE & BEER CIRCLE
THIS YEAR'S MEETINGS

2018
December: American Supper
Seventeen members and three guests attended the supper which was held in lieu of a Xmas meal. The Circle had enjoyed a lunchtime meal to celebrate its 40th anniversary in November. That said, the 40th was also considered part and parcel of this supper. Members brought a selection of savoury and sweet dishes for all to enjoy. These included mackerel and salmon pate starters, meat selections, southern fried chicken, pigs in blankets, quiches, vol au vents, mixed salad, sausage rolls, bread, apple crumble, mince pies, sponge pudding, chocolate cake and 40th iced fruit cake. Members also brought homemade wines and beers. At the start of the evening Kevin thanked all for their efforts and proposed a ladies first approach at the buffet table. At the end of the evening, David thanked everybody for their food contributions. Kevin lit the candles on the 40th cake and Glen was asked to blow them out before it was cut and distributed around the table. Before leaving, Peter R. gave a brief report on the Dickensian evening.

December: Ware Christmas Festival
Despite recent work to Tudor Square we were able to set up our usual stall at the Ware Dickensian evening at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Friday December 7th. With last year’s boiler problems in mind, Peter R. had tested the boiler a few days before hand and as a result equipment was soon up and running. The evenings custom proved to be a little slower than usual, but surprisingly all the hot mulled wine was sold by about 9 p.m. Peter R. took control of the boiler, Kevin encouraged the public to buy with typical market stall announcements, Robert refilled jugs for Peter B. and Chris to serve. Elaine once again took charge of the “till”. The evening was again a success and the club managed to raise approximately £700 providing a profit slightly in excess of £600. A donation will be sent to the Ware Arts Centre.

Photo Gallery

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November: 40th Anniversary Dinner, White Horse, Hertfordingbury by Peter B
The Circle was founded in November 1978 and celebrated its 40th Anniversary at a special lunch at The White Horse, Hertingfordbury on Sunday, 25th November.
The occasion was enjoyed by twenty-six members and past members including founder members, Peter and Margaret B. Peter was the first Chairman of the Circle.
On display were all the newsletters from the first published in 1979, early photos of the Circle’s walks, trips abroad etc. and other documents from the Circle’s archive. (Peter had also researched the club history and created a document of the major events, which was available to read at the lunch.)
Kevin, the current chairman, welcomed the members and guests.
Peter B gave a short speech describing how the Circle began. Originally meeting in members’ homes numbers grew, to 45 members at one stage, and the Circle looked for a permanent venue. Over the years meetings were held at Place House, The Old Bulls Head and Chadwell Springs. After a second spell at Place House for many years, the Circle finally settled on the Ware Arts Centre where it has been meeting for some ten years or so.
Peter said how innovative the Circle had been over the years with its unique Wine Drive, now computerised, and the first Wine Circle to have a website amongst its achievements. The Circle’s reputation has grown in the wine and beer making fraternity and members Peter and Elaine R and Kevin are officers in the National Association of Wine and Beermakers. In the last few years several members of the Circle, in particular, Peter, Elaine, Kevin, Chris and Robert have been very successful at shows around the country. As a result Ware has been England’s number one wine & beer Circle for the past three years. Peter made mention of the Master classes that the Circle runs every 6 weeks or so for experienced and novice winemakers.
Peter ended the speech with a toast to the Circle for completing its 40 years and looking forward to the next 40 years.
The Circle’s president Dave K gave a closing address thanking everybody who organised what was a successful 40th anniversary.

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October: Food Competition - Healthy Foods
10 members and 2 guests attended the meeting. Kevin clarified the anniversary dinner menu as there appeared to be some confusion regarding circulated details and the venue web site.
Kevin explained the food competition procedure and apologised for the lack of savoury dishes which was due to the ill health of various members. There were 2 savoury and 5 sweet entries.
The results were as follows -
Savoury
1st Margaret with Oven Baked Fritatta with Reduced Fat Cheese
2nd Carol with Baked Cheddar Cauliflower Bites
Sweet
1st Richard & Emma with Reduced Fat Cream “5 A Day” Cheese Cake
2nd Kevin with Strawberry Yoghurt Cheesecake

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September: Portuguese Wine Tasting by Mark Duce & In House Wine Competition
14 members and 2 guests attended the meeting. Kevin requested £10 deposits for the anniversary meal and informed the meeting that the coming food competition would be based upon healthy eating.
The number of entries for the three internal competition classes were:
1) Rose Medium Dry, 11 bottles; 2) White Fruit Dry, 11 bottles and 3) Vegetable Any Colour Dry, 5 bottles.
With thanks to Daphne, the wine competition places were awarded as follows:
Class 1 1st Peter Robinson; 2nd Robert Fergus; 3rd Kevin Martin
Class 2 1st Elaine Robinson; 2nd Peter Robinson; 3rd Peter Byford; 4th Robert Fergus
Class 3 1st Robert Fergus; 2nd Kevin Martin; 3rd Elaine Robinson
While the competition was being judged, guest speaker Mark Duce of Liberty Wines presented a collection of Portuguese wines with a review and discussion on each. The wines were -
NV White Port, Sandeman, Douro £12.99
2017 Vinho Verde, Quinta de Azevedo £9.99
2017 Planalto, Douro Branco, Casa Ferreirinha £9.99
2017 Dao Tinto, Grao Vasco £8.99
2016 Trinca Bolotas Alentejo Tinto, Herdade do Peso £12.49
2016 Papa Figos Douro Tinto, Casa Ferreirinha £11.99
NV 20 year old Tawny Port, Sandeman, Douro £39.99
David Kenney thanked Mark for his presentation.


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August: Annual BBQ
Plan A - Colin and Mary were due to host the BBQ as a belated celebration for Colin's 80th birthday. Unfortunately, illness meant that this was not possible.
Plan B - Peter and Margaret offered to host the BBQ at their house instead. Unfortunately, after a hot summer, the weather forecast was very grim with rain most of the day!
Plan C - Peter R contacted the Arts Centre; it was available!
17 members and 2 ex-members (no-one dropped out due to the weather), attended the event. Peter R still bbq-ed the chicken (in the garage), and Margaret cooked the wild boar sausages. The usual salads and desserts were prepared by the members and the event was enjoyed by everyone. Dave (club president) thanked the committee for organising the event and the members for providing the food.

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August: Annual Computerised Wine Drive, run by Elaine and Peter R
13 members attended the meeting which began with Chris presenting the certificates and trophies to the winners of the annual show in July.
9 members took part in this year’s Annual wine drive, with 9 bottles of wine entered, two being commercial wines. Eight teams (mostly of one member) sampled and judged the wines in a series of comparative tastings with each wine being tasted at least once against all the other wines. Points were awarded on a strict 2 – 1 or 3 – 0 option based upon team discussion regarding wine quality. Result sheets were collected by Peter R and entered onto a computer league table by Elaine producing the following results -
9th Kevin, 8th Robert, 7th commercial Rose from Aldi, Joint 4th Chris, Elaine, and a commercial white which came in a carton and was won at a tombola(!), 3rd Robert, 2nd Peter R, 1st Peter B.
Founders Trophy points awarded to Peter B 4, Peter R 3, Robert 2 and Elaine and Chris 1 point each.
Dave (club president) thanked Peter and Elaine for organising the evening.

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July: 38th Annual Show
The club held its 38th Annual Show at Ware Arts Centre.
11 competitors, including 5 from other wine & beer circles, entered 137 bottles in eight wine classes and four beer classes. Entries and judges all arrived promptly allowing the show to commence on time. The Judges were Mike Davey, Geoff Fryer, Richard Baldwin, Colin Hotham and Peter Robinson. After the judging, the judges and assisting stewards and show organisers enjoyed a salad lunch.

Thanks to all who entered and well done to all the winners who will be announced at the August meeting and presented with their trophies.

Click here for results and trophy winners.

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July: Italian Night
16 members and one guest attended. Chairman Kevin provided background music and received several requests, however despite the requests the music played on throughout the evening! Glenn was among the attendees and brought 2 bottles of Prosecco and the room raised a glass in continuance of the celebration of her 101st birthday. The Italian theme was accomplished by the serving of a creamy salmon pasta dish with salad accompaniment followed by Tiramasu and /or three flavours of ice cream. The food was supported by two wines a) Ciliegiolo, a dry red and b) Trebbiano, a dry white. A Marsala liqueur was an optional dressing for the ice cream.

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June: Call My Bluff by Kevin
Only 6 members attended the meeting which was based upon Kevin’s presentation of four commercial wines each accompanied by the correct and two false descriptions. Members tasted the wines and by show hands indicated what they believed to be the true bottle review. Each wine received reasonable discussion and mixed opinion. The four wines were all purchased from Lidl as follows -
1. Chenin Blanc 13% at £3.89p
2. German Riesling 10% at £4.99
3. Cotes Du Rhone 13% at £3.99
4. Malbec (French) 12% at £4.99
Kevin provided bread, cheese and pickles during the tasting along with a selection of quotes from a “Senior Jokes” book. At the close of the meeting, following discussion, it was agreed that the remaining wine be offered to the attending members at £2 per bottle, each bottle having well over 50% of the contents. The members thanked Kevin for his input to the evening.

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May: Quiz Nite with Dave and Sue
16 members attended the meeting including the quizmasters.
Chairman Kevin addressed the meeting prior to the quiz and reminded the members that the June tea party had been cancelled, potential venues for the 40th anniversary meal were to be discussed at committee and that responses were required to the email from Elaine regarding GDPR.
Kevin explained that the Call My Bluff event would involve four commercial wines each given three descriptions, one of which would be true. Nibbles would be provided for the meeting. Kevin also ave a brief run down of the club’s success at the Beds & Herts show before handing over to Dave & Sue for the quiz.
The quiz consisted of six rounds of ten questions upon the subjects of general knowledge, history, natural history, science, art and sport. A 20 questions marathon sheet was also to be answered during the course of the quiz. Members were divided into 5 teams and the initial result involved a tie break between three teams. Team 1, Peter R, Eddie and Mary, won the tie break.
Kevin thanked Dave & Sue for presenting the quiz. Chris reminded the attendees that the Ware show was on Saturday 21st July and that there was still a few weeks to prepare numerous entries.
The entry form for the club's Annual show can be found on the Annual Show page.

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May: Beds & Herts Federation Show 2018
Peter, Elaine, Chris, Robert and Kevin entered the show this year. Elaine took her usual role with the management of show results and awards. Kevin and Chris judged with Robert and Carol acting as stewards. Elaine got three 1st places and 19 other places; Peter got seven 1st places and 24 other places; Kevin got four 1st places and 8 other places; Robert got two 1st places and 2 other places; Chris got 11 places. Elaine won the Daphne Grant Trophy for the lady with most points in the wine classes. Peter won the Herts Horticural Trophy for highest points in the wine classes, with Elaine 2nd. Peter also won the National Trophy for highest points in the table / after dinner classes and the SJ Buckley Trophy for the highest points in the beer classes. The circle was the guild with highest overall points, for the fourth year, with 409 points and was awarded the Rolls Royce Trophy.
Full report and results on the NAWB web site.

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May: Wales & West 54rd Annual Festival
The Wales & West 2018 Festival was held on 4th - 7th May at the TLC Group Victoria Hotel, Torquay with seven members of Ware attending, namely Elaine, Peter, Kevin, Chris and Carol, Robert and Susan as well as Lynn.
Elaine, Peter, Kevin and Chris judged various classes and Carol and Lynn assisting as stewards. Elaine, Peter, Kevin, Robert, Chris & Carol entered the show.
Ware Wine & Beer Circle retained the Leytonian Cup awarded to the non-affiliated circle with most points across all open classes and was awarded the South Gloucestershire Trophy for the club with most points across all beer classes for the second year running. Kevin was awarded Master Beermaker for which he was presented with the Ken Perry Trophy for the second time. Robert gained a first place for his photograph.
The festival included tastings of 4 interesting gins, wines and beers along with the usual evening entertainment. Then followed late night discussions upon the merits of individual’s wine and beer entries. Once again, the Wales & West was enjoyed by all attendees.
Next year's show will take place over the weekend of the May Day Bank holiday.

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April: AGM followed by the First Semi-Final of the Countries Wine Challenge
15 members attended the meeting. The minutes of last year’s AGM were accepted following a brief run-down of the major issues by Peter R. after he realised that he had printed the 2015 AGM minutes by mistake. Kevin presented the Chairman’s report which outlined club successes throughout the 2017/18 year including the Dickensian evening despite initial difficulty with the boiler which may have caused total failure.
Peter R. presented the Treasurer’s report stating a balance of circa £1260 i.e. a very small loss for the year. However, Peter did point out that had the boiler problem at the Dickensian evening not been resolved, the financial status of the club would have been very different. Peter commented that the club’s annual subscriptions will remain unchanged.
It was proposed and seconded that all committee members remain in post for the coming year.
Outgoing President John congratulated David as having been elected the new President.
Other business included a reminder that the June outing would be afternoon tea at Pearces. Following considerable discussion regarding the belated Xmas meal in March and various proposals for the venue for the 40th anniversary meal in the coming November, it was concluded that more investigation was required and that the subject would be resolved at future club meetings.
The AGM was concluded by Chris announcing that Kevin had won the Founder’s Trophy which had been a closely run contest being decided by points gained at the March cherry wine competition.
The Countries for the Wine Challenge semi-final were Spain and Eastern Europe. Six bottles of wine had been purchased from Tesco and Majestic Wines (2 white & 4 red) within the price range £2.61 (on a clearance offer from £4) to £8.00. Attendees sampled each wine and a vote was taken to establish the preferred wines. On this occasion, the winning country was Spain. Although the votes for the white wines were close, the reds were decisive.

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Sunday 25th March 2018; Belated Xmas Meal
The Christmas meal planned for December 2017 had been cancelled due to poor weather conditions making travel difficult for many members. This rearranged meal at the Three Lakes Restaurant, Westmill Farm, Ware was attended by twenty members and guests. The change of date brought about a wider choice of menu than the set Xmas roast and the members did well to remember their individual orders assisted by charts placed along the table by Kevin! At the end of the meal our president John stood and proposed thanks to Kevin for his efforts in arranging the gathering and also brought attention to the clubs successes at the National show.

March: Internal Competition, and guest speaker
Twelve members attended the meeting. Kevin introduced John Wing for a brief update on the Southern Maltings project.
Elections at East Herts had brought about a major reshuffle of councillors and with it a significant change of attitude towards the Maltings future. John reported such issues as roof refurbishment, resolving external floor level problems, removal of floors and insertion of a steel frame. Waggers bar had been reinstated and the number of events increasing throughout 2017. Two months had been lost due to the wait for Building Control to be satisfied that concrete floors provided adequate fire resistance. This resulted in an additional ceiling to be installed. The upstairs is to be art studios with sprung floors to reduce noise levels and downstairs will be a large performance area for up to 250 people, together with a café, bar, shop, new restaurant and reception area. At the end of the building where WWBC currently meet will be teaching, ceramics and printing studios.
Kevin moved the meeting on to the Cherry Wine competition. There were 7 entries which were each sampled and marked for bouquet and flavour by the attendees. All were worthy entries however the results were as follows. 1st Kevin and Joint 2nd Robert, Chris and a 50/50 blend of Robert & Chris’ wines. Founders cup points were awarded Kevin 4, Robert 2, Chris 2.
Kevin gave attendees a sample of his 3 week blueberry wine which achieved a second at the National and Peter and Elaine passed around a National 3rd dry white sparkling.
Kevin thanked John Wing for the update and closed the meeting.
Kevin reminded the meeting that the April meeting would be on Monday 16th and was the AGM.

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March: National Show at Royal Court Hotel, Coventry

Peter and Elaine R, Kevin, Robert and Susan, and Chris and Carol went to the 60th Anniversary National show at Coventry. See the NAWB website for the full results and photos.
Ware Wine & Beer Circle and its members were among the 6 federations, 11 circles and 71 individual entrants at the National Association of Wine & Beer Makers (Amateur) Annual Show in Coventry on Saturday 17th March 2018. A total of 1524 bottles and 9 photos were entered across the show’s 94 classes.
Ware Circle and its members gained 22 first and 138 other places and as a result retained their position at the top of the National Club Points League Table and the Amateur Winemakers Shield, for the fourth year in succession. In addition, Ware Circle won the NAWB Beer Trophy and The Sweet ‘N’ Dry Cup. Ware Chairman Kevin Martin and Treasurer Peter Robinson shared the NAWB Master Trophy - something that has not been achieved for 32 years!. Kevin won the The Temple Tankard and the Hill Cup; Elaine was awarded the Lady Winemaker Trophy, and Peter won the Bournemouth Master Winemakers Cup; Chris won the Brian Keer Trophy. Ware Circle and its members won a total of 23 trophies.
The Show was a weekend event and included a presentation of home brew beers and wines. The highlight of the weekend was Saturday evening’s formal dinner followed by the presentation of major trophies and musical entertainment.
This year Robert took some of Peter and Elaine's trophies home!

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February: New River Brewery talk and tasting
15 members and 1 ex-member attended the talk and tasting by Jeremy and John from the New River Brewery in Hoddesdon.
Jeremy explained how the brewery started in 2015. Neither Jeremy nor John come from a brewing background, apart from doing some home-brewing. They took over an old building in Hoddesdon in 2014 and had to do a lot of work to make the building usable, including levelling the floor, before they could start brewing. They are now selling to over 200 pubs and clubs throughout Hertfordshire, as far north as Cambridge, and also some in London. Jeremy stated that although they source the water for brewing from the same source as the New River, they are not allowed to take water directly from the New River due to a bye-law dating back to James I!
They brought along three beers for the members to taste, as follows:
  • Twin Spring - a mellow golden ale at 4%, which uses the Wai-iti New Zealand hops; it is caramel-infused, with mandarin, lemon and lime zest aromas
  • Five Inch Drop - an IPA at 4.7%; refreshing citrus, pine needle flavours
  • Blind Poet - a porter at 4.5%; smoked liquorice and chocolate flavours
Kevin and Peter R also brought along two beers to taste -
  • Kevin - Exmoor Gold - (Beds & Herts recipe) 5.5%
  • Peter - Old Burton Ale - a Durden Park recipe 7%
Unfortunately the brewery does not yet do tours of the brewery, but there is a pleasant walk along the New River to get to the brewery.

President John thanked Kevin for organising the evening.

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January: Favourite Wines
17 members attended the meeting which was opened by Kevin informing everybody that John, who was in attendance, had recently suffered a fall and wished him well. Chris reminded the room of March’s internal competition for Cherry Wine and of the Annual Show with speciality class being the fresh grape recipe.
Several members had brought a bottle of home made wine for all to taste and discuss under the heading “Our Favourite Wine”.
  • Kevin– A parsnip wine recipe fermented using an empty airlock to gain Sherry characteristics.
  • Elaine – citrus aperitif which was the NAWB orange marmalade recipe which had improved with age and achieved several first places.
  • Kevin – An Avanti Petiano red grape wine which was stated to be a little “rough” when first made but had mellowed to a pleasing wine.
  • Mary – Kiwi wine, Mary’s first attempt being a medium sweet wine which Mary and the meeting found very pleasant.
  • Robert – A blueberry wine made from blueberry and grape juice. The wine had only been bottled one day however it proved very palatable.
  • Chris – A social red medium sweet wine made from a base of frozen red mixed summer fruits.
  • Peter R. – Red after dinner wine which Kevin “judged” to be in need of more fruit & alcohol! Peter read an article about the club in 1983 i.e. the year that he and Elaine had joined.
  • Kevin – last, but not least, a liqueur made from whiskey and oranges.

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Last updated: 12/12/18
Copyright: 2001 WWBC