WARE WINE & BEER CIRCLE
MEETINGS IN 2002

2002

December: Annual Christmas Dinner
Report by Elaine Robinson
25 members attended the Club's Annual Christmas Dinner, this year held at the Roebuck Hotel in Ware. We had a room to ourselves, so we were able to make as little, or rather as much, noise as we liked, especially with the balloons, which flew around the room at frequent intervals! Lots of party hats, party poppers, streamers and crackers adorned the table on our arrival, together with the balloons, more of which arrived when requested!

Well done to Keith and Colin L for arranging the evening.

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November: Cook and Taste
Report by Mary Jordan
The theme for our Cook and Taste evening was Greek. Mary Lovett and I had fun seeking our traditional recipes from the Internet, library books, and our own recipe books. About 18 members used their cooking skills to produce a delicious meal which consisted of about 12 savoury dishes and four desserts. Everyone enjoyed the food which we washed down with our own home-made wine and beers. As usual, at the end of the evening, the ladies accepted the men's suggestion the we sit and chat whilst they did the clearing up.

Well done to Mary J and Mary L for arranging the evening.

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October: Martin Knight
Report by Peter Byford
A regular speaker over the years, Martin Knight, owner of the Broxbournbury Vineyard, gave a progress report on his vineyard and provided a tasting of some of his wines.
Martin said that since his last talk, 4 years ago, he has been planting Gamay and Rondo Grapes, the latter is a very vigorous grape and has to be planted at 16 foot intervals. He has had some success with Gamay although it needs Rondo to improve the colour. He is gradually moving over to Red wines because he has been successful with them and the vines ripen a few weeks earlier than the white grapes.
He talked about his work on the Vineyard and how much he enjoyed it, despite the frustrations of losing crops, tractors breaking down etc. Now 70 years old Martin has no intention of giving up.
Martin brought 5 interesting, very drinkable wines.
Currently his heaviest cropper is Seyval Blanc and we tasted the 98, 99 and 2000 vintages of that variety. Martin also brought a slightly sweeter 1998 which was a blend of 10 varieties including 2 reds Pinot Noir and Blueburgander, the former is not very successful.
The final wine we tasted was a pleasant, if a little young, red wine provided by Martin’s Sussex winemaker as a replacement for a badly made red wine from Martins vines.
Martin invited Circle members to help with the picking in 2003, anyone doing so would be fed and be provided with wine. We need to contact him in mid-September; he would expect to pick over a weekend in mid-October.

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September: Hertfordshire Curiosities by June Crew
Report by Peter Byford
This was a substitute talk because the original speaker had been taken ill. June kindly agreed to step in at fairly short notice.
Armed with a box of slides, and a projector, she took us on a tour of our county and showed us what a wealth of history, sights and general curiosities it has.
The photos were excellent and she took us to Therfield Heath and the long borrows and the tumuli from stone age times. Also at Therfield, though not easy to see, was a Motte, a fortification built in Norman times. The wooden fortification has long since gone but the earthworks are visible if you know where to look. We saw more visible Mottes at Bennington Lordship and Castle Hall Hertford.
Bennington Lordship was included amongst in a number of interesting buildings around the county. Standon an attractive town is clearly a must to visit on Mayday. We saw Rye House where the 15th Century plot took place against the King.
We were also shown Pulham stones – designed by an early 20th Century architecture in various places.
Pudding stones were seen mainly in churches, another natural place but with an interesting history is the Royston Cave, perhaps used by the Knight’s Templars in the 1300s.
Finally we saw some of the meridian line posts built in 1984 to commemorating the 100th anniversary of its establishment. These can be found in such places as Greenwich, Mali and Broxbourne. Yes, we saw a photo of the one in Broxbourne.
An interesting evening. I think we all learnt a lot about our own county from this interesting speaker, I am sure we will invite her again she does other talks.

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August: Annual Computerised Wine Drive
Report by Peter Robinson
The evening started with Peter Byford announcing the death of Mike Hampton, one of the founder members of the club, after a long illness. Peter read out an obituary to him, after which there was a minutes silence.
Elaine and Helen then presented the certificates and trophies from the Annual Show to the winners.
At this annual event, the members judge one another's wines in a series of comparative tastings. Their judgement has long been suspect, and this year they inexplicably placed the chairman's wine last, while allowing his wife (Elaine) to get third place. Other placings were less surprising with Richard 4th, Ted (earlier presented with the Place House Bowl for most points in wine at the Annual Show) 2nd and Colin Lovett 1st. True to form, the winner was a big red and sticky and the commercial (a rather mediocre South African Cinsault/Cabernet) was placed fifth of the 10 wines evaluated. There were only a few instances of confusion, mostly caused by program errors, which required wines or people to be on 2 tables at once.

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August: Annual Summer BBQ
Undeterred by inclement weather, club members met up at Colin and Mary's for the Annual Summer BBQ. A large gazebo was erected in the garden but it soon became obvious that further cover was needed when everyone arrived, together with the rain. Colin produced a tarpaulin which was hastily erected. Despite the rain, everyone stayed reasonably dry, apart from Colin Bull who got a shower when the tarpaulin partially collapsed.
We all enjoyed the excellent chicken and sausages cooked by Colin L, and a variety of salads and desserts prepared by some of the members. Eddie ran a raffle, with wine, port and a box of plums as prizes, the latter won by Liz who said she was going to make jam (not wine) with them!
Colin L and Keith ran their 'Slug The Bug' game which went to a penalty shoot-out between Helen and Andrew, before being won by Helen by half a bug!
A good time had by all, despite the weather. Thanks to Colin and Mary for the loan of their garden and gazebos, and to Sue K for organising it all.

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July: Annual Show
Report by Mary Jordan
Entries for the show - which comprised 104 Bottles of Wine, 16 Beers and 22 Food dishes - arrived promptly and were set out ready for the Judges. Everything seemed to be going smoothly, thanks to Elaine’s organisation. We had time, so I thought a cup of tea or coffee would go down well; it did, except I mixed everyone’s order up. Good start. Still it was soon sorted.
The six Judges duly arrived, some with their own stewards. Richard Tite, Colin Bull and Colin Lovett stewarded for the others. Elaine and I waited patiently for the results to come in. We overheard a few comments, most were complimentary, some not so. One Judge said he could smell malt vinegar in one of the wines; we said it must be coming from Wright’s Fish Shop! Richard was steward to the Liqueur Judge; they seemed to be quite “happy” with the job in hand, and nearly had hysterics when a Cream Liqueur seemed to have solidified. But a good shake up worked wonders.
Most of the Judges stayed for lunch which they enjoyed very much; thanks to all the club members who helped to prepare it.
In the evening, 17 members arrived back in the Hall with their plates, cutlery and glasses. We ate all the food entries, which were delicious, and drank a number of the winning wines and beers.
Another successful and enjoyable Annual Show.

Additional Reporting by Elaine Robinson
Two new classes were added to the Show this year - Elderberry Medium and Liqueur (fortified), the latter class ending up with the most bottles of all the classes. Some classes were better supported than others, but the number of entries overall were up on last year.
20 club members entered the show; 16 of those got a place, 8 of whom gained one or more first places. Congratulations to everyone. My thanks go to Mary Jordan for her help in the morning and also to the stewards. Also thanks to Mary and Colin Lovett who organised the food in the evening. Show Results

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WARE JUBILEE PROJECT – Ware in Stitches
Report by Margaret Byford
You may be interested to know of a project that has recently got underway to produce a quilt/wall hanging depicting life in Ware. Called Ware in Stitches, it is intended to be a community project, a cover that could be used for The Great Bed of Ware, at present on display in the V & A Museum and a means of commemorating The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. As a keen stitcher since I was a child, it seemed to be an interesting project to get involved in.

So far there have been two meetings at which ideas have been discussed and a range of designs committed to paper. Unfortunately I missed the first meeting which took place while we were in Australia.
One area of the quilt will have a representation of the Town’s armorial bearings to be surrounded by the logos or badges of local clubs and organisations. We are hoping to involve some of them in providing their own logos or badges. As a start it seemed obvious that I should do one for the Ware Wine & Beer Circle, especially as my Mum did the original design. The logos are to fit on 3” squares, so are not very big. It seemed that embroidery in stranded cottons was the best way to go. Peter reproduced the logo to the required size, plus a larger one to aid eyesight, which was transferred to the calico being used as the base for the quilt. For those interested in the “technical” side, I used satin stitch, stem stitch, back stitch and French knots.
It is hoped that the quilt will be completed by the end of the year and hung on a wall over a staircase at Wodson’s Sports centre.

July: A Non-Food and Wine Evening
Report by Richard Tite
We were expecting a talk on food from somebody who knew about food - but nobody could be persuaded to show up. So we had a wine tasting from someone who doesn't really know a lot about wine.

A 'panic stations' call from our social events organiser resulted in a quick dash to Tesco on Saturday morning (not to be recommended) and two whites and two reds being hastily (sorry, substitute 'carefully') selected from the shelves.
The Western Cape Sauvignon Blanc "Aromatic with grassy or gooseberry nose" went down well. And we agreed that the Riesling from Bingen was pleasantly dry, and improvement on the German wines of a few years ago.
The members couldn't quite place the Portuguese Dao. An assertive red, i.e. 'rough'. This entry was dismissed as unfair, because the Portuguese are unable, or unwilling, to name the grape variety. The evening's favourite was a 1991 Fitou from the Languedoc region, which showed promise, but drank very nicely now, thank you.
Thanks to Dave for taking round the bottles, and to the rest of the club for a pleasant, though improvised, evening.

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July: Ware Festival
Report by Colin Lovett
Once again the town of Ware held its annual Ware Festival on a glorious summer day at the Priory in July with a theme of "Bugs and Insects". The event started with a carnival parade, led by the Bournemouth Carnival Band, gallantly attired as Spiderman, followed by side shows and entertainment run by various organisations.

We joined in the fun with our stall for cheese and wine tastings, set under a gazebo on a more suitable site than previous years. Roger had made up a banner - "SLUG THE BUG" - which attracted great interest amongst children and adults. Contestants rolled a 26-sided wooden ball along a table covered intermittently with various pictures of bugs and insects. To win a prize - a bottle of pomagne for the adults and a packet of sweets for the children - the pictured creatures had to be covered with the ball.
The event was very successful as we ran out of pomagne and sweets. Next year we will need to supply a platform for the children to stand on so that they can see the table top clearly!
Thanks to all our visitors and club members who helped to make the day such a success.

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June: Inter-Society Competition and Wine Tasting
Report by Elaine Robinson
8 members were among 30 other winemakers who recently attended a German Wine Tasting presented by John Grindell of Hoddesdon Winemakers. Five of the eight wines tasted were brought back from Germany by John after a recent holiday there, including a red sparkling wine from a newly developed grape called "DAKAPO".
An Inter-Society Competition was held on the same evening and judged by Bill Elks, chairman of the National Guild of Wine and Beer Judges. Ware were very successful, winning best wine, most points in wine and club with most points. Click here for full results.
A raffle was run with the profits going to the Ada Cole Rescue Stables and included the sponsorship of a horse, which was won by Colin Lovett.

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Geoff with Dragon Lily

Lily the Stink gets up Geoff's nose
Report from The Mercury June 21st
Geoff and Diane have been left holding their noses in their garden thanks to a smelly plant which they originally believed to be a voodoo lily. They have now been informed that it is a dragon lily which gives off a pungent stench of ....... rotting carcasses!
Geoff was given the plant a few years ago, but didn't notice the smell much until this year when it blossomed. Diane would like to have the plant removed, but although Geoff has tried, it still comes back again.
(Glad we aren't having the BBQ at Geoff and Diane's! ED)

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June Meeting:
Report by Richard Tite
'WWBC GET ORGAN-ISED'
Ruth led us a brisk two and a half miles walk from The Plough pub at Great Munden across hill and dale and back again to The Plough - nothing comes without effort!
The day had been hot and the evening promised fair, as we set off  fairly suitably attired. Jane tripped o'er the meadow in golden sandals, but those of us who had been on one of Ruth's yomps before wore stouter footwear. Some were in thick trousers well tucked into boots, the more foolhardy in shorts - resulting in much "Ow! My legs!" and applying of herbal remedies.

A walk through the long grass
When the walk had been tried out a month before, the tracks were pleasantly grassy but now, after abundant rain and some sunshine, the "Corn was as high as an elephant's eye", or some such lyrical nonsense. You would have thought that there was enough corn, barley, oats, etc for anyone, but Sue complained that she was unable to obtain a sheaf or even half a sheaf of corn for Harvest Festival (Corn is not usually in short supply when WWBC members are around). However, Ruth got us round the course without incident, apart from Colin who showed some inclination to create his own crop circles. Is Peter looking for elderberries or sloes?
The Compton Organ The Compton Organ
We arrived back at the pub just before 9 o'clock, and ignoring those who had been there for the last half hour or more, we proceeded to the bar to order pints of IPA and other fermented liquors.
The Plough is unique in Hertfordshire in being the owner of a three manual Compton cinema organ which was bought for £200 by the Gaumont Finchley in 1936, and moved to The Plough in 1967. It it now worth £1.5 million! Roger, the pub's resident organist, pulled out all the stops to give us a half hour of some music from the shows, and few pub favourites; this engendered some foot-tapping by the senior members of the club, and almost degenerated into a sing-song!
A very enjoyable evening. Thanks a lot Ruth.

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May Meeting:
Report by David Kenney
This was held at the Riverside Garden Centre just on the outskirts of Hertford. The owner, Mr Jeffery, made the Club members very welcome with a cup of coffee and biscuits.
Mr Jeffery told us about himself and starting in the Riverside Garden centre, including problems he had had with vandalism. He talked about annuals and perennials and coping with diseases, and what permitted sprays were available with the current laws on spraying.
The members were then able to look around the garden centre and were offered a discount on anything purchased.
The meeting appeared to be enjoyed by all.

Beds & Herts Federation Show: The show took place in May at Leverstock Green Village Hall. Over 360 bottles were entered by 41 exhibitors from 7 guilds.
Ware Wine & Beer circle came 4th overall in the points total.
Six members of Ware entered 49 bottles and came away with 18 places, although unfortunately no first places. Colin Lovett got a 2nd, three 3rd places and a 4th place; Ted Jordan got a 3rd, two 5th and a 6th place; Peter Robinson got two 3rd places, a 4th, two 5th and two 6th places; Elaine Robinson got two 5th places.

Chairman - Peter Robinson - recently judged the wine classes at a local horticultural show
Peter R judges wine

Judging the wine

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AGM: This was held at the April meeting; this year it took rather longer than usual as there were changes to the constitution to be agreed and a new treasurer, newsletter editor and house manager to be elected. Thanks were proposed to Ruth Tite for all the hard work she has done for the past 16 years in keeping the books straight, to Keith Brown for producing the Newsletter for the past 8 years and to Don and Helen Maguire for getting the tables and chairs out for each meeting since 1993. Colin Bull was elected as treasurer and Sue Smale was elected as House Manager. There were no volunteers for Newsletter Editor so it was decided to use the web site as the newsletter. The main item of the chairman's report was to congratulate the club as a whole for raising approximately £1000 for various charities during 2001-2002. Well done to everyone!

The AGM is traditionally followed by a wine tasting. Due to the length of time that the AGM took, this had to be conducted with some speed. Given that the wines were apparently chosen in a short space of time in a Tunisian supermarket by Richard and Ruth Tite as the manager wanted to close, it seemed appropriate! Richard told us a few facts about Tunisian wine, their ride on camels, and their honest milkman! They had arrived home very late from their holiday and had managed to leave the rucksack containing the wine on the doorstep. When Ruth went to get the milk in next morning, she found the rucksack on the doorstep together with the milk!

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SQUARE DANCE: It was way back in 1987 that the Circle decided to run a Square Dance. We invited Ted Ivin to be the caller and booked the Ware College. It was very successful and we have been running them ever since.
The 16th Annual Square Dance was held in April; we moved to Presdales School some years ago, this years venue. As in recent years this was held in conjunction with The Children’s Society who benefited from the event.
Ted Ivin is still the excellent caller. 112 guests attended, and there were 27 people on the waiting list! Our guests included members of Hoddesdon and Latton Bush Wine Circles, as well Children’s Society members. It is perhaps disappointing that the majority of people attending are now not from the winemaking fraternity.
All in all it was another successful evening; the hard work of Sue Kenny and the Social Committee to put on the event and to provide a splendid supper was much appreciated.
Jacoby’s, a recently opened local restaurant, kindly donated a meal for two as the major prize in the raffle.

Chairman in fine form

Dance in full swing

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NATIONAL SHOW: This is the largest amateur wine and beer making show in the country. This year it was held at Weston Super Mare and was attended by the chairman and his wife - Peter and Elaine Robinson. Accommodation was in a small hotel nearby, so no problems with drinking and driving. Everyone was very friendly. Peter got switched to steward the white concentrate class after his original judge failed to turn up and Elaine stewarded for the fortified Madeira. A hard morning's work! Elaine then went to help out in the office with laminating the certificates and Peter helped to post the results and put out the place cards. A lot of work is involved with 110 classes! Afterwards they found that Peter had won a first place for his table sweet white (which was a failed after dinner!) and also third, fourth and fifth places in other classes; Elaine got first places in the savoury food class, the cake class and also the sweet mead class, and sixth place in the sweet bilberry class. Another member - Colin Lovett - also entered one bottle in the open sweet red class and got a first place. Probably the only 100% record in the competition!

Members of clubs from the Beds & Herts Federation (Luton, St Albans and White Lion) were also very successful.

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Last updated: 20/07/16
Copyright: 2001 WWBC