WARE WINE & BEER CIRCLE
MEETINGS IN 2004
2004
December: Annual Cook and Taste
16 members sat down to their Annual Cook and Taste meeting with food provided by the members themselves. Salmon terrine, fish pie with mussels, gammon, lamb in Guinness, chicken, sherry trifle, apple crumble and Scotch fruit tart with whiskey were amongst with dishes provided by the members. A 30-year old Sauternes - provided by Kevin - rounded off the evening. Thanks to everyone who provided food for the evening.

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November: Commercial Wine Tasting by Peter Robinson
Peter gave a talk and tasting of wines from 3D Wines - who 'rent' rows of vines in France to the public. Guests from Hertford and Hoddesdon joined club members and enjoyed the 6 wines presented.

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October: Royal Gunpowder Mills by Richard Thomas
This month's talk was about the history of gunpowder, how it was made and used. Richard told the members about the Royal Gunpowder Mills at Waltham Abbey. The mills manufactured gunpowder there for over three centuries until they closed in 1945. The site was then a research centre until 1991 and is now a museum. Richard also told the members about several explosions, one of which occurred when a barge contained both gunpowder and petroleum!
There was also a competition - red dry and sweet (blackberry and/or elderberry) - judged by Peter Adams. Results are as follows: red dry - 1st Maisie Pringle, 2nd Don Maguire, 3rd Peter Robinson; red sweet - 1st Peter Robinson, 2nd Elaine Robinson, 3rd Colin Lovett.

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October: Square Dance
80 members and guests spent an enjoyable evening at the club's Annual Square Dance. Caller Ted Ivin led the dancers through the various moves, and a line dance was included as well. There were occasions when men were seen to be holding hands, but this was one of the moves! A Ploughman's supper, prepared by committee members,  was enjoyed at half time. Profits from the raffle went to the Ware Scout Group.
Square Dance Square Dance Line Dance

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September: Members Favourite Wines
A depleted membership was boosted by 5 visitors from Hoddesdon Wine Club.  5 club members brought along a favourite wine and told the members about it. The wines were as follows:

Codorniu Sparkling white Spain   11.5% £3.99 (Tesco offer) MC
Gaston Dorleans Vouvray demi-sec France 2002 12% £5.99 Richard
El Coto Rioja Spain 2001 12.5% £5.99 Keith
Lancellotta di Cantine Riunite Italy 2001 12.5% £6.99 Laithwaites Kevin
El Bombera Carinena Spain 2001 15% £5.42 Laithwaites Kevin
Domaine de la Motte Coteau du Layon France 2002 12.5% approx £5 Elaine
Muscat de Beaumes de Venise France   15.5% £4.99 half bottle Tesco Richard

Interestingly, all the wines chosen were Old World wines. The Rioja was voted the favourite wine of the evening.

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August: Wine Drive
Peter and Elaine ran the computerised wine drive this month. 11 members compared 8 wines, including a commercial wine from France - which everyone guessed correctly. The commercial wine was actually top scorer for a time but eventually came 4th.
The results were as follows: 1st Sue Kenney, 2nd Elaine Robinson, 3rd Dave Kenney, 4th Don Maguire.
STOP PRESS! Peter and Margaret Byford are now grandparents, their daughter Clare having a baby girl just over a week ago. Margaret arrived in Australia just in time for the birth.

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August: Annual BBQ
Peter and Elaine hosted the Annual club BBQ again this year. 22 members, ex-members and guests enjoyed the sunshine until the clouds came over at the end of the afternoon. But the event escaped the rain this year. Colin barbequed the sausages and chicken drumsticks to perfection as usual, and various salads were provided by the members, as well as desserts to follow. The Chairman - Peter Byford - thanked Peter and Elaine for hosting the event and Colin for doing the cooking. He then presented the trophies from the recent annual show.

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July: Visit to Bateman's Brewery, Wainfleet, Lincs
Peter and Elaine joined members of Luton, White Lion and Letchworth wine circles on a weekend visit to the Bateman's Brewery in Wainfleet, Lincolnshire, organised by Bill Elks. Bateman's Brewery
Milling Machine We had a tour of the brewery, where we were shown the milling machine (left), which was over 80 years old and still in use, and all the brewing and fermentation vessels. Samples of some of the beers were included, as was lunch of Lincolnshire sausages and chips. There was also an excellent exhibition about brewing and a pub games room. Fermenting Beer

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July: Annual Summer Walk organised by Peter Byford
6 members followed Peter Byford for a short walk around northern Ware, finding good sources of autumn fruit in the process. Summer walk
Sitting in the garden at the birthday party They returned to Peter's house to partake of a joint, belated, 60th birthday party for both Margaret and Peter with other members of the club. Thanks to Peter for organising the walk and especially to Margaret for the lovely food.

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July: Annual Show
As there is now only one brewer in the club, it was decided to remove the beer classes from the show, and also reduce the numbers of the other classes. The show was therefore reduced in class numbers, entries, and also competitors. 12 competitors - including one ex-member - entered 83 bottles of wine into 7 wine classes, and 10 food entries in 2 food classes. Three National Judges were, generally, very complimentary about all the wines, and the food judge was equally complimentary about the food entries.
Click here for WORD results.
16 members returned to Place House in the evening to taste the winning wines and to eat the food.

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July: Visit to Bordeaux with Judith Irwin
Peter and Elaine joined Judith Irwin and other wine enthusiasts from around the country on a trip to Bordeaux. Click here to read about the holiday. Judith now has her own web site about her holidays and the various wines that she stocks.

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June: Winemaking Clinic hosted by Peter Robinson
Peter attempted to educate the members into improving their home winemaking. He brought along 8 wines that he and Elaine had entered into recent shows that had received adverse comments - too little acid, too much tannin, not sweet enough, etc - for the members to taste (although there was only time to taste 6 of them properly). He set up a pack of notes about making better wines, giving indications of the wine types, the best ingredients to use to make them, other ingredients to use, fruit preparation, fermentation, storage & maturation, and common faults. He also provided a list of wine making ingredient properties.
Included in the pack was a set recipe for the club's 2005 Annual Show, which will be the 25th. This recipe is best made in the next month or two for next year's show.
Well done Peter. A very interesting evening. Let's hope everyone learnt something to improve their winemaking.

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May: Wine Tasting and Quiz by Graham Loxton Best
Graham Loxton Best of Unwins presented a wine tasting and wine quiz to 14 club members, 8 members of Hertford wine guild, 7 students from Graham's wine & spirit education trust classes and 3 guests. We tasted 7 wines from South Africa, Chile, Hungary, and Argentina, and answered questions about them, as well as general wine questions. The quiz was won by Margaret Byford with 15 points, closely followed by Peter Byford, Peter Robinson and Geoff Wilcox on 14 points. Well done to the winners, and thanks to Peter Byford for organising the evening.

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May: Beds & Herts Federation show 2004
Peter and Elaine entered the Beds & Herts Federation show with many of the entries recycled and blended from the National and Wales & West shows. However, the blending worked as they won 12 places between them, although no firsts. They were also joint 4th in highest points in the wine classes and Elaine was 3rd in highest points wine classes for the Ladies trophy. The entries were 26% up on last year.

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May: Wales & West 2004
Report by Peter Robinson
Some of our members will recall how we all used to head off to Brean Sands for the Wales and West in the 90’s. Elaine and I calculate that we first attended back in 1989. Abiding memories of Colin barbecuing (the Health and Safety Executive would never allow it now!). As attendance levels fell, the show was forced to share the venue with other groups and the format became unworkable. The Wales and West has struggled to find a new venue over the past few years – our last visit was the ill-fated Butlins at Minehead event in 1999. Last year they tried the Lyme Bay Holiday Resort in Seaton, Devon and having heard good reports we decided to try it this year, being very lucky to get in with a late booking.
A typical bank holiday on the Friday – driving rain and the roads covered in cones! We stopped off at the Bell in Wylye for lunch. They are under new management but standards seem to have been maintained although mussels were not on the menu. Due to all the traffic we didn’t arrive until 4.30, which meant that parking on site proved quite difficult and we needed to commit to Sunday’s tastings before the tickets sold out. We were issued with red tags to fasten to our wrists – thought this was a holiday camp not a prison camp, but apparently they had a few uninvited guests last year.
We soon encountered the Luton contingent. Chalets are named after local towns and Bill Elks was appropriately housed in Beer 2. We kept bumping into people Elaine knew (the perils of being National Show Entries Secretary) – I am beginning to understand how it must feel to be the Duke of Edinburgh. We discovered that homemade wines drunk in the restaurant should be in competition bottles, so some hasty decanting was needed. Tables for dinner were pre-allocated and we found ourselves sharing with West Glevum from Gloucestershire. Appropriately the main dish was steak and ale pie – not at all bad! The evening’s entertainment was also quite good by holiday camp standards – the 60’s theme proving appropriate to our era.
Saturday and we got our entries in before breakfast. They had over 1800 bottles – up on the previous year. Entry numbers in the major classes were almost double those in the National so competition was probably even tougher. They had changed all the food classes to cakes, biscuits and jams etc because in the absence of fridges in the rooms the judge was poisoned last year – although someone had a good try this year with curry biscuits! I ended up stewarding red grape dry – not a bad class after last year’s Summer, while ironically Elaine had the after dinner brown which I did at the National. A reasonable effort as we got 4 places between us including a second and two thirds with entries primarily blended and re-cycled from the National.
After lunch we explored Seaton, which took all of half an hour. It has a pebble beach and a lot of retirement homes being built. After collecting the entries, Audrey and Stan joined us to sample Elaine’s Victoria Sponge entry paired with my Table Sweet Red wine. Dinner was appropriately cooked in red wine tonight and as it was the 40th anniversary we were each presented with a commemorative port glass and some port to go in it. It was pretty crowded in the ballroom – apparently there were 460 people on site. We joined Wembley for the evening and enjoyed a joint beer tasting – they even let us display our table emblem – well we do both begin with the same letter. We also attempted to educate the lager drinking bar staff to the delights of real beer brewed at home. The comedian was not too bad as they go although he did go on for a bit too long, and we quit before midnight – it’s alright for all these pensioners who normally lie in bed half the morning!
On Sunday we awoke to bright sunshine – bit dazzling after last night. I caused a major disturbance in the restaurant by turning down cooked breakfast. After Elaine had conducted some National business, we enjoyed a stroll down the prom, eating a pasty outside for lunch. Due to the afternoon’s tastings there was no time to go on the Seaton Tramway, which will have to wait for another year. A hard afternoon, as we went through a ‘Call My Bluff‘ wine tasting followed half an hour later by a beer tasting. I also had to pick up a case of wine from Judith – just about had room to get it in the car. By the end of this we rushed to get ready for dinner.
After last night everyone seems to be heading for the ballroom even earlier to reserve tables. The banner parade had been deleted this year due to the lack of available space. Ironically we found ourselves sitting next to Warmley, who of course used to follow us out onto the floor in previous parades. There was however a 60’s fancy dress parade which included lots of hippies. Unfortunately I have thrown away my drainpipe trousers and Elaine her hot pants although we could of course, both have got into them. Our dinner companions proved to have been a lucky find as we got to taste their winning liqueur and they won the Bingo prize. We quit even earlier tonight – must be getting old.
On Monday we attended the feedback meeting and then headed off to Lyme Regis for an hour or two. En route we came across a small hamlet called Ware! While wandering round a shop in Lyme Regis, Elaine’s eagle eyes spotted some jars of Krakus bilberries. We cleaned out the shop’s stock much to their amusement. Well, they are difficult to find and the winemaker must be ever opportunistic in obtaining quality ingredients.
Overall, we think that Wales and West are probably onto a winner with this new venue. We were probably lucky in getting one of the better-furnished rooms, but the food was very good (the package is basically bed breakfast and dinner plus entertainment for £35 per person per night) and the entertainment was quite good by holiday camp standards. As well as meeting up with a lot of existing friends from around the country we also made a lot of new friends, whom we hope to see again next year, provided that we remember to book early this time.

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April: AGM and Wine Tasting by Roger How
This year's AGM saw major changes to the structure of the club as the General and Social committees merged back into one committee. This entailed some changes to the Constitution as well. No chairman had been previously nominated, but founder member and former chairman - Peter Byford - stepped into the breach. So the club survives for another year. For details of the main committee members, see the Committee page. The club is in a healthy position financially.
The President - Ruth Tite - thanked everyone for all the hard work during the past year. She then presented the Brewer of the Year and the Founders Trophy. The results were as follows:
Brewer of the Year: 3rd Ted Jordan (3 points), 2nd Roger How (7 points), 1st Peter Robinson (15 points).
Founders Trophy: 4th Maisie Pringle (19 points), joint 2nd Elaine Robinson and Ted Jordan (23 points), 1st Peter Robinson (48½ points).

Roger How then presented a comparative blind wine tasting of Old World and New World wines. 2 white wines and 2 red wines, both of the same single grape variety. Members were asked to identify grape, country, price and year.
The wines were as follows:
Cellier Yvecourt Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc 2003 £4.99
Jantara South Africa Sauvignon Blanc 2003 £5.99
Lindemans Bin 50 Shiraz Australia 2002 £4.99
Rothschild Syrah France 2000 £3.99
All the wines are available at Unwins

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April: National Show at Weston-super-Mare
Report by Peter Robinson
Preparation for this year's show started early in our household what with Elaine being Entries Secretary and us entering more bottles than ever before. It is very stressful being married to the Entries Secretary. It is amazing how difficult people find it to add up their entry fees, sign cheques and fill in forms! My National started as early as Wednesday night when I headed off to Luton to assist in selection of the Beds & Herts beer entries. This is a serious matter as they are holders of the trophy (which they duly retained this year).
Thursday morning and we managed to get everything in the car somehow, including 62 bottles (the total Ware entry) and 4 Easter Eggs for our nieces (that's what seemed to take up all the room). Elaine had identified a suitable pub in the Good Beer Guide, but when we arrived, there was a notice saying 'No food'. So we tried somewhere else down the road. I had a pint of Flowers IPA - not a patch on the previous night's tasting. We arrived at Weston at 3.30 to find a few of the other Committee members already there. Judith was wearing a peculiar cap to support her claim of needing to share a room with another couple, because she is a bit simple! Not sure how long she would manage to keep that up.
We had a new venue this year using a sports centre and staying in the adjoining Travel Inn and eating at the Beefeater. We also had a new Show Manager, who is a Geordie. On the radio that morning they were talking about dog translation machines (what its barks really mean) - well it was April 1st. We decided we could do with a Geordie translating machine. Typically of people from this part of the country he is a master of the wind-up, so by the end of the evening those of a nervous disposition were expecting a disastrous event.
We headed off for our traditional Committee eve of show dinner, causing consternation to the taxi firm as we were missing our chairman and another late arrival. Our poor driver got earache from Control for not having the right numbers - I reassured him that it was our problem not his. Evening turned out quite well - everyone arrived in the end. One of the advantages about this new format is that some members of the Committee were not able to stay up until 4 a.m. in the hotel bar.
Friday morning at breakfast we reflected that the staff must have been wondering what they had been let in for. Our waitress, who doesn't drink, took the opportunity to ask our advice on wine for her mother. We discovered that the Show Manager's warnings last night were not all wind-ups as we waited patiently for the tables to arrive. At last they turned up around 11.00, but with the help of the sports centre staff, we were up and ready to go by the time the first entries arrived at 12.30. While we waited we were entertained by the tiny tots' class in the other half of the hall. The hall soon filled up with bottles (nearly 2400 - about 10% up on the last Weston show), and you started to realise how difficult it would be to get a first. By 17.00 we were only waiting for one person, so we shut up shop hoping that the place would be locked.
We met Ted and Mary for dinner in the Beefeater. They appear to be settling down in their new home, but I think they miss us really. They even promised to come back for our show in July. The evening saw the usual Social evening with 4 kit wines and 6 mashed beers to taste. The beers in particular were superb. Even the organist was very good - often the music on Friday night is a bit limited, and we had to smile when he played 'When I'm 64' - probably should have been 'When I was 64' for many of the audience.
Early start on Saturday so that we can start judging at 9.00. I stewarded the white-golden-brown after dinner class - 40 bottles in all. Think it should have been the after breakfast class as several of the wines smelt and tasted of marmite. Not the best of classes - even contained a few mice and geraniums. Results a bit disappointing - no firsts for our club but we did manage 9 places between us. I did at least achieve one ambition in getting a place in a beer class at the fifth attempt. Some of my wines are getting a bit old now while others are still quite young, most of which was picked up by the judges. However had some helpful comments, such as 'Average Wine' - bit like 'Very Fair' on your school report. Still there's always next year as shown by one competitor who got no places from 40 entries last year and this year walked off with four trophies.
Judith did the wine tasting in the afternoon to make sure we didn't have time to sober up. It seemed to be about to get interesting when she talked about getting involved with a man named Rory, but she claimed it was all to do with some Hungarian wine. There were several volunteers to accompany her to Budapest to make sure. We then had the trophy presentations with a few new faces collecting the prizes. We have often joked about me needing a wheelbarrow at our show - well the most successful competitor at this show had a large trolley to take his away! All a bit of a rush as we checked out the bottles, had dinner and got ready for the evening. All such a hurry, that the four wines that I took over all turned out to be almost undrinkable. Good job I had some beers for myself!
We are all pretty tired by Sunday. I headed off to get the Sunday papers - witnessing the sad sight of hordes of people queuing to rush into Asda at 10.00 - how did they survive before Sunday opening? Back in the sports centre, the hall was now being used for a dog show - hope they mopped up all the spilt wine! Golden to Brown Large Great Dane appeared to be today's largest class. We were entertained by a talk which proved to be a round the world tour of wine before the AGM. I liked the caption 'Open other End' on the bottom of a bottle of Californian wine - the fear of litigation knows no bounds. We then had the AGM, which went surprisingly smoothly.
All in all, the new venue seems to have gone down very well and we have booked again for two years time. One or two lessons learned, but having everything on the same site was a real bonus. Some discussion as to next year as we can only have our normal venue at the Spa in Scarborough for the first week in March. Might need to take our long johns for this one! Never mind, now where's my recipe book - time to start planning for next year!

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March: Annual Quiz by Dave and Sue Kenney
Five teams of three club members had their grey matter severely tested by Dave's quiz questions. Rounds about general knowledge, food, birds, Christmas and a map of Ireland kept the teams on their toes. The winning team was Margaret Byford, Kevin Martin and Eddie Hunt.
Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Peter Adams was busy judging 5 Dry Aperitif wines and 11 Sweet White wines. The winners were -
Dry Aperitif - 1st Don Maguire 2nd Maisie Pringle 3rd Kevin Martin 4th Peter Robinson
Sweet White - 1st Peter Robinson 2nd Elaine Robinson 3rd Richard Tite 4th Maisie Pringle
Thanks to David and Sue for organising the quiz and to Peter for judging.

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February: Portuguese Wines presented by Richard Tite
A dozen members tasted Portuguese wines brought all the way from the Algarve in Portugal by Richard and Ruth Tite after their recent holiday there.
The wines were as follows:
  • Calem White Port
  • Vinho Regional Terras do Sado 11.5% 2000
  • Terras Altas Dao Jose Maria da Fronseca 11% 2002
  • Adega del Passo Alentejo 13% 2000
  • Calem Tawny Port
Richard told us that they had had to separate the wines into two bags at the airport, as they were 'too heavy to be taken on in one bag'!
Richard and Ruth had also organised a couple of quizzes and tested our knowledge on where towns and cities are in England, Scotland and Wales (no one got them all right!) and on football teams, whose names were slotted into a story.
Thanks to Richard and Ruth for the evening.

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January: Wine Tasting presented by Waitrose of Hertford
Report by Elaine Robinson
35 members and guests from Hoddesdon Winemakers, Winemakers of Hertford, Tewin Wine Guild and the U3A Wine Group tasted 6 wines presented by Chris, Carol and Denise of Waitrose in Hertford.
The wines were as follows:
Spain Torres Vina Sol Penedes 11.5%
Australia McLaren Vale Tatachilla 2003 12.5%
Australia Jindalee Murray Darling Victoria Chardonnay 2003 13.5%
Bulgaria Sapphire Cove Danubian Plain 2003 13%
Italy Canaletto Puglia Primitivo 2002 13.5%
Australia Tatachilla Grenache Mouvedre Syrah 2003 14.5%
All the wines were priced at £4.99, except the Bulgarian, which is £2.99.

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