WARE WINE & BEER CIRCLE
MEETINGS IN 2012
2012
December: Christmas meal at the Robin Hood and Little John, Tonwell
Virtually all the club members wanted to attend the Christmas meal this year, which meant it was impossible to all fit in some one's house, and would have been very cramped in the Art's Centre, which is restrictive in cooking facilities anyway. So we decided to go to the Robin Hood and Little John pub in Tonwell, a venue that some members have used before for significant birthdays!
The menu choices of tomato and basil soup, breaded prawns, and pate for starters; turkey, chicken, and salmon for mains; Christmas pudding, dark chocolate cheesecake, lemon cream dream, and cheese and biscuits for dessert gave suitable choices for everyone.


December: Ware Christmas Festival
Another extremely successful year selling our mulled wine to the cold and thirsty public of Ware at the Christmas Festival in Tudor Square. The weather was not as cold as last year, but still a bit chilly. The annual event was again very popular. We made up 15 gallons of red wine, supplemented by orange juice, water and sugar, and heated it in a Burco boiler again. The boiler behaved itself this year and by preheating some of the wine and getting all the ingredients blended early, we were able to serve the thirsty public without keeping people waiting. Again, we had a queue past our neighbouring stall for most of the evening, and sold out soon at 8.15pm, again leaving some people disappointed. We sent a donation to Crisis at Christmas.
Thanks to everyone who helped on the evening, particularly Colin for setting up the infrastructure of our stall and controlling the temperature of the wine; he even had to turn the boiler off occasionally as the wine was getting too hot! And to Peter R for mixing up the wine.

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November: A Pot-Pourri Evening
As we knew in advance that some members would not be able to make the meeting - holiday, operation! - it was decided to change the subject of the evening from that in the programme to various miscellaneous items which Peter R presented as a Power Point presentation. In the end we were even more depleted by illness, but boosted by the attendance of 3 potential new members!
We started the evening with a glass of Prosecco to toast the fact that the club now has 3 wine judges as Elaine and Kevin passed their wine judging exam at the recent Guild Conference. Peter then showed some amusing video clips related to wine that he found on YouTube.
This was followed by Peter giving details of an education group he is thinking of setting up for new members - and existing ones - who want to learn about wine making. He then passed round some samples of some sweet wines that had recently gained places for himself and Elaine.

The trophies from the recent Annual Show were presented by the President, Wendy, at the end of the evening.

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October: 32nd Annual Show
The club held its 32nd Annual Show at the Ware Art's Centre in Ware. 17 competitors, including 3 from the Luton Guild and one of the judges, entered 91 bottles in 8 wine classes and 11 bottles in 2 beer classes this year. The food classes were reasonably well supported with 9 entries. The bottles entered in the show prior to the day arrived extremely promptly, as did the 3 judges. A prompt start was made on the judging. Judges and stewards partook of a salad lunch after judging.
Thanks to the judges and the stewards. Well done to all the winners.

17 members got together in the evening at the Art's Centre to eat the food and sample the winning wines.
Click here for results and trophy winners.

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October: Wine tasting by Mark Duce from Liberty Wines
19 members and 1 guest enjoyed a tasting of wines made in Italy and Australia, and one from Armenia, as well as an interesting talk by Mark. Some very nice wines and a very enjoyable tasting.
The wines were as follows:
A Mano, Puglia, Italy 13% 2011 Fiano/Greco £7.99
Vermentino di Sardenga, Cantina Mesa, Sardenga, Italy 13% 2011 Primo Bianco £10
McLaren Vale/Adelaide Hills, Willunga 100, S Australia 14.5% 2010 Viognier £10.50
'Rose of Virginia' Barossa Valley, Charles Melton, S Australia 12.5% 2011 Grenache, Pinot Meunier, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot £19
Zorah 'Karasi', Yeghegnadzor, Armenia 13.5% 2010 Areni Noir £15
McLaren Vale, Willunga 100, S Australia 14.5% 2010 Grenache £9.99
Terre di Balbia Serramonte, Calabria, Italy 14.5% 2007 Magliocco, Sangiovese £20
Cordon Cut, Clare Valley, Mount Horrocks, S Australia 12% 2011 Reisling (botrytis) £16 (37.5cl)

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September: Talk and slide show of pub history in Hertford by Peter Ruffles MBE
11 members and 2 guests listened to a very interesting and amusing talk by Peter Ruffles MBE. Peter was born in Hertford during World War II and has spent his entire life living in the same house. He has been a town councillor for 33 years, has been the Mayor twice and has also been the deputy Mayor.
Peter showed the members a number of slides taken in the 1960s of pubs in Hertford. At that time, according to the Guinness Book of Records, Hertford had the largest number of pubs per head of population; Ware came second (there has always been a great rivalry between the two towns!) Many of the pubs feature the dormer windows, which originated in Hertford and was eventually copied around the country.
Apparently, the 'Blackbirds' is currently the most popular pub in Hertford. Many of the pubs in the 1960s were just small houses; one even only sold beer - no wine or spirits! There used to be a pub called the 'Flower Pot'; this name originating from a pub sign depicting the Angel Gabriel holding a lily in a pot; the angel was painted out during the Reformation, leaving the flower pot, hence the name!
Peter also showed us slides of old Hertford, and told us that Hertford is pronounced "Har'fud" by many locals.

A very interesting and amusing talk. Shame more members did not attend.
A competition also took place during the evening of white Sauternes style wine to a set recipe, and rose wines. There were 13 entries; several members had problems with the set recipe which did not want to clear. The winners were, however, clear wines. Must be something in the different types of tinned gooseberries! The results were as follows - set recipe - 1st Peter B, 2nd Colin, 3rd Dave, 4th Kevin; rose kit wine - 1st Elaine, 2nd Peter R, 3rd Peter B, 4th Kevin.

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August: Annual BBQ
16 members attended the annual club BBQ, which was hosted this year by Margaret and Peter B. The weather was a mixture of sunshine and cloud but quite pleasant, if a little chilly in the evening. The club gazebo was set up so we all stayed reasonably warm for most of the afternoon.
Colin did his usual grand job of bbq-ing the chicken and sausages. Various salads and desserts - including a Pimms jelly and an iced Christmas pudding were prepared by the members.
Peter B provided this year's fashion show as he showed off his uniform for a Gamesmaker at the forthcoming Paralympic Games. Well done Peter for volunteering; hope you have a great time.
Thanks to Margaret and Peter B for hosting the event, and to everyone for preparing the food.

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August: Annual Computerised Wine Drive
18 members and 2 guests entered 12 bottles in the Annual wine drive.
The members, split into teams of 1 and 2 people, judge one another's wines in a series of comparative tastings, the idea being that each wine is tasted at least once against every other wine, and each team gets to have a chat with every other team. The results are then entered into the computer and a league table develops with the results. Peter R was sneaky this year and submitted 2 bottles of commercial wine; one was a South African Chenin Blanc, the other was a de-alcoholised Chardonnay at 0.5% alcohol.
The results were as follows: 1st Peter B; 2nd Robert; 3rd = Colin and Commercial 1 (Chenin Blanc); 5th Kevin; 6th Dave; 7th = John and Eddie; 9th Commercial 2; 10th Peter R; 11th Elaine; 12th Alan H.
Well done to Robert - hopefully a new member - in coming second. I looked at the results sheets, and again most of the marks were 2-1; 20 pairs were scored at 3-0, just under a third of the total, suggesting that the wines were fairly very similar in quality. Lets have some better wines next year!
Kevin reminded members of the September competition, and the Annual Show in October, and gave out entry forms for the show.

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July: A talk and tasting by Charles Humphreys from Hazel End Vineyard
12 members and 3 guests attended the talk. The meeting got off to a good start with Charles pouring out some white wine - a blend of Huxelrebe and Reichensteiner from 2009 - as soon as we walked through the door!
Charles gave us a brief general history of vineyards in England; there have been vineyards in England for many hundreds of years, with various ups and downs according to the whims of the monarch of the day! They really got established as a commercial concern in 1951 and are now to be found in many parts of England.
Charles married into the Gosling banking family who already owned the farm at Hazel End. In 1976 he looked into the possibility of starting a vineyard there, and ordered 3300 vines - Muller Thurgau, Seyval Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir - from Merrydown (the cider makers) who were selling vines at the time. However, the area where they planted the vines was not a success and most of then died. After a couple false starts in different parts of the farm, they finally had success in the early 1990s and produced their first successful vintage in 1996. They initially sent the juice to Maurice Lilley to produce the wine! They then moved to Chapel Down for the wine production and then went to Shawsgate in 2009. They originally only produced still wine, but in 2001 decided to produce sparkling wine as well, which has been a successful venture. In the past 3 years they have produced approximately 3800 bottles of wine each year. We were treated to a still white wine, as mentioned, and also a sparkling wine from Huxelrebe, Reichensteiner, and Muller Thurgau grapes. Both were very nice wines.
A very interesting talk and tasting by Charles. Further details of his vineyard and the wines can be found at the web site above and also on a page on the UK Vines web site.

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June: Annual Walk - Hertford
Thirteen members met in St Andrew's Street Hertford car park for the club's annual walk. Our guide was Jean Ridell from the Hertford Museum. She led us first into the Hertford Castle grounds. The castle has long been associated with royalty, although the last monarch to visit it was Elizabeth I in 1597. It was sold by James I to the Cecil family who still own it. It has had various tenants in the past, including the East India College (before they moved to Haileybury) and has been used by the the Hertford council for the past 100 years. A small beacon was lit on the top of it as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
We went past St Andrew's Church, which was built in the 19th century at a cost of £4000 and into St Andrew Street. Like Ware, Hertford used to have a considerable number of coaching inns, several of which were in St Andrew Street. Now they are shops. Hertford also used to have several breweries - Wyckhams, Youngs, amongst others. McMullens is now the only one left. The McMullens family originally came from Ireland and the brewery has been on the same site, more or less, since it was first established. The old brewery building is now a listed building, which has been sold to Sainsbury's, who are building a supermarket behind the building, but not actually in it. Apparently, there used to be a train station - Cowbridge - opposite the brewery.
The old drinking fountain just outside the old library building - also listed - was constructed from stones from a demolished church in the shape of a church window.
Christ's Hospital was built in 1682, with the Young's Brewery next door. The hospital buildings are now offices and flats.
We retired to the Six Templar's - Wetherspoons - for some well-earned refreshment.
Many thanks to Jean for a very informative tour and talk (I gave up counting the pubs once I reached a dozen!) and to Peter B for organising it.

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May: Quiz Nite with Dave and Sue Kenney
12 members formed 4 teams of 3 for the annual quiz nite. There was a no particular theme to the quiz this year. Everyone was very quiet whilst trying to ascertain the answers from a multiple choice list. The scoring was fairly close throughout the evening. The results, in reverse order, were - 4th Don, Mary, Kevin; 3rd Elaine, Alan, Reg; 2nd Colin, John, Peter B; 1st Helen, Margaret, Peter R who received a bottle of wine each. Thanks to Dave and Sue for organising the quiz questions.

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May: Beds & Herts Federation Show 2012
Peter, Elaine and Kevin entered the show again this year; Peter judged and Elaine and Kevin were stewards. Peter got 2 1st places and 8 other places; Elaine got one 1st place and 7 other places; Kevin got one 1st place and 7 other places. Elaine was 3rd highest lady in the wine classes and Peter was 3rd highest in the beer classes. We entered the Circle 3-bottle wine class and came 1st! Overall in the circle table, Ware came 3rd with 139 points, not quite as good as last year.
Full report and results on the NAWB web site.

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April: AGM followed by second semi-final of supermarket challenge
16 members (5 apologies for absence) attended the AGM. The club is still in a reasonably healthy financial position; the Square Dance for this year has been cancelled due to lack of support; it has been decided not to attempt to revive this event. The club has again enjoyed a variety of meetings, including a talk about Ware, a talk and tasting by Wareside Wines, a wine tasting by the Vine shop, and a talk by John Grindell on his life as a judge! The current committee members were re-elected. Sue Kenney has completed her term as club President; Wendy How was nominated by the committee to be the next President, and this was duly accepted by the members.
Sue Kenney announced the results for the Founder's Trophy, as follows - 8th Alan H 4 pts; 7th Eddie 8 pts; 6th John Grindell 9 pts; 5th Peter B 14 pts; 3rd Colin and Kevin 17 pts; 2nd Peter R 24 pts; 1st Elaine 26 points. Another close contest this year

Peter R and Elaine then poured the wines for the supermarket challenge. The second semi-final was between ADSA and Morrison's.
The members had to decide which was the better wine. The wines were as follows:
La Chasse Sauvignon Grenache Vin de Pay D'Oc, 2010 12% Was £7.17, offer £4.50 Asda Prestige Calvet Semillon Sauvignon Bordeaux, 2010 12% Was £10.99 offer £5.49 Morrison's
Incyon Sicilia Shiraz Rose, Sicily, 2010 12.5% Was £9.99 offer £5.99 Morrison's Tagus Creek Shiraz / Touriga Nacional Portugal, 2011 13% Was £5.98 offer £4.50 Asda
Isla Negra Merlot Reserva Chile, 2011 12%  Was £8.99 offer £4.49 Morrison's La Moneda Merlot Reserva, Chile, 2011 13.5% Was £6.48 offer £4.48 Asda

Peter added up the scores and Morrison's won by 21 to 12. Thanks to Elaine and Peter R for getting the wines.
The members were reminded about the September competition, to a special recipe. Click here for the recipe.

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April: Opening Ceremony of the Great Bed of Ware at Ware Museum
Elaine, Peter R, Kevin, Peter B, Colin and Mary attended the Opening Ceremony of the Great Bed of Ware at the Ware Museum. They dressed up in Tudor costumes and served home-made mead and beers - made to recipes of the time - for all the guests at the event. The mead in particular was very popular and some people wanted to take a bottle home with them!

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March: National Show at Hutton Moor Leisure Centre, Weston-super-Mare
Peter and Elaine R and Kevin went to the 54th National show at Weston-super-Mare. The weather was warmer this year, so there were no complaints about the temperature of the sports hall where the show is held. Unfortunately, the Beefeater service was not so food, and several people waited a while for their evening meals. See the NAWB website for the full results and photos.
They entered 159 bottles between them, as well as two bottles each from Peter Byford and John Grindell, and the circle also entered the circle classes for 3 bottles of wine for dinner and the 3 bottle beer class, unfortunately no places there. They gained 65 places between them, including 9 1st places. Elaine won the Solvino Cup for the best kit white sweet wine; Kevin won the Gerry Sparrow trophy for the steward with most points; Peter won the Bournemouth Master Winemakers Cup for the highest points in wine classes, as well as 4 other trophies. He also shared a trophy with Ted Jordan, who used to be a club member. Peter was somewhat shell-shocked at his success and seemed to be more concerned as to how was going to get all the trophies and their boxes into an already very loaded car. Fortunately, Kevin came to the rescue; otherwise Elaine would have travelled home by train! The circle came 2nd overall, winning the Nottingham trophy.

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March: Tasting our beer and mead for the Great Bed of Ware
14 members and 5 guests enjoyed a slightly unusual evening tasting the beers and mead that some members have made for the Opening Ceremony of the Great Bed of Ware at the Ware Museum.
After a talk about the bed by Ken Weeks in 2010, the club was invited to make beer and mead for the opening ceremony. We have researched some old recipes, particularly for the beer. At the March meeting, samples were brought along for the club members to taste, and to see if they were suitable to serve to the dignitaries who have been invited to the opening ceremony. Although the brews are still young, they were all drinkable and it was a very enjoyable evening. In fact, the commercial mead that was brought along was deemed to be far inferior to our home-made brews, being perfumed and lacking in honey taste.
The beers were as follows:
London Mild Ale (Kevin), Medieval Household Beer from 1587 (Peter R), London Porter (Roger), Elderberry Ale (Kevin; this one did not contain any hops).
The meads were as follows:
Dry basic mead using lime juice instead of lemon juice (John), Metheglin - mead with spices - (Elaine), Cyser apple mead with the addition of cinnamon sticks (Peter B), Cyser apple mead - medium dry - (Colin), Pyment mead with grape juice (Kevin), sweet basic mead (John), Braggot mead with malt and hops (Peter R).
Some of the meads are entered into the forthcoming National show, so it will be interesting to see what the judges say about them.
An interesting evening. Well done to everyone who made the beer and especially the mead, as for most it was the first time they had made mead.

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February: Judging our Tea wine, lead by Kevin
14 members, lead by Kevin, judged the 7 entries in the tea wine competition. The wines were generally of an 'onion-skin' colour, one was a more definite rose colour and one was a golden colour. The wines had been made from a variety of tea - PG Tips, Earl Grey, Twinings fruit tea, Tesco Finest afternoon tea and hibiscus.
The results were as follows: 1st Colin (hibiscus); 2nd Peter B (hibiscus with some added rose petals); 3rd Peter R (Tesco Finest afternoon tea); 4th Elaine (hibiscus).
An interesting session, reminding us all how judging is done at shows.
Kevin gave out the recipe for the September competition - a Sauvignon blanc style wine

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January: Wine, Beer and cheese tasting by Elaine; report by Wendy
The January meeting was a Cheese tasting with complimentary wine and beer. Elaine worked hard to choose some lovely wines and, indeed, some lovely cheeses to go with them. (Peter R helped pour the wine and beer for the 13 members.)
We started with a Riesling from Germany which was paired with Gruyere cheese. This was a very nice combination and things got better as the evening progressed. Next was a wheat beer with Wensleydale cheese, and after that it was back to wine and cheese combinations. I particularly liked the last wine and the mature cheddar but that may have been the accumulation of wine and cheese over an evening.
The wines, beer and cheese tasted were as follows:
Dr Loosen Riesling, Mosel 8.5% 2010 £7.29 Tesco Gruyère
Schneider Weisse Wheat beer 5.4% £1.99 Morrisons Wensleydale
Domaine de Carrior Perrin Sancerre 12.5% 2006 3D wines Abergavennay Goat's cheese
Valpolicella Ripasso Amarone 13.5% 2009 £6.99 Tesco Port Salut
McWilliams Markview Heritage Series Shiraz 13.5% 2010 £5.00 offer (£8.99) Tesco Gouda
Cantine due Palme Trezanti Salento Negroamoro 12.5% 2009 £5 approx Mature Cheddar


Elaine stated that Dickensian Evening had raised £200 for the breast cancer unit at Welwyn Garden City hospital as well as money for WWBC.

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Last updated: 20/07/16
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