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The ‘Club began two years ago when a group of like-minded imbibers decided to come out from behind the cellar doors and exercise their taste buds. It quickly became a popular activity and expanded to the virtual village club status it has today. Members are nowadays encouraged to come along with a view to developing their appreciation of wine drinking. Believe me, it doesn’t take long.

We meet monthly. This used to be in the lounge bar of the Indian restaurant but since this closed we have been of no fixed abode, usually gathering, like secret worshippers, at a member’s house.

For each meeting, six members are given a sum of money to buy a wine of their choice. This could be of their own choosing or relying on the advice of the wine retailer. The only limitations are that we try to follow a theme or a pattern. The theme of the evening is chosen at a completely whimsical drop of a hat. It may be related to the season, the weather, the news or absolutely nothing at all. The pattern is slightly stricter and requires that there is an opening wine, two whites, two reds and a closing wine. Sometimes the term “wine” is interpreted very loosely!

Only the purchaser knows the identity of their wine. This gives members the chance to guess the country of origin, the variety of grape and may be even have a go at the complete label. It’s not serious, we have a good laugh and no one is ejected for confusing a red for a white. Yes, it occasionally happens!

Somewhere during the course of the evening we stop for a little palate freshener or just a bite to eat to keep us relatively sober.   

There is no annual membership fee. The charge for each evening is set at £10 with no senseless discrimination between regulars and newcomers. We live in a village where anyone who has moved in during the last 20 years is an in-comer. That categorisation ends at the theoretical door to the wine club. Membership is currently around 30 lost souls with the average attendance working out at around 20 – including some notable die-hards who never miss an evening. Visitors are welcome – with sufficient notice so that enough wine is purchased for the night.

And what do you get for a £10 investment? A lot more than you usually do these days. For a start you get six glasses of decent vino; wines which are around £7 - £10 a bottle, the sort you could regularly go out and buy for yourself if you liked them. There will always be one or two more expensive bottles so that we get a breadth of vintage and variety. Add to this, excellent camaraderie, interesting nibbles, and a fair chance that you will have experienced a better range of wines than you would normally partake of in the average tasting where someone is trying to sell you their brand.

On top of that, as we usually generate a surplus in the vault, we have a twice-yearly blow-out when we really up the ante, and pull out all the corks, to taste the finer things in oenological life.

If we have whetted your taste buds and you fancy joining us for an evening (or for life), contact me by email tom@drymen.eu for details of the next venue.

In the meantime, have a look around the website.
Hopefully with a glass in your hand!
                                                                     Tom Sharpe