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Home Winemaking
Wine Circles

Do yourself a favour - JOIN A WINE AND BEER CIRCLE
by Evelyn Barrett Consultant

There is no doubt that many people new to our hobby gain a great deal from joining their local Wine and Beer Society. Many of these groups are termed Circles, to symbolise the great friendship that is common throughout the winemaking and home brewing community.

There are literally hundreds of Wine Circles in the UK. with annual subscriptions as low as 3 or 4 or so.

GettyImages_stk129341rkeWine and Beer Circles provide three major services to members and any unaffiliated hobbyist is strongly recommended to approach their local group.

There is normally a continuing program of visiting speakers, small competitive shows for members, and all sorts of activities such as film shows, lectures on a range of wine, beer, and allied topics, classes for beginners, and all the advice and help a novice could want from those whom have been in the hobby for years. And no-one will ever laugh at your inexperience - promise! But they will gladly give advice and help.

Secondly, Circle members are usually encouraged to enter the Open Shows run by their own and other Circles, and there are also large Regional Federation and the National Association Shows that often extend over a whole weekend. Shows are ideal places to extend ones knowledge and experience, and their organisers are always glad to have volunteers to act as stewards to help run the show, or to assist the judges. Many shows have a period known as “Judge’s at the Bar”, when any competitor can discuss his or her entries with the Judge for that class, and benefit from the Judges years of experience and accumulated skill; most Judges have passed quite stringent tests to become accredited, and are only too pleased to assist anyone with a question.

Thirdly, Wine and Beer Circles almost invariably have a strong social side, and run dances, Christmas parties, barbecues, and all sorts of social events, inviting other Circles to their functions and paying return visits. No-one joining a Wine Circle need ever be bored: there is always more work to be done than hands available to do it, and one doesn’t have to be a skillful brewer to help build a November 5th bonfire, or be a brilliant winemaker to sell raffle tickets at a meeting.

So if you are a new or lone winemaker or brewer, why not approach your local Wine Circle and ask about membership?

For the added social contacts, the friendship, and the wealth of help, knowledge and experience that will be available to you, joining a Circle could make this year a year to remember.

To find your nearest circle, please ask here.