Group report

Cast your mind back to the early seventies, when we left behind the lager & lime and Babycham and ventured into the world of wines with Mateus Rose and Blue Nun Liebfraumilch. Yes it was a modest start but a start never the less.

We spent decades living in Australia where we visited a number of wineries in areas such as the Hunter Valley (NSW), Barossa Valley (SA) and Margaret River (WA) in order to sample the excellent wines that Australia has to offer. We were able to gain a little knowledge about the wine production and the type of wines we preferred.

One of the first things we did upon arriving back in the UK two years ago was to join the U3A. It was one of the best things we did. We quickly joined a number of group activities and made some lovely new friends. Hayling Island made us very welcome and we settled in quite quickly.

It wasn’t long before a couple of friends suggested we start a U3A wine appreciation group. We didn’t need a lot of encouragement to do so, and it wasn’t long before we had a full group of 12 members and then assisted a second group to form.

None of us are experts but we all enjoy researching, tasting and learning about the different wines that the world has to offer. We meet once every 2 months at each other’s homes and the host chooses the theme for the evening – this could be for instance, white wines from different areas of France, red wines from different countries or a certain grape variety from different countries.

We arrange ourselves into pairs – each pair does research on the wine/region they have been given by the host, purchase one bottle of wine between them with a maximum price of £10. The research is then presented at the meeting. This means we have 6 different wines to taste at our gathering, and it is interesting what background facts and stories we can discover during this process.

Just for fun and not to be taken too seriously, we comment on our opinion of the wines and give them a score out of 10.

If anyone is interested in joining a wine appreciation group then we encourage you to contact us. It really is a very enjoyable social evening with good friends, good wine and a few nibbles.

Terry & Norma Downs

This is an article published in the Spring 2020 edition of the Hayling Island U3A newsletter .