August Newsletter


The summer party evening was a well-supported event. Les Bates organised another challenging quiz with a number of tricky questions for us to ponder over. Question 23 had our table puzzled: The first sailing race, now known as the America’s Cup, was a contest to sail around which island? A couple of us thought it was the Isle of Wight, while the majority said it must be an American island. Unfortunately, to our detriment, we chose the latter. It just goes to show that it is not always the case of the majority being right! Nevertheless, congratulations are definitely in order for the winning table, the Famous Four, as there were only four brains on that table compared with at least eight on the other tables. The quiz was followed by a bumper raffle, efficiently run by Marjorie and Bob Dye. Many thanks to members for donations. The buffet supper was a sumptuous feast, with the bottles of Pinotage very kindly donated by John Warner. Many thanks John. The Languedoc was provided by the club. Lin and Sylvia, as usual, did an excellent job in co-ordinating the buffet donations. Thank you for your hard work. 


Bitter beer:  1st Les Bates, 2nd Geoff Rishman, 3rd Geoff Rishman, Highly Commended Les Bates

Judge: Gerald Priestley


Quarterly:  Sweet red

WoE (dry and sweet classes)


Our club member, Pujan Dhar, will be giving a talk about holidays that he and Paula have enjoyed in Spain at the next meeting on Thursday 5 September. Just to add extra flavour to the evening, it will be accompanied with tastings of Spanish wines.


A liqueur competition is included at the North Tonbridge Horticultural Society show on 31 August at St Philip’s Church.  As usual, the format will be for competitors to enter a small glass of their liqueur on the morning of the show. Please let me know by Wednesday 28 August if you would like to enter the competition so that I can inform the show secretary. Entries in this show will count towards Moffat points.


We have received a good response for the French trip this year. There are only a few places still available which will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.  Please note the final balance is due on 5 September, if you haven’t already paid the full amount.  The menu choices and pick-up points will be issued as an attachment to the October newsletter.

Please check that your health/travel insurance is up to date and that your passport is valid with at least 6 months remaining before expiry.


Elderberries are ready for picking. Here is a very old recipe for elderberry wine. I am not sure whether to use the fresh yeast and toast or to play safe with a Gervin yeast instead.

Granpaw’s Elderberry Wine

4 elderberries

4 lb sugar

1 gallon water

1 oz fresh yeast

1 thick slice of toast

1 lb raisins

Remove the berries from the stalks (stripping with a fork might be easiest) and boil in the water for ½ hr. Strain and cool the liquid in a brewing container. When the liquid is almost cold, add the sugar and mix thoroughly. Spread the fresh yeast on the slice of toast and drop this into the liquid. Cover the container loosely and leave it to stand for 10 days. Strain again and add 1 lb of raisins. Allow this to stand in your brewing container for 6 weeks. Strain again and decant into bottles – only once you are sure it has stopped fermenting – and cork.




Buses, Buses and more Buses!

Jan and Chris Powis ran an excellent bus trip to Tenterden last week as part of the annual RT3183 rally, which judging by the number of vintage buses spotted in the area was a very well supported event. The journey took just over an hour, during which time we could enjoy the local countryside from the upstairs of the bus. On arrival in Tenterden we were given the opportunity to take free vintage bus rides to Rye, Appledore and Bodiam, travel on the Kent and East Sussex Railway to Bodiam or visit the railway museum and Tenterden museum.  Geoff and I opted for the train journey to Bodiam and on our return to Tenterden we had lunch at the Montalbano Italian restaurant where the food was superb. We enjoyed a bottle of Montepietroso Shiraz, a Sicilian wine, with the meal.

Many thanks to Jan and Chris for this lovely day out.

Winemaking Equipment

A lady in Hildenborough is offering the following items:

8 demi-johns + a smaller one, 6 green bottles, 25 ltr fermenter, 15 ltr fermenting bin, 2 sieves, fermentation locks + corks, plastic funnel, straining bag, filter kit pads, plastic shrink-on capsules, hydrometer, indicator pads, labels, corks, books.

Please let me know if you are interested.


Bottle Labels are giving misleading health advice

Daily Mail: Apparently only one in seven bottles or cans display the latest safe drinking limits according to an investigation by BBC Panorama. In 2016 new recommendations were introduced saying consumption should not exceed 14 units a week. One unit being equivalent to half a glass of wine, half a pint of beer or one measure of spirits. The investigation revealed that some bottles made no reference to units, while others continued to show the old weekly recommendations of 28 units for men and 21 for women. There are no penalties for not displaying the current advisory units and the self-regulating alcohol industry said that it had until September to comply. Adrian Chiles from the Panorama team said: “[Drinkers] deserve the correct information and at the moment they’re generally not getting it.”

(Article kindly supplied by Bob Dye)

Perry is becoming the new Prosecco

Daily Telegraph: Perry is making a comeback and is set to rival prosecco in popularity. Fruit growers report an increase in demand for perry in preference to cider, as drinkers are preferring a lighter drink. Stephen Ware, a Herefordshire pear grower, said: “Perry has massively increased in popularity and is being compared to prosecco. Proper cider is too strong as a session drink and this gives you a very pleasant and drinkable prosecco-style experience.”

Perry has been made since Roman times and was the preferred drink when champagne dried up during the Napoleonic Wars, earning it the nickname of “English champagne”. It was last popular during the Babycham era in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

The EU rule out Skinny Prosecco

Daily Mail: In 2016 Thomson & Scott introduced the Skinny Prosecco as a sparkling wine containing half the standard amount of sugar. However, the company have been forced into rebranding the drink as it does not comply with EU regulations which prevent alcohol products from making health boasts or nutritional claims. Trading Standards deemed the word “Skinny” confusing to consumers who might think it would help them with weight loss.

A case of bureaucracy having gone mad, I think!

(Article kindly supplied by Bob Dye)

Who remembers the White Bear in Tunbridge Wells?

The Courier: Tunbridge Wells Bar and Grill on the High Street has been bought by the pub and hotel company, Youngs and is set to re-open under its old name, the White Bear, after it has undergone refurbishment. Youngs believe the site has great potential as it is in “a great spot and has a walled garden to die for” and it will be “putting pubs back on the map”. Apparently, the White Bear, which was originally a Whitbread pub, was so popular that people would queue down the High Street to get through the doors at opening time.


Where do I go to collect my elderflowers and elderberries?

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13.03 | 12:56

anyone interested in 4x 50 litre wine carboys. I stopped making wine about 15 years ago. open to offers.

16.01 | 20:27

Same you only allow 160 caricatures on your site I would like to wright more !!!

16.01 | 15:40

Thank you for your kind comments. You are more than welcome to join us at one of our meetings - the first Thursday of each month.

16.01 | 15:26

Hi There I have just come across your website ...and very impressed, you seem to be a well organised club with monthly events and good membership BRAVO

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