Terrington Wine Society
The ‘Terrington Wine Society’ met first in October 1997 and held 114 tasting evenings, through to January 2012. It was a self-financing club with a total membership over the years of 109 and organised by Dr Ken Wildey (as Chair) and Susie Wildey (as Secretary/Treasurer).
It met most months (on a Tuesday) with a brief ‘summer break’ before restarting meetings in autumn and the average attendance was around 32 members per meeting.
During that 14 year period, the Society only missed 2 ‘scheduled’ meetings and Ken led all the tastings, apart from on 6 occasions when we welcomed special guest speakers, including some visiting Internationally-famous producers/Masters of Wine. The Society also purchased 144 ISO wine tasting glasses for use at our monthly meetings (since gifted to the Village Hall when the Society’s meetings ended).
The basic system/organisation involved Ken buying sufficient bottles of 8-11 different wines for the night, following the title theme which might be eg grapes, regions, countries, etc., and simply dividing the cost of purchase by the numbers attending to set the evening's contribution and pay for the hall hire. The average cost per evening was £5-£6 p/p.
Generally there was also a small additional ‘rounding up’ contribution made to help support some of our ‘higher price’ special tastings plus our Christmas meal (usually held in late January) and also a summer BBQ. The Christmas meals were hugely successful and, for about £12 per head, it included canapes and 5 courses or so, accompanied by (generally) 2 wines per course to perhaps compare how well they each went (or not…) with the dish on offer.
The food for the annual meal was all made by members with ‘orders’ agreed with volunteers for, say, 12 portions of a dish to be prepared for the evening (so ‘similar’ portions from x6 people for the planned attendance of 72 people – to include members’ partners). And full reimbursement was made to the ‘chefs’ for the ingredients purchased.
The summer BBQs were generally not met with great weather, but we learnt quickly the wisdom of setting-up wisely the BBQs (based on two half oil drums) under cover - sometimes even in the Village Hall entrance, though this did cause some problems with fumes inside the Hall if the wind was blowing in the wrong direction!
But they were really jolly affairs, and towards the latter part of the life of the Society we designated a separate kettle BBQ for vegetarians’ use only, leaving the others for meat eaters!
For the BBQs the Society provided a whole load of salads/breads/cheeses, etc., but members brought along whatever fare they wanted to cook and basically everyone mucked in and one of the lovely things was that many members actually forged new friendships with other members met around the fires, while cooking whatever they had brought. Of course, as always, alcohol helped "lubricate" the evenings and nobody tended to go home thirsty!
Contributed by Ken & Susie Wildey, May 2021.