Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Our First Wine Tasting Evening

It probably won't be our last!

There was a limit of 40 tickets because of the space we had available - Tomatito's Tapas Bar had kindly allowed us to use their back room, which is on three different levels! We had three tables on the top level, the microphone and information on the middle level, and our fourth group down below where all the comfy sofas are.
The new Fairtrade notice board got its first official outing, with lots of information about Fairtrade and the Hay group. On Thursday, the board will be moving to the Library, and after Fairtrade Fortnight, it will have a permanent home in St Mary's Church, with occasional visits to the other two churches in the local group, Llanigon and Capel-y-Ffin.

Everyone we approached to help was very generous. The Co-op weren't able to send a wine expert (all the wines came from the Co-op Fairtrade range), but they did send two lovely chaps along with all the information about the various wines and where they had come from. The Co-op sources its Fairtrade wines from South Africa, Chile and Argentina.
We started off with some very fine fizz, and followed that with four white wines. Each table was giving scores to the wines, and the favourite was worked out at the end of each session. I was one of the four wine waitresses (each in our Fairtrade aprons) so I didn't pay any attention to which wines were chosen, as I was busy serving.

We're very keen on promoting local produce in Hay as well as Fairtrade, and for the break in the middle of the evening we were lucky enough to have Kate, a local artisan bread maker and Charlie from Neal's Yard Creamery in nearby Dorstone.
Kate had baked four different breads for the evening, all of which were delicious. She supplies local restaurants and cafes, and also has a stall on the Thursday market, in the Buttermarket. I really liked her walnut and raisin loaf - and I don't even like walnuts! There was also one baked with fennel which was very nice.
Charlie has been making fine cheeses, mostly from goats' milk, for seventeen years in Dorstone. Most of the cheese he makes goes to the London market, but he also supplies local restaurants and cafes. In fact, while the red wines were being tasted in the second half of the evening, he disappeared round to the main tapas bar with a cheeseboard full of samples, to chat to a couple who had come in for a meal. They have just taken over the pub in Almeley, in Herefordshire, and were interested in serving some of Charlie's cheeses after they overheard him talking about them for the wine tasters.

At the end of the evening, everyone who had been helping managed to get a taste of some of the wine that was left over, and some of the breads and cheeses, before working out who all the different wine glasses belonged to, and returning an extra table and chairs to St John's chapel across the road. The Pinot Grigot was particularly fine.

Everybody seemed to have a good time, and everybody who was involved said they'd be happy to do it again. We also made a profit on the evening which we will be putting into Shared Interest, which gives loans to Fairtrade producers.