A boozy November

An hour after the flood alarm siren and amidst a howling gale enough intrepid WI members managed to stagger to the Town Hall for November’s WI meeting. Sadly many members were still stuck on trains and buses or worse, carrying their belongings upstairs in case the river burst its banks again. Fortunately Hebden got away with localised surface flooding thanks to the quick response of many residents and council workers clearing the drains and culverts of autumn leaves.

Those of us that managed to make the WI were in for a treat. We were given a mini wine course and tasting (that wasn’t quite so mini!) by wine educator and advisor to restaurants and hotels, John Butterworth. John had had an awful journey himself to get to us from Wetherby but he quickly got down to the vital business of educating us about wine.


We learned how to Swirl, Sniff, Slurp and Swallow our wine while breathing out for taste – not as easy as it seems. We had a practical session of doing this with white and red wines. We learned how to read a wine label and store and serve wine. John also gave tips on matching wine to food and gave us a good background to the differences between Old and New World wines. In between our slurps we enjoyed olives and cheese nibbles provided by Sakinah.


Many useful things were learned, for example cellar temperature is 10 degrees while room temperature means 16 degrees and £2.50 for every bottle you drink goes directly to the Treasury – ouch! But perhaps most useful was being reassured that one can enjoy good wines from supermarkets, even the discount ones, as long as you go for their premier own labels such as ‘taste the difference’ or ‘exquisite’. If any of you are looking for the best English sparkling wine for your Christmas table he recommends the award winning Nye Timber which can be purchased from Waitrose and has won over Champagne in recent years.


For those of you who are disappointed that you missed the good recommendations, John said Christine Austen who writes for the Yorkshire Post gives excellent recommendations of latest offers from the supermarkets. And he said M&S do good 25% discount promotions that are worth keeping an eye on.

After a really interesting evening we again staggered out but this time it probably wasn’t just the outside storm.

Written by Jeni Wetton