Tasting Groups

Tasting Groups
If you’ve been reading my articles here at BellaOnline.com (and I thank you for so doing) it’s probably because you want to know a little more about wine.

That was my intention when I started writing for BellaOnline all that time ago. I wanted to explain and to dispel the feeling many wine newbies have that it’s a complicated subject meant ti be understood only by a select few.

But, while reading about wine is a good education, nothing comes close to opening a bottle and pouring a glass to experience yourself.

But there’s only so much you can taste on your own.

Joining a tasting group, sharing the cost and tasting from a range of wines is the best and most cost effective way of doing it.

There are many commercially run tastings, some are free at places selling wines while others can charge a considerable amount.

I belong to two non-commercial groups. One is a long established club of around 80 people with a revolving volunteer committee of members who hire a hall every month and pay knowledgeable speakers to presents a tutored tasting. We have an annual membership fee that covers the cost of admin and things like public liability insurance, and charge for each tasting to coverthe cost of wines, speaker fees and hall hire.

The other is a much smaller group of ten people who meet as a sub-group of the U3A (University of the Third Age, a self-help organisation for education and stimulation of mainly retired members of the community—those in their third ‘age’ of life).

Each month one member hosts the tasting in their house. They choose and purchase between 6 and 8 wines to present and research information about them. As we taste the wines we discuss them.

American Wine Society ‘chapters’ self-organise tastings and events across the USA. AWS website can put you in touch with the chapter nearest to you and there is also useful information on how to start your own chapter. See www.americanwinesociety.org/?page=D3 . Being under the auspices of the AWS gives you the support and knowledge of that non-profit making organisation and the protection of their insurance policies.

Many web-based wine discussion forums hold ‘off-lines’, where members meet in real–life and bring a bottle to share and discuss.

MoCool, the Motown Co-Operative Off-Line, claims to be the world’s longest running. It began in 1992 in Detroit with wine who chatted on the Prodigy online wine forum, then hosted by Robert Parker. Each annual meeting has a punning name that specifies the wine focus. 2015 MoCool was titled ‘Game of Rhones’.

Talk about wine on our forum.

Peter F May is the author of Marilyn Merlot and the Naked Grape: Odd Wines from Around the World which features more than 100 wine labels and the stories behind them, and PINOTAGE: Behind the Legends of South Africa’s Own Wine which tells the story behind the Pinotage wine and grape.

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