By the time these words are in print all Circles should have received the schedules and programmes the Amateur Winemakers’ National Conference and Show, which this year is being held in the Corn Exchange and Royal Pavilion at Brighton on Friday, and Saturday, April 19th and 20th. So if your club has not yet had any schedules, by some oversight, or if you are a lone winemaker, write off now to Mr. Bill Martin, at 78 Broomhill Road, Farnborough, Hants.
The accommodation this year is undoubtedly the finest that the Conference has had in the five years of its existence, and this year’s conference promises fair to exceed all its predecessors both in numbers of entries and in attendance, for Brighton is within striking distance of the most thickly populated part of the country from the point of view of winemaking clubs, and many Circles have already announced their intention of bringing large parties. Hotels are already booking up fast. Certainly Brighton is an attractive venue, and there is plenty there for the non-winemaking part of the family to do.
The civic authorities have been most kind, both with their very reasonable terms for the hire of such splendid accommodation, and in extending special privileges to those attending the Conference. The Mayor, Alderman W. H. G. Button, is giving us a civic reception, and also a dance and buffet on the Friday night.
The Saturday programme has something for everyone. It starts with “Winemaking in Pictures,” when exhibits in the photographic colour slide and film classes will be projected and commented upon by Mr. F. J. Tritton. Later in the morning there will be a general discussion -those in the audience will be invited to take part – initiated by Mr. Cedric Austin, of Hertford, and Mr. John Parker, of Andover, with an old friend, Cdr. M. N. Mudie, R.N., also of Andover, in the chair.
The Conference lunch will undoubtedly be a sell-out again this year, particularly since speeches have been virtually eliminated.
After lunch Mr. J. A. Barnett, of King’s College, Cambridge, a leading authority on the subject, will talk on “Yeasts and What They Do.”
The annual general meeting of the Conference will occupy a further hour, and the Conference will wind up with the presentation of the awards by Mr. C. J. J. Berry, the Chairman, and a summary of the judges’ comments given by the convenor, Mr. S. W. Andrews.
Throughout the day visitors will be able to try their own hand at judging in the novel “Judge with the Judges” contest organised by Mrs. Cherry Leeds. In this they will be invited to place a number of wines (previously judged by experts) in order of merit. Dr. R. A. Webb will also be running a large” tombola.”
The Wine Show
The wine show itself has been still further enlarged this year and now runs to 42 classes.
The main classes (1-30) are much the same as before, with only minor alterations, but there are now two cookery classes for a savoury and a sweet cooked with wine, four classes for exhibitors who have not previously won a prize at a National, and two classes for judges, judges stewards and other show officials not eligible to enter the open classes. Mr. C. Austin, who has kindly given a cup for these last classes, put it rather neatly when he wrote: “I note that two classes for judges and stewards are included. This, I think, is an excellent idea. One comes to look on a judge as a kind of wine-drone, who flits around sipping other people’s drinks, and these classes will underline the fact that they are still very much winemakers. But why no trophy for these cuspidor fillers? May I have the pleasure of putting up the Cedric Austin Cup as an award to the winner of most points in classes 41 and 42 ? “
Other new trophies this year have been kindly given by Messrs. Atcherley’s, for the novices classes, by Major Gordon lnstone, for the best Circle display, new exhibit or invention, and by Mr. R. C. Lucas for the member of the Bournemouth Circle gaining most points. The show now thus has 10 trophies.
With over 1,500 entries expected, it is thought no longer really feasible to select the best wine in the show, so the Shaw Porter trophy will henceforth go to the best fruit wine.
This year we should top 1,500 entries, all being well. Make sure that yours are amongst them, and start by obtaining a schedule right away.
See you at Brighton.
C J J Berry
(This article was originally published in Amateur Winemaker in 1963 and was written by C J J Berry.)