Champagne talk at probus

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SKEGNESS Ladies’ Probus Club welcomed two new members - Jenny Topley and Gina Harmsworth - to their latest meeting.

Prior to the start of business club president Carol Collins expressed sadness at the deaths of honorary member Eileen Farmer and former member Bessie Wise.

Bill Hutchinson, general manager of the Vine Hotel, then saved the day after a speaker cancellation by giving a popular talk with a quiz on the history of French champagne.

He explained that it is made only by approved makers in the champagne area north of Paris around Rheims and Epernay from a blend of pinot noir and chardonay grapes.

The champagne process was invented in 1662 by an English man and when the monk Dom Perignon found he could confine the millions of starry bubbles with a new mushroomam cork and wire, the industry began.

The great chateaux like Moet and Chandon continue to produce the finest vintages and are still another world of history and opulence. A bottle of vintage champagne from the best grapes in a year can fetch up to £40,000.

But Bill dismissed all the snobbery about Champagne.

He explained that there are hundreds of blends and it is a matter of personal taste. He said that people should try different labels, flavours and prices. Today the glamour of the bubbles is for everyone.

A vote of thanks was given by Anne Foster.

The next lunch is on October 25 when Gay Crawford is the speaker on recycling.