Newsletter May 2021

Dear Members,

Welcome to our May Newsletter which should see everyone in an optimistic mood as the spring and summer approaches, wherever you are.

The April online tasting saw 34 members attending from Spain to Southern Ireland and the United Kingdom. This tasting was presented by 2 Past Presidents, Gordon Sellars and Paul Nicholls, our Treasurer, Mike Granville and two long standing members, Gillian and Hugh Epsom.

A special welcome was given to new member Jackie Brown from Javea and members Joan and Fergus Fitzpatrick from Cork Southern Ireland who had only been able to attend one CBWS tasting since they joined in 2019.

The tasting was very interesting and enabled everyone to contribute in a structured enjoyable manner. Our thanks to the presenters for their choices of the wines which provided some new discoveries!

Click here to see tasting report on the webpage.

Our next tasting on Thursday May 20 (the 3rd Thursday of the month) will be a tasting from Finca los Aljibes ( who we visited in an Autumn Wine Trip in 2016. This winery is based near Albacete in the DO Vino de la Tierra de Castilla.

Paul Nicholls our President in that year has contacted them to invite the General Manager Manuel Morante to present some of their wines. Those of you who were on that wine trip will remember what an impressive bodega they have where they are producing some excellent wines which are achieving good points from Robert Parker and others.

I have been talking to Manuel and he has promised us some interesting wines to taste, 4 in total and has offered each participant a bottle of their own Olive oil and Embuitidos to accompany your tasting!

I will be writing separately to all regular participants but if any other members would like to participate please contact me on

Developments in France

There appears to be a big challenge for the French wine Industry this year.  You may be interested to see below some of their challenges:

Wine tasters who lost senses ‘need to jump vaccine queue’

Anna Pujol-MazziniIN PARIS

FRENCH wine tasters have urged their government to prioritise them for vaccines after being left unable to do their job when they lost their olfactory senses due to Covid-19.

In a survey of more than 2,600 wine workers, the Union of France Oenologists said nearly 70 per cent of those who were infected lost their sense of smell and over half lost their sense of taste, affecting their ability to work.

‘From harvesting to bottling, appreciation of quality and resulting technical decisions go through tasting’

“It’s like asking a musician to play without his instrument,” said Didier Fages, the union’s director.

As the vaccination rollout picks up speed and essential workers such as teachers and police get jabs, the body has written to Jean Castex, the prime minister, to demand that wine tasters be moved to the front of the queue for shots to protect their livelihoods.

“Tasting is at the heart of the profession of the wine expert who makes the wine. At each stage from harvesting the grape to bottling, the appreciation of the quality of the wine and the resulting technical decisions go through tasting,” Mr Fages said in an open letter.

He asked the government to “consider measures to make access to vaccination easier” for oenologists.

The survey added that 40 per cent of wine professionals whose senses were dulled during an infection did not recover their abilities fully.

Winemakers say subtler tastes are harder to detect after retraining their noses post-Covid, finding the aromas of dark fruits and berries simple to detect, but mandarines and ripe citrus fruits more elusive.

The loss of smell and taste, a common symptom of a Covid infection, could also affect chefs, perfume makers and others. France’s multi-billion pound wine industry had already been affected by restaurant closures and lockdowns since the start of the pandemic. Exports to Britain and the US have been complicated by Brexit and by tariffs by the former Trump Administration.

Then in April, early spring frosts ruined up to 80 per cent of vineyards across France, one of the greatest threats to the industry in years. The government had promised €240 million (£207 million) to help companies stay afloat. Last week, Mr Castex pledged a billion-euro fund to help winemakers affected by the weather.


As we all know this month we will see a change in the restrictions across all countries which should be an easing of restrictions so your committee will be meeting via Zoom to assess developments. It is highly likely we will continue with our Zoom Tasting in June however will report back to everyone after the various announcements.

In the meantime enjoy your wine and stay safe.

Best Regards,