How does the Rotary Club of Roundhay raise £2,315 for charity in one night? By having fun. Read on…

Enticed by the promise of tasting seven different wines, [accompanied by a selection of cheeses, biscuits, bread, tomatoes, grapes and figs], you part with £20.00. You know that all profits will go to charities nominated by Rotary, whether local, national or international.

On the evening of 28 October you join over 100 other wine lovers at St Edmund’s Church Hall. On arrival a generous measure of delicious sparkling wine is handed to you by a volunteer from Interact, Rotary’s youth wing. You get no clue as to what you are drinking, as the bottle the wine was poured from is covered by tin foil to hide the label. You take your seat at a table of 8 friends. You are given a score sheet listing the wines to come, identified solely by numbers 1 to 7, the fizz plus three white, followed by three red. On the stage in front of you is the MC, with a panel of three trustworthy looking Rotarians, described as bluffer A [Paul], bluffer B [Warren] and bluffer C [Caroline].

Paul sounds authoritative as he tells you the fizz you are drinking is Prosecco, ‘intensely aromatic and crisp, bringing to mind yellow apple, pear, white peach, and apricot’. You think you can taste the fruit. But then Warren takes over, assuring you that it’s Spanish Cava, ‘with notes of citrus, apple, honey and toast.’ If you get honey and toast, you’ve probably settled on Warren, but then Caroline sows doubt in your mind, telling you it’s sparkling Saumur from the Loire. Can you taste ‘honeysuckle, and acacia on the palate’? What does honeysuckle and acacia even taste like?

After your judicious consideration, the MC asks for a show of hands. The audience is split three ways, with Prosecco the clear favourite. Bluffer Warren then ceremoniously peels the tin foil from his bottle, to reveal that the majority were wrong and you were all drinking Spanish Cava: Cordoniu 2021 [Majestic, £9.99]

The process continues throughout the night. As the wine and food go down, the noise level rises and everybody is having fun. Our master vendor of raffle tickets, friend of the Club Ian Short, knows the right psychological moments to approach donors, and raises an astonishing £672.00. A further £40.00 is raised from the sale of recycled glassware donated by our friend Gael Spishak.

Now imagine you are our President Elect, Steve McGrail. You thought you were the only person to get all seven wines right. The MC presents you with the competition prize, an appropriately cobwebbed 23 year old bottle of Chateau La Tour St Bonnet which has been resting for years in the cellar of our Vice President Tim Capstick.

But then a rival emerges from the shadows, retired legal eagle Ian Percy. He also chose all the wines correctly. The wine is unceremoniously prised from your grasp by the MC and we proceed to a tie breaker question: How many authorised grape varieties are there in Italy? You guess eight. Ian says nine. The correct answer is 350, so Ian wins. Sorry, Steve, fate is fickle but you both did admirably.

We should mention that before we started we had raised £450.00 through generous individuals who sponsored each of the seven rounds. In all, after deduction of the purchase of wine and food, we managed to raise the stonking amount of £2,315 for our charities.

A lot of hard work was put in by members of the Club, but what a convivial way to raise money. No doubt we can keep doing this until people get tired of wine.

Get in touch with Roundhay Rotary Club:

0113 266 6203