150th anniversary

Member Moments Competition: the winners!

We are delighted to reveal the winners and runners up in our special anniversary competition inviting members to share their memorable moments and Wine Society-related anecdotes. Every bottle tells a story, below are some of yours.

We had a great response to our competition inviting members to share stories about being members of The Society. The task of choosing a winner was not an easy one. The judging panel included external expert, food and wine writer Abbie Moulton, who summed up the tricky, but highly enjoyable, process:

"It was such a pleasure to be involved with The Wine Society, and I had a really lovely few days spent reading through the entries with a coffee in hand.

While reading through each of the stories, one theme stood out – the deep affection, sentimentality, and love for The Wine Society. It was heartwarming to see how the wines have featured throughout so many members’ key life moments: weddings, homecomings, within childhood memories linked back to dearly remembered parents, along with members' own coming of age moments with wine. That connection truly shone through within the pages.

There were so many thoughtful and beautifully written entries that narrowing it down was no easy task, and in the end, we simply had to choose joint winners. Both stories really captured what we believe wine is all about – time, history, a sense of place, and connection. I hope The Wine Society members enjoy reading them as much as we did."

The Society’s Champagne featured in several entries, including one of the winners, proving what a key role our oldest suppliers have played in our shared histories. There were tales of weddings, births, deaths and mislaid memberships left to languish for years, as well as a few stories relating to bottles won in previous competitions, including our centenary prize draw!

In the end, the stories that clinched it were a charming one dating to the 19th century about The Society’s Champagne, known as ‘Wedding Champagne’ for four generations of the Godfrey family and an amusing, salutary lesson involving a forgotten case of Château Beaumont turning up in a cowshed on the farm of Ian McDonald and his wife Prue (pictured below, right).

The joint winners will join us for our special anniversary Celebration Lunches in September, the five runners up each received a magnum of The Society’s Champagne Brut. Read the winning entries below.

Joint winner – Lionel Godfrey

In our household, The Society’s Champagne Brut is always known as ‘Wedding Champagne’. It all began with one of the early members, my grandfather, a doctor in Wales who joined The Wine Society in the early 1900s, and who was very partial to a glass or two of Champagne. When my parents got married in the dark days of 1941, there was fortunately enough stock of The Society’s Champagne Brut in the doctor’s cellar to turn an otherwise austere wartime wedding into a proper celebration.

Lionel Godfrey and family MM Comp winner
Lionel Godfrey and family MM Comp winner

After the war, my father became a Wine Society member himself, so naturally, when my wife and I got married in 1975, it was again The Society’s Champagne Brut that was served.

Shortly afterwards, I too became a Society member, and when our two daughters were married (in 2008 and 2014), what else could we possibly serve but The Society’s Champagne Brut?

Both daughters are now Society members and are as partial to a glass of ‘Wedding Champagne’ as their great grandfather was a hundred years ago.

Four generations and four weddings so far, and there can be little doubt that when the time comes, the next generation will uphold the family tradition.


Joint winner – Ian McDonald

I was given membership of The Wine Society in 1968 as a 21st birthday present by our family doctor. A year later I was married and it was not long before we had three children. Money was tight so our budget for wine was low. We regularly bought Flor, a Cyprus sherry, for 14 shillings a bottle. Wine had to wait. I read the seasonal lists from cover to cover and tried to learn about claret, left and right banks etc. I bought en primeur so I could enjoy in later years a claret which I would not be able to afford if I bought it then. Our favourite was Château Beaumont.

Ian and Prue McDonald: Member Moments competition winners
Ian and Prue McDonald: Member Moments competition winners

My wife became a farmer and when we relocated in 1990 to a farmhouse that required restoration, all our belongings were stored in farm buildings and my stuff went into a stable. More junk was added over the years!

This year my wife insisted I clear out the stable as she needed it for a sick calf and its mother. That’s when I discovered my Château Beaumont!!

There are seven bottles. I opened one tonight. It is not corked but I would describe it as ‘blown’ – no body and very little flavour. What a fool I have been!

The good news is that we went to a Society tasting this month and were impressed with the Generation Series Haut-Médoc 2019 produced by... Château Beaumont! We bought a case and that’s going into a proper cellar, not a cowshed! This is our bull. His name? Why it’s “Mr Beaumont” of course!

bottle of 1987 Beaumont
Bottle of 1987 Beaumont

Runners up

  • Richard Law
  • Jon Howard-Drake
  • Dick Muskett
  • Nick Cooper
  • Nicolas and Helen Long
Joanna Goodman

Senior Editor

Joanna Goodman

Part of our Marketing Team for over 30 years, Jo has been editor of Society News for much of that time as well as contributing to our many other communications.

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