What do you want to know about the North East Wine Tasting Society? Here's a selection of facts & figures....

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When and where does the Society meet?


NEWTS gather on the third Wednesday of every month except December, where we meet on the second Wednesday to avoid clashing with Christmas Festivities.

We start at 19:00 and typically finish between 21:00 and 21:20, depending on how many bottles are being presented and how much debating is going on!

Meetings are held at the Literary and Philosophical Society (The Lit & Phil), a stone's throw away from Newcastle's Central Railway Station. For more information about the largest independent library outside of London visit the The Lit & Phil Society website.

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How do I join?


There's currently a waiting list to join as a full member - with a yearly subscription payable in January. But first things first! Come along to one of our meetings as a guest of a member (£20 on the night) and see if you enjoy it. We're happy to have someone come along two or three times over the year (apart from the March or December meetings, which are members only).

If you don't know a member then click the e-mail link on the right of the page (mail to for more information and to see if there's space to come along as a guest of the Chairman.

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What should I expect from a Society meeting?

Regular meetings involve tasting between 8 and 10 wines over the course of the evening, typically fitting some theme (typically country or region, grape, style or producer). Two bottles of each wine are used, allowing a generous "tasting measure" for each of the members (depending on how many are there on the night these can be very generous!)

The presenter usually gives some background information on the bottle, producer or region as the pouring and tasting commences, after which debate ensues on the relative merits (or otherwise) of the wine.

Meetings in March (the AGM) and December have the Committee members showing one or two of their own wines rather than an organised theme - with a Christmas Port eagerly anticipated by the NEWTS.

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What sort of wines are tasted?

In short...everything, although there is some hesitance in presenting Rose, Sparkling & Sweet wines and historically there's always been a distinct bias towards red wines which is trying to be overcome!

Wines presented come from a multitude of sources; Local & National Independents, Supermarkets, National Retailers and Cellar Door purchases by members.

At a typical tasting bottle costs can vary from £6.50 to £70, averaging about £20.

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Who presents the tastings?

A mix of individual members (8-9 a year), local retailers (1-2 a year) and group Committee Tastings (twice a year).

Member presentations are encouraged but not compulsory, there's no pressure for NEWTS to give a tasting (but after a while you may find you can't help yourself!)

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What are the meeting rules? The NEWTS Code:

(....more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules)


- Bring your own glasses! Believe it or not there is an ISO standard for Wine Tasting glasses (ISO 3591:1977 - "stemmed with elongated, tapered bowls, with capacities of 120 (for sherry), 210, 300 or 410 millilitres"). We're not so picky that we'll measure the actual dimensions of yours, but you will need to bring about 6 glasses that are up to the job - have a look at some Wine glassware background here.

- You're not in a pub - pour to taste! With at least 8 wines to get through don't overfill your glass or you'll regret it the next morning (also the bottle needs to pass by 13-16 people, so leave some for the rest!

- Debate is optional, informal and most of all subjective. The Chairman will occasionally intervene to ensure people are heard and prevent differing opinions turning into a free-for-all!

- All that is generally asked is how you really feel about the wine - there is no right answer and don't let anyone tell you otherwise!.

- Under no circumstances describe a wine as "nice". This will incur the wrath of the Chairman who will then expect you to justify such a controversial statement!

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Are there any other Society events?

Usually in Spring and in the run up until Christmas we'll put together an evening meal for members & partners. These evenings are BYO, with each NEWT bringing a bottle of something to share with their table.

For the last few years these have been at the Chef's Academy at Newcastle College where great food at a reasonable price is guaranteed.

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When was the Society formed?

The North East Wine Tasting Society was created in January 1983 by a mixed group of amateur enthusiasts and wine professionals. The first Chairman was Peter Collins, who ran a wine shop in Shakespeare Street at the time.

Meetings were held at the Brewery Society building in Jesmond until 2001, then for a short time at the British Gas Blue Flames club in Benton, before moving to The Lit & Phil Society in Sept 2001.

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