The tippler: Wine writing competition; Glass and decanter sale; Cherry beer

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Enjoy unsociable hours and long-haul travel? Ready to get up at dawn and stand around in freezing cellars to have your teeth stained black and your palate assaulted by fermenting grape juice? It's a tough job, but someone has to do it. Why not you? These are the perks of wine writing, for which the Circle of Wine Writers is offering a second annual award of £1,000, sponsored by Websters International Publishers.

The award, to travel to a wine region to gain first-hand experience (a drink or two is probably on the agenda), is open to any wine writer under 30 years old who has not had a book published and is not an established columnist or regular contributor to a magazine. For details, contact Jo Turner at Websters, Second Floor, Axe and Bottle Court, 70 Newcomen Street, London SE1 1YT by 31 January. Tel. 020-7940 4714, e-mail joturn@websters.co.uk, or look at www.websters.co.uk

You're about to apply for an Egg card and a second mortgage to finance the coming year's wedding and birthday presents. With the January sales in full swing, a good set of crystal glasses or a stylish decanter could be the answer to your, and someone else's, prayers. At the Villeroy & Boch factory shop sale at 267 Merton Road, London SW18 (020-8875 6006), tall, elegant champagne flutes are reduced from £12.95 to £6.95, the Rioja decanter from £69 to £21.95 and the Chianti decanter from £59 to £19.95.

If it seems too early in the year to be thinking about food and wine marriages supposedly made in heaven, try a food and beer match for a change. Instead of sauternes with foie gras, a duo which can leave the palate mired in richness, try a traditional Belgian cherry beer. Lindemans Kriek Lambic, £1.69, Oddbins, brewed with wild yeast and aged in oak before the introduction of cherries and cherry juice, is a sparkling pinot noir of a beer with a cherry fragrance and refreshing maraschino sparkle, the perfect cleansing foil for rich pâtés.

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