Claretsgirl, wine, football, and a split personality

I’ve been in and around for ages on this interwebby thing. Problem is, now I think about it, it appears I have a split personality. Claretsgirl and being a football fan or One Foot in the Grapes and enjoying wine (errrmmm quite a bit) or Jane Clare and both?

Mmm. I’m all three – but can I be all of these things out there in the ether? I’m not sure to be honest. It’s all very confusing.

Right. Here’s the story of my identity crisis.

Claretsgirl: Chapter One

Moons ago (in football terms it was the end of the 2008/ 2009 season) I joined Twitter as @claretsgirl.

This was a very exciting time for Burnley FC fans. When I joined Twitter, we’d just won promotion to the Premier League.

If you don’t follow footie this was a BIG thing for a club from a small Lancashire town, a club nonetheless steeped in football pride and history. My dad and his family had supported the Clarets for decades; I was the latest recruit.

Claretsgirl Burnley play-off final
Back then – claretsgirl aka Jane Clare – so very happy at the play-off final

At the time Twitter was a newish thing and all the guys in our Liverpool newsroom were using it. I didn’t get it – “but its a good source of news and finding people with similar interests” I was told.

Fair enough: As footie was HUGE for me at the time, I joined wearing my Burnley fan “hat” and eagerly hunted around for other Burnley fans on Twitter to share the joy.

Someone nicknamed our embryonic group of tweeting Clarets’ fans the #twitterclarets (High Five to @Hop3y for that) and we were as giddy as kids in a sweet shop with extra E-numbers drizzled on top.

Claretsgirl: Chapter Two

Remember those days of tweet-ups. Tweety people met in pubs (preferably) or coffee houses (not me) to put faces to Twitter names and to prove to each other they could speak in sentences that contained more than 140 characters.

I met one chap who’d followed me on Twitter  because he thought the clarets in claretsgirl stood for wine. Poor chap. He was disappointed it was “only” football (he definitely wasn’t a football man). Saying that, he was unknowingly giving a nod to the future.

As it was, @claretsgirl was on Twitter and not a glass of wine in sight (well, that bits a lie, but you know what I mean).

Back on track with the story. Two things happened. One not-so nice and one nice.

The not-so nice thing: I was poorly and off work for a while

My mind was so mushed I couldn’t work out how to cross a road. I was whacked. I guess it was like putting petrol in a diesel engine, when everything splutters to a halt.

Twitter was a lifeline for me when I started to improve. I loved the skill of using minimum characters and words to share a message, a thought, a joke. I rediscovered my love of words (and myself).

And so claretsgirl the blog was born.  A collection of musings, but mainly about mum, dad and Burnley FC.  My final post on claretsgirl shared tributes at dad’s funeral. I left it there. No more claretsgirl blogging.

Claretsgirl: Chapter Three

I hope you’re keeping up.

So this is the nice thing. I went to Chablis and fell in love with wine.

Sometimes journalists (I’m one) are invited on press trips. I was invited to Chablis. Well, it would have been rude not to go.

If you’re reading this because of the footie bit and you don’t know about the wine bit, you’ll be going Chablis? Yeh? Right? And so ….?

Chablis is a famous wine / village in Burgundy and you can read about the trip here  … but don’t disappear just yet.

Jane Clare clarestgirl in Chablis wine
Raising a glass in Chablis

I returned totally hooked on wine. This was like hooked on wine. The whole caboodle.  E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

Back at home, I decided to learn more; I began a wine column called ….. and this is the next identity crisis bit …. One Foot in the Grapes

High Five to my workpal Jamie for thinking of that name, which I think encompasses two things:
1) me and wine and being very clumsy
2) me and wine and  being an old bat

Let’s recap.

My name is Jane Clare.
That’s my name. The name’s not for changing.
On Twitter I’m  @claretsgirl.
I don’t want to lose that.  It’s my club. And I’d be mightily pissed off if I gave up the name and someone else became @claretsgirl.
Hands off!!
My blog
I’m leaving that untouched. A little time capsule of memories living out there somewhere.
One Foot in the Grapes
My wine stuff. The name of this here place. I like the name.

The reason I’m thinking about my identity crisis is this:  I’m learning by example from other bloggers and wine lovers in the ether as they’re not scared about putting themselves forward and blogging about their lives and their love of wine.

But I’ve gone a bit shy in my old age. I want to blog and I want to be brave enough to blog. So I’m dusting myself down. Giving myself a kick up the proverbial.  But who am I? Do I need to refine my online persona?   Can I have three identities?

I have to get my act together and start being me. But which “me” is the question.  My head’s in a tangle.

I’d put it to a vote but quite frankly I don’t trust votes at the moment. #Brexit


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German wine: Four picks to enjoy this summer

I don’t need a reason to try German wine, but I’m giving myself two reasons. The team from Wines of Germany (it promotes wines from Germany) has had a busy few weeks.

The winners in its annual Top 50 German wines competition have been announced and this month (July)  its  annual  31 Days of German riesling campaign  is underway. It encourages us all  to give German riesling a High Five.  And why not.

Here’s four German wine choices from me. 

German wine: Two from the Top 50

My choices both come from the Co-op and are under £6. How good is that.

The first,  Kleine Kapelle Pinot Grigio 2015 (12.5% abv, £5.79) was described by  judges as was “well made and excellent value”. It is indeed. For just over a fiver you get a wine  which fairly pops in the mouth with tropical fruit, but has clean lines, is upright, balanced and elegant.

Devil’s Rock Riesling 2015 (12.5% abv, £5.99) tangs with a bite of apple and flickers with a fleck of herb. Zesty grapefruit and lime say “hey we’re here too” which together makes for a perfect glass of zingy wine. I’d cooked Thai-style minced pork and this wine was ideal alongside (prawns or fish would be even better).

German wine: A couple of rieslings 

Peter & Ulrich Dry Riesling (12% abv, £11.99 or £9.99 if you buy six at Majestic) is a bone dry wine with aromas of  apple and peach; and then on the palate  flavours of  peach, apple and apricot giddy along to water your mouth, finishing off with a slight minerality.  Moreish.

Dr Loosen Extra Dry Riesling Sekt (12.5% abv, RRP £16.99 from various retailers including and It baffles me that people get panicky about prosecco shortages when there’s other lovely sparklies to be had. Elderflower aromas from this sparkling German wine fluttered from the glass, together with fresh green apples, herbs and hedgerows. So much in a nose! Then to taste, flavours of crisp apples played happily in a clean refreshing, satisfying fizz.
(This wine was also included in the Top 50 winning German wines.) 

Read more about the Top 50 German wines at  To find out if a restaurant or wine merchant near you is holding any 31 Days of Riesling events click on You can follow @WinesofGermany on Twitter.
First published in Raise a Glass, Trinity Mirror regionals July 2016

Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express


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