London's best wine courses
Stop bluffing when you open a bottle – these courses will give you some proper wine know-how
If you don't know your gamay from your gewurztraminer, book yourself on to one of these wine courses and learn to appreciate the art of viniculture.
BBR – with its 300-plus years of expertise as a wine importer – offers one-day classes as well as evening courses (four to six weeks), plus examination courses for wine geeks. All classes are held in the wine cellar of this venerable St James’s Street shop.
- 3 St James's Street, SW1A 1EG
Since 1997, the London Wine Academy has offered a range of courses taught by qualified tutors – including Masters of Wine, buyers and sommeliers. As well as one-day workshops focused on a particular grape or region, there are evening classes and events dedicated to food pairing, such as port and Stilton or Spanish food and wine.
- 60 Cannon Street, EC4N 6NP (0845 555 1100)
Michael Schuster is a real wine educator, with over 25 years of experience. He teaches courses (six sessions each) for both beginners and advanced wine buffs, based at the offices of fine wine merchants Bordeaux Index, with plenty of wines to be tasted at each session.
- 10 Hatton Garden, EC1N 8AH (020 7254 9734)
The independent wine supplier Roberson has a wine school in its Kensington shop. Its laid-back courses cater for beginners as well as the more knowledgeable, and there are workshops on individual regions.
- 348 Kensington High Street, W14 8NS
This independent wine school in Fulham offers a wide range of courses based on regions, countries and levels of knowledge. There are also tutored tastings of beer, sherry and whisky.
- The Wine Cellars at Big Yellow Storage, 71 Townmead Road, SW6 2ST (020 8144 2444)
The WES runs tutored tastings, relaxed workshops in various venues across London, and even organises occasional holidays. Courses are geared towards beginners or those with intermediate knowledge, and specialist classes delve in depth into high-quality wines of specific regions, such as Bordeaux or Burgundy.
- (020 8991 8212)
As its name suggests, there’s much to learn here about all things quaffable and edible. There are wine tours, classes (senior students can also train for the WSET, or Wine and Spirit Education Trust, qualifications) and five-week or half-day courses on wine and food appreciation.
- 93 Hazelbourne Rd, SW12 9NT (020 8675 6172)
The WSET is a worldwide organisation providing high-quality training and qualifications for professionals working in the wine and spirit and hospitality trades, but their introductory and advanced courses are popular with amateur enthusiasts too. Its informal 'Wine Enthusiast' events often focus on a particular region or style.
- International Wine & Spirit Centre, 39-45 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XF (020 7089 3800)
I found the list helpful and the comments and opinions below interesting. I'm going to book a course very soon. For the time being I'm booked to sample cheese and wine at a mini seminar hosted by Tim Atkins and I am attending a free tasting with Majestic Wines. As a beginer I'm looking at all avenues for knowledge and gain experience.
A nice list. But a little limited. I often use www.yourexperiencedays.co.uk to find new wine tasting experiences - they have a compare page where they search thousands of them - finding the best price and location.
Can anyone who doesn't actually work for one of these wine courses give some unbiased advice: the comments above read like promo pamplets
I did a WSET course a few years ago and was not impressed. There is too much theory (much of which is over-simplified and if you know something about wine already will leave you completely bored) and the wines tasted on my course were not great. Better to go for a wine course where you stand a good chance of tasting really good wine that will give you a proper appreciation and eschewing all the theory.
I am in full agreement with the comments above regarding the benefits of a qualification in wine. I would also like to highly recommend the tutor at the recently opened â€˜West London Wine Schoolâ€™ (www.westlondonwineschool.com) as another source for both the Intermediate and Advanced WSET qualifications. Jimmy Smith has been working within the wine industry for 9 years, and has been a WSET-qualified tutor and assessor for the past 3 years. Jimmy took me through my intermediate WSET last year, and his infectious passion and love of the subject made the course far exceed my expectations. The goals I had to reach were clearly set out at the beginning of the course, and then each one met with just the right mix of fun and focus. From this if you still want to learn more (and I guarantee you will) the wine school offers a range of evening and day tastings to suit everybody as mentioned by Timeout. Highly recommended, check it out!
Why spend a lot of money on a wine, or any,course unless you're getting something out of it and that something means a qualification. I did the WEST intermediate level a couple of years ago and it was brilliant. A great pace, well organised and down to earth and of course is the one for professionals.
All the courses listed are, in my opinion, excellent, but the article fails to mention the biggest global provider of education and qualifications in wine - WSET (the Wine & Spirit Education Trust), and it's London Wine & Spirit School in Bermondsey St, near London Bridge station, SE1. Courses range from a one-day Foundation Certificate in Wines (Â£140) up to the WSET Diploma, which is studied over 2 years. There is also a range of themed evening events, starting at Â£55 per person. WSET is not just for professionals working in the trade - around a quarter of our students are 'interested consumers' who want to learn about wine - you too can learn from the professionals: www.wsetglobal.com and click on London Wine & Spirit School
Your list would fail to be complete without the excellent Wine Education Service (8991 8212/www.wine-education-service.co.uk) who host classes to suit all levels of knowledge and experience across London (the city, Hampstead, Holborn and South Kensington). They also offer an extensive and eclectic programme of tutored wine tastings, 1-day wine workshops, the occasional wine holidays and even a whisky tasting course for those who are, shall we say, more spiritual?! Their tutors are professionally qualified, have extensive experience and travel widely to keep up to date. They help extend your knowledge of the wines of the world, sharpen up your taste buds and become more confident about buying, storing and serving wine and matching it with food.