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.
By Euan Ferguson
Berry Bros & Rudd3 St James’s Street, SW1A 1EG (0800 280 2440)
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.
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London Wine Academy60 Cannon Street, EC4N 6NP (0845 555 1100)
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.
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Michael Schuster10 Hatton Garden, EC1N 8AH (020 7254 9734)
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.
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Roberson Wine348 Kensington High Street, W14 8NS (020 7371 2121)
The independent wine supplier Roberson has just launched 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.
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Tim Atkin Wine School at Vinoteca15 Seymour Place, W1H 5BD (020 7724 7288)
As Master of Wine and ex-wine critic for The Observer and The Times, Tim Atkin certainly knows his vino. Anyone interested in learning more should take advantage of his knowledge – and sense of fun – by enrolling in his Introduction to Wine course, a six-week, six-session course held in Vinoteca’s private room in Marylebone. There is also an advanced course for more seasoned sippers. The cost includes all wine, food and tasting packs with notes and descriptions.
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West London Wine SchoolThe Wine Cellars at Big Yellow Storage, 71 Townmead Road, SW6 2ST (020 8144 2444)
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.
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Wine Education Service(020 8991 8212)
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.
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Wine & Food Academy93 Hazelbourne Rd, SW12 9NT (020 8675 6172)
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.
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Wine & Spirit Education TrustInternational Wine & Spirit Centre, 39-45 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XF (020 7089 3800)
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.
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