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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Club Zetter isn’t your usual venue. An attempt to replace fêted noughties restaurant Bistrot Bruno Loubet with something that’s a members-only ‘co-working space’ by day and a smart, design-conscious bar by night, it’s fun enough that you can overlook your party of two doubling the number of patrons (and supplying the only guests not drinking while hunched over a MacBook). The decor’s all maximal, ’60s kitsch – nary a seat not clad in velvet, cutesy electro-swing bubbling from the speakers, orangey mood lighting – like a hotel lobby done up as Austin Powers’ shag pad. The booze is good: small range of craft beers on tap, extensive wine list (including a number on tap). There’s a menu of small plates: think fat pink-black king prawns swimming in a chickpea-studded lake of oily jus, big squishy portion of pulled pork and anisey-red cabbage slaw in a brioche bun. And an unbelievably delicious baked camembert that’s so ripe it’s almost decomposing (in a good way). All in all: a cute, upmarket bar. Or it would be, if it weren’t so dead that you could hear a pin drop. Only one solution, then: go with loads of friends.
Venue says: “Groups of up to 12 can dine at our kitchen table and enjoy three tasty courses for £28.”