London wine tasting tours, courses and classes
The more mature palate will certainly appreciate a trip to this family-run wine merchant with its ancient cellars and full-bodied bottles. Yes, a tasting here might cost you the equivalent of a weekend in France – but the wine is more than worth it.
If you love wine, and you’ve got a significant other with a head for heights, book a table for two at Skylon. Enjoy five tastings and you won‘t go hungry as there will be posh snacks to nibble on.
This vineyard and winemakers is a little trip out of town (it's in Dorking, Surrey) but it's easily reached from London and well worth the trek. There's a range of wine tasting, tours and classes on offer, all showcasing the estate's many drops. Plus some offer a train ride through the vineyards, which sounds like a very nice way to spend an afternoon.
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.
All you have to do is find a cute nook to cosy up in and drink in all that delicious grape juice. With more than 400 wines to choose from, the tough bit is deciding where to start.
Since 1993, 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 two families behind Bedales know a thing or two about wine. Wine retailing runs in the bloodstreams of the two families that own Bedales. While Bedales will admit to favouring Italian and French wines, it stocks and has tastings of wines from around the world, including those harder-to-find wines that you might not be able to source yourself.
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.
By the end of this wine tasting, you’ll be name-dropping grape varietals like it’s nobody’s business. On the menu: six wines from around the world, plus some light snacks to clear the palette (and to make sure you don’t get sloshed on all that delicious vino).
This tour is great because you get to soak up some history alongside the booze – though we can’t promise you’ll remember it. At London’s oldest wine cave, there’s the option to graze on cheese, bread and pickles washed down with wine or port – in flickering candlelight (because everything tastes better by candlelight, right?).
Lots of winemakers are going au naturel, and this atmospheric independent wine bar is the perfect place to find out why. Join owner John Baum to taste his handpicked selection of intriguing organic and biodynamic wines, all set in a romantic candlelit cavern underneath the Holborn Viaduct.
Keep putting off learning a new skill? It’s never too late to start, and we don’t know why it‘s taken you so long when there’s booze involved. This course manages to get the balance right between consuming information and consuming wine. So, now you can say a glass of vino has got great legs with conviction.
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.
Image ©Joel Knight
The St Swithin’s Lane wine shop really comes into its own during the sunnier months when guests can lounge on the all-weathers tasting terrace while slowly getting more merry.
The strap line is ‘try before you buy’, which is one we can definitely get behind. Taste your way around the world through seven types of wine, or splash out on the shop’s home-grown champagne.
Treat your taste buds to a gastronomic feast, which will show you how to match the best food with the best booze. Upcoming workshops include an introduction to wine and cheese and wine pairings.
Get your wine fix in this aptly named wine store. Hedonism really does offer a high-end wine tasting experience. The wine tastings often sell out so you’ve got to be quick if you want to be sipping some seriously good wine come 7pm.
This wine tasting comes with everything you could ever want to pair with wine: cheese, fruit or chocolate. And it’s only £50, which is pretty decent, considering some of the wines you’ll be trying are organic, which rarely comes cheap.