Let’s be honest: the world of wine can seem pretty damn confusing from a layperson’s perspective. When confronted with all those endless bottles in the supermarket or at London's best bars, it can be tricky to even know where to start. And even harder, can be poring over the wine list in a posh restaurant and convincing the sommelier – or your date – that you have any clue what you’re talking about.
So, if you really want to tell your merlots from your malbecs and your rieslings from your riojas, then we suggest taking a look through our list of London wine tasting classes and tours. There’s a diverse mix here, but we guarantee in no time at all you’ll be dazzling your dinner party guests with your wine chat in no time. Vino you want to. Bottoms up!
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. Cheers.
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.
Venue says Denbies Vineyard Hotel – with 17 en-suite bedrooms in the heart of the vineyard – opening July. Visit our website for more info.
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. There are plenty of wines to be tasted at each session, too, so we think you’ll be more than grape-ful.
At this Fleet Street spot, 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. Oh and make sure you take in the decor while you’re there, too, because this watering hole is based in some double-vaulted crypts designed by Sir Christopher Wren.
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 wine and cheese tastings and a Spanish wine and tapas masterclass.
Wine retailing runs in the bloodstreams of the two families that own Bedales, and while the bar 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. Plus, this course is WSET (wine and spirit education trust) level one accredited, which means you’ll leave with an official qualification and a pin to prove it.
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.
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 £79, which is pretty decent, considering some of the wines don’t come cheap. Vino you’ll like it.
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 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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