• Taste 30 Wines in a relaxed and sociable atmosphere
  • Enjoy 10 hours of tuition and in depth course material
  • Meet friendly people also keen to develop their wine interest further

If you already know a bit about how grapes are grown and wine is made and are keen to learn more, these courses should be just right for you! They will help you to acquire an in-depth knowledge of some of the main wine producing regions of the world, develop your skills as a wine taster and become fully confident about buying, storing and serving wine and matching wine with food.

There are eight courses, each consisting of 5 two-hour sessions. 6 wines will be provided to illustrate the main points of each session. These will be of a higher average quality than those provided on our introductory courses.


The eight Intermediate Wine Courses:

1. Classic Grape Varieties

wine tasting skills

Ripe Pinot Noir Grapes

This is your chance to become an expert wine taster!
The course consists of five two-hour sessions.  At each session,  you will taste 3 white and 3 red wines ‘blind’.
Each trio of wines will be made from the same grape variety and sourced from some of the best producers in the world:-
  • Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
  • Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Riesling and Merlot
  • Viognier and Syrah/Shiraz
  • Pinot Gris and Tempranillo

A comprehensive course manual is provided.

2. The Classic Wines Of Northern France

wine tasting burgundy

The Hospice De Beaune

Although France struggles to compete with low-cost New World producers for places on the crowded shelves of the supermarkets of Northern Europe, the experts all agree that it continues to make some of the finest wines in the world, setting standards that wine-makers elsewhere strive to emulate.

This course is designed to help you gain an appreciation of classic wines from Northern France.  It consists of five two-hour sessions:-

 

  • Loire Valley
    We explore the many different styles of wine produced along the Loire Valley, looking particularly at those which show how the best qualities of Chenin, Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc are expressed in this very cool region.
  • Alsace
    We look at the way in which Alsace’s location, climate, terrain and food combine to produce varietal white wines of such definition and character.
  • Red Burgundy
    The most ‘difficult’ of the noble red grapes, Pinot Noir, can perform better here than anywhere else in the world. We examine the quality factors.
  • White Burgundy
    What is it about this region that enables it to produce some of the greatest white wines in the world? Why is the quality so variable? What makes the Grands crus and the Premiers crus so special?
  • Champagne & Other French Sparkling Wines
    Is Champagne’s pre-eminence deserved? Similar grapes and production methods are employed in other parts of France. We examine why it is that, although there is plenty of very ordinary Champagne, no other region seems able to produce anything as good as the best.

A comprehensive course manual is provided.

 

3. The Classic Wines Of Southern France

wine tasting bordeaux

Château Pichon Longueville, Pauillac

Although France struggles to compete with low-cost New World producers for places on the crowded shelves of the supermarkets of Northern Europe, the experts agree that it continues to make some of the finest wines in the world, setting standards that wine-makers elsewhere strive to emulate

This course is designed to help you gain an appreciation of classic wines from southern France.  It consists of five two-hour sessions:-

  • Northern Rhône Valley
    The Viognier grape has its finest expression here in the wines of Condrieu; elsewhere blends of Marsanne and Roussanne make fine whites to go with food. However, it is for its red wines, made exclusively from Syrah, that the region is best known. In the right hands, the vineyards of Hermitage and the Côte Rotie can produce wines of world class.
  • Southern Rhône Valley
    In this Mediterranean region, the warm and spicy Grenache realises its full potential in the wines of Châteauuneuf-du-Pape. But we take a look also at the lesser-known villages such as Gigondas and Vacqueras and at the vin doux naturel of Beaumes de Venise.
  • The South-West, Languedoc-Roussillon & Provence
    It has become increasingly important in recent years not to ignore the vast amount of wine produced outside of the classic regions. Languedoc-Roussillion, the Sud-Ouest, Provence, the Jura and Savoie make some very fine wine indeed, and standards have risen beyond recognition. We look at both the ‘new-wave’ wines and those which respect the traditional styles and grape varieties of their regions.
  • White Bordeaux
    The under-rated dry white wines of Bordeaux have made great strides in recent years, and there are some very good Graves to be tasted. Likewise the sweet wines of the satellite villages of Sauternes.
  • Red Bordeaux
    With their ability to produce some of the finest reds in the world. the Médoc, Saint Emilion and Pomerol remain eternally fascinating to winelovers. Climate and geography dictate two different styles, one based on Cabernet Sauvignon and one on Merlot. Subtleties of terroir and vintage then determine variations in style and quality.

A comprehensive course manual is provided.

4. The Wines of Italy

 

wine tasting tuscany

San Gimignano In Tuscany

 The Ancient Greeks called the peninsula Oenotria, ‘the land of wine’, and 3,000 years on, vineyards still dominate the landscape of modern Italy from the foothills of the Alps in the north to the island of Sicily in the south. But things are changing and changing fast.European Community development grants have been used to re-plant vineyards, build new wineries and hire wine-makers from the Southern Hemisphere to introduce modern wine-making methods. Some international grape varieties have been introduced but research into the potential of indigenous varieties, of which there are estimated to be over 2,000, is paying dividends and increasing the diversity of the wine range for which Italy is well known.
This course is designed to help you gain an appreciation of the richness and diversity of the wines produced in Italy today. It consists of five two-hour sessions:-
  • The North West
    Home of Barolo which is made from the Nebbiolo grape; its best examples are among the world’s great wines. There are other important reds in the region, Barbaresco, Dolcetto and Barbera, all of which have benefited from recent improvements in wine making techniques, and there are also a number of indigenous varieties which have been rescued from oblivion. Sweet sparkling and semi-sparkling wines from the Moscato grape are a regional speciality.
  • The North East
    The Veneto, Friuli and Alto Adige produce a huge range of wine styles. The sometimes under-rated Valpolicella and Soave regions in the Veneto surprise many with the quality of their better wines and their reciotto styles are a revelation. The wines of the Friuli and the Alto Adige are not often seen in the U.K., which is a great pity because they are unusual (particularly those of the Friuli) and full of character.
  • Tuscany
    Thought by many to be Italy’s finest region. Its great wines (from Sangiovese) are a perfect expression of terroir and grape variety . The addition of international varieties such as Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah has led to the creation of a number of luxury cuvées labeled as Vino da Tavola or I.G.T., but known collectively as ‘Super Tuscans’.
  • The Centre
    There were always some good wines in these regions, but they were hard to find, and the general standard was fairly low. There is now a huge increase of interest in the better wines, stimulated by the advent of the ‘flying winemakers’ who have so markedly improved quality at the lower end of the scale.
  • The South & Islands
    There were always some good wines in these regions, but they were hard to find, and the general standard was fairly low. There is now a huge increase of interest in the better wines, stimulated by the advent of the ‘flying winemakers’ who have so markedly improved quality at the lower end of the scale.

A comprehensive course manual is provided.

5. The Wines Of Spain

wine tasting rioja

Ysios Winery In Rioja

Wine making in Spain has undergone more change in the last 25 years than in the whole of its 3,000 year history. With the help of grants from Brussels, vineyards have been re-planted and new wineries constructed in some of the country’s remotest corners. There has also been much experimentation and innovation. As elsewhere in Europe, lessons have been learnt from the New World but inherent respect for the traditions of the past and a strong sense of regional identity have ensured that this has been a very Spanish revolution.
This course is designed to help you gain an appreciation of the wines of the ‘New Spain’. It consists of five two-hour sessions:-
  • The North West + Spanish Sparkling Wine
    In this session, we start by giving you an overview of Spain’s wine producing regions. We then look at the distinctive wines of the cool north-west or “Green Spain”, such as Bierzo, Chacoli, Rias Baixas and Somontano. In this session, you will also learn how Cava, the famous sparkling wine of Spain is produced.
  • The North East
    Cataluna was the first of Spain’s wine producing regions to introduce modern methods of viticulture and vinification. You will taste wines from Alella, Costers del Segre, Monsant, Penedes, Priorat and Tarragona.
  • Rioja & Navara
    Rioja is the pre-eminent wine region of Spain. We look the reasons for this, tasting examples of old and new style wines from top producers. You will also taste wines from Rioja’s eastern neighbour, Navarra.
  • The Centre
    Some of Spain’s most fashinable wines are produced in hard continental climate of the centre of the country. You will taste examples from Ribera del Duero, Rueda and Toro.
  • The South
    In this session you will taste wines from the inland regions of La Mancha, Valdepenas and the coastal regions around Valencia. You will also learn how the fortified wines of Jerez, Montilla and Malaga are made.

A comprehensive course manual is  provided.

6. The Wines Of Australia & New Zealand

 

wine tasting australia

The Great Red Soil Of Coonawarra

The Yarra ValleyWine has been made in Australia since the arrival of the first settlers from Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. But, until the middle of the 20th Century, most of the wine made on a commercial scale was fortified and exported to Britain as “Port” or “Sherry”. Large scale production of table wine only began in the 1960’s.  In the case of New Zealand, large scale production of table wine only began in the 1980’s. Although the youngest of the southern hemisphere wine producers, both countries have risen rapidly to prominence in world markets, exerting influence far greater than their size.
This course is designed to help you gain an appreciation of the rich diversity of styles of wine produced in Australia and New Zealand today.  It consists of five two-hour sessions:-
  • Australia – South Australia
    Australia is not a big wine producer, – it makes only 2% of the world’s total, yet it has had an enormous influence on the world of wine. We examine some of the reasons for this.
  • Australia – Victoria & New South Wales
    These states produce a wide diversity of wine styles. We compare and contrast the wines of the cooler climate Yarra Valley, Mornington Penninsula, Geelong and Central Victorian High Country with those of Rutherglen and the Hunter Valley.
  • Australia – Tasmania & Western Australia
    These are cool regions, by Australian standards, and this is evident in the styles of wine that they can produce.
  • New Zealand – The North Island
    For a relatively small country, New Zealand produces an astonishing arrange of wine styles. This is due to the country’s elongated shape which, if transposed to European latitudes, would stretch from the Rhine Valley to Southern Spain.
  • New Zealand – The South Island
    Here the climate is cooler and Sauvignon Blanc is the star. However, it is important to taste the other varieties too.

A comprehensive course manual is provided.

7. The Wines Of South Africa & The Americas

 

wine tasting south africa

Winery In Stellenbosch

The Spanish Conquistadores, reluctant to go without wine, introduced European grape varieties to Mexico as early as 1530 and then to Argentina a few years later. Dutch traders planted the first vineyard in South Africa in 1653 .  So, although we label these countries as “New World”, there is nothing new about their wine industries.

This course is designed to help you gain an appreciation of the wines of South Africa and the Americas.  It consists of five two-hour sessions:-

  • South Africa
    The past decade has seen South Africa emerge from vineous isolation and take its place alongside the other New World produces. The Cape has a climate that is good for many other varieties apart from Chenin and Pinotage, and we take a look at some of them.
  • North America – California
    California was the first serious challenger to European wine domination. Its producers are driven by a keen home market and classic varieties are important. Merlot, indeed. has been elevated to cult status. However, the region’s own Zinfandel grape is in the vanguard of competition to the classics and keeps the creative (grape) juices flowing.
  • North America – Oregon, Washington State & Canada
    As the wines of these regions show, all that is best in the west doesn’t necessarily come from the ‘Sunshine State’. Oregon is particularly notes for its fine Pinot Noirs which do well in this relatively cool climate.
  • South America – Argentina
    Argentina is the 5th biggest wine producer in the world. This fact always comes as a shock to British wine lovers, because Argentina does not have as high a profile in the U.K. as, say Chile or Australia or New Zealand. In the past, the emphasis was on quantity rather than quality, but the lure of lucrative foreign markets has recently led to greatly improved standards.
  • South America – Chile
    ften referred to as a ‘viticultural paradise’, Chile has made the most of its natural assets and established itself as the most forward-looking of the South American wine producers.

A comprehensive course manual is provided.

8. The Wines Of Central & Northern Europe

 

wine tasting hungary

The Devil’s Gorge In Hungary

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the wines of Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire were as highly prized as those of France.  This reputation was lost in the devastation of two world wars and the years of social and political upheaval that followed.   Today the fight to re-establish a standing in world markets is back on. The Germans have laid the ghost of Liebfraumilch. The Austrians have shrugged off the stigma of the 1970 antifreeze scandal.   The vignerons of Hungary and other old ‘Eastern Bloc’ countries are taking vineyard land back into private ownership.

This course is designed to help you gain an appreciation of the potential of the counties of central and eastern Europe.  It consists of five two-hour sessions:-

The Session topics will be:

  • Austria
    The last 20 years has seen the enhancement of Austria’s wine reputation following the wine scandals of 1985. We will look at the growth of varietal wines, especially whites, with particular reference to ‘Gruner Veltliner’ together with exciting reds like ‘Zweigelt’ and ‘Blaufrankisch’.
  • Switzerland
    A country where consumption far outweighs local production and indigenous varietals offer different flavours and aromatics in both white and red wines. We will look at unusual swiss grapes as well as international varietals.
  • Hungary
    At the beginning of the twetieth century, the wines of Hungary were as highly regarded as any in Europe. Two world wars and fifty years of Communist rule later, the Hungarian wine industry is making up for lost time. The distinctive sweet wines of Tokaji were the first to re-gain international acclaim but now it’s the gently aromatic whites from around Lake Balaton and elegant reds from the warm southern region of Villany that are beginning to compete for medals in the most prestigious of the wine competitions.
  • Northern Germany
    The wines of the Ahr, Mosel, Rheingau, Nahe, Pfalz and Rheinhessen between them offer a range of fresh crisp dry whites, delicate sweet whites and some red wines. Complicated wine labelling and wine laws will be explained during this session!
  • Southern Germany
    The dry white wines of Franken, and the dry red and white wines of Wurttemberg and Baden are surprisingly good. We shall taste a range of well known varietals with interesting aromatics and flavours, attributable to the local ‘terroir’of the different regions.

A comprehensive course manual is provided.


Frequently Asked Questions:

 • Is previous knowledge or experience required?
A basic knowledge of the different styles of wine and methods of production acquired by attending one of our introductory courses or by reading and experience would be helpful.
• What should I expect from those courses?
By the end of each course, you should have a thorough understanding of how the different styles of wine are produced in the regions covered. You will have developed your skills as a wine taster significantly and be able to assess the relative quality of wines tasted as well as spot common faults.
• What if I have to miss a course session?
No problem! You may either send a substitute or pick up the session missed on a subsequent course. Just let us know and we will make the arrangements. We make no charge for this and set no time limit.
• Do I need to bring anything to course session?
You need to bring 6 wine glasses to each session. If you really want to sharpen up your taste buds, a set of the International Standards Organisation (ISO) glasses used by the professionals is recommended (the tutor will have boxed sets on sale at the first course session – Price £15).
• Who are the principal Course Tutors?
Senior members of the Wine Education Service team.  All are professionally qualified, have extensive lecturing experience and travel widely to keep up to date.  Most are members of The Association of Wine Educators and/or The Circle of Wine Writers.

Forthcoming Intermediate Wine Tasting Courses