Organising private wine tastings, spirit tastings, courses and related events events is a major part of the service we offer.
Over the last twenty years, we have organised a wide variety of such events – one to one wine courses, wine tastings to celebrate birthdays or anniversaries, hen and stag parties, Burns’ Night suppers, team building exercises, corporate events for 100 or more guests and so on…..
Our presenters are all are qualified to Wine & Spirit Education Trust Diploma level, have extensive lecturing experience, are members of The Association of Wine Educators and/or The Circle of Wine Writers and travel widely to keep up to date.
They make sure that the events they present:-
- Are light-hearted and informal,
- Present useful information in an entertaining way,
- Provide a structure that encourages people to interact,
- Stimulate the interest of those who feel they know quite a lot about wine as well as those who know very little
In our experience, an early meeting with the client at the proposed venue is key to the successful planning of an event.
Some of the more fundamental things that we will need to discuss with you, if you decide to progress to the next stage, are as follows:-
Duration of tasting
- How long would you like the tasting to last?
- If food (and possibly more wine) is to be served afterwards, we recommend that the wine-tasting part of the evening last for no more than an hour and a half.
Layout of Venue
- Do you want your guests to be seated for the wine tasting part of the evening or free to move around?
- If the emphasis is to be on learning about wine, then it is better for your guests to be seated. Seated events are also better if you want to encourage competition between ‘teams’, ‘departments’ etc.
- Events where people can move about freely may have more of a ‘party’ atmosphere, but do limit the kind of wine theme you can have. For example, it’s difficult for them to write anything. There is also a danger that the focus can be lost – people start conversations about other matters.
- Can we assume that your in-house caterers will be responsible for providing, setting out and clearing away chairs, tables, table cloths, wine glasses, mineral water, water biscuits and receptacles into which guests can pour unwanted wine?
- Do you want guests to help themselves to the wines or for tasting samples to be poured for them?
We would recommend the latter as it gives more control, not only over the quantity of wine used but also the flow of the event. If tasting samples are to be poured for guests, can your in-house caterers provide appropriate wait staff?
Some Possible Private Wine Tasting Themes
When there is a wide variation of wine knowledge among the audience, we always start by teaching people how to taste properly i.e. the way the professionals do. This only takes about 10 minutes, and is good fun.
Themes for Non-Seated Tastings
We say something about some of the more important grape varieties used to make wine. Set out around the room are 6 serving tables – each dedicated to a particular grape variety. At one, for example, tasting samples of a typical Chardonnay are served and laid out on the table for guests to smell and taste are those things which Chardonnay is said to smell and taste of – butter, apple, oak, lemon, etc. The Cabernet Sauvignon table might have blackcurrants, green pepper and tobacco. And so on…
“Spot the Champagne”
We say something about the different styles of Champagne and sparkling wine (emphasising that what matters is what you enjoy drinking). Bottles of 6 different sparkling wines, are set out on serving tables, wrapped in foil to hide their identity. We tell guests that 3 of the wines are Champagnes (a vintage wine, a non-vintage wine and a supermarket own brand) and the rest are sparkling wines, made in the same way as Champagne, but from California, Australia etc. They have to guess which is which. We make sure, when we bring it together at the end, that no-one feels silly if they didn’t spot the Champagnes. A light-hearted competition with prizes can be provided, if thought appropriate
“Old World v New”
We explain, in very general terms, the differences between wines from Europe and from the New World. A selection of 6, foil-wrapped wines are set out on serving tables in numbered pairs. Guests have to decide which one of each pair is from Europe and which from the New World. Again, a light-hearted competition with prizes can be provided.
Themes For Seated Events
“Call my Bluff”
A series of 6 wines will be presented for tasting. Again, all bottles will be wrapped in silver foil to conceal their identity. Guests will be encouraged to smell and taste each wine and make a few notes. Two presenters will then give their descriptions of each wine in a convincing and amusing way and the audience has to decide which one is telling the truth.
A series of 6 wines will be presented for tasting. Again, all bottles will be wrapped in silver foil to conceal their identity. Guests will be encouraged to smell and taste each wine and make a few notes. The presenters then invite guests to progressively determine the identity of each wine with the ‘help’ of a series of questions and answers e.g.:-
Q1 Is this wine from Europe or the New World?
Q2 Is this European wine from Spain, Italy or France?
Q3 Is this French wine Chablis, Vouvray or a Chardonnay from the Pays d’Oc?
By getting guests to record their guesses, a competitive element can be injected, if thought appropriate.
“Le Tour de France”
A lightning tour of the great wine producing regions of France illustrated by tasting samples of 6 to 8 classic wines.
“La Dolce Vita”
Italian equivalent of the above.
Spanish equivalent of the above.
“California Here We Come”
Californian equivalent of the above
And so on…………..
If you would like to know more, please contact us by email – firstname.lastname@example.org – or phone – 020 8991 8212