Taste Great Wines & Spirits From Around The World

Our tasting evenings are designed to appeal to people who appreciate fine wine and/or spirits.

They are relaxed and informal in style. The tutor will give some background information and then simply introduce each wine or spirit and encourage discussion. A tasting sheet and, where appropriate, maps will be provided but not detailed notes.

Unless otherwise indicated, tasting samples of 8 wines or 6 spirits will be tasted. There will be mineral water and water biscuits to refresh your palate between samples.

What else do I need?

You will 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 of 6 crystal ISO tasting glasses for sale at £15).

Who are the principal course tutors?

The tastings will normally be introduced by Vivienne Franks, Pippa Hayward or Sandy Leckie. All have extensive lecturing experience, are members of The Association of Wine Educators and/or Circle of Wine Writers and travel widely to keep up-to-date.

Book Places

Here are details of the tastings we are organising in London over the next few months.  To book places at any of these, select the number you want from the little drop-down menu on the left, enter your personal details in the form at the foot of the page and click the submit button. A member of the Wine Education Service team will then send you confirmation and information about payment methods by email.

  • Oct 2020

    £5.00Italy – The Veneto – Webinar – £5 • Thursday, 1st October, 19:00-20:15 in London

    There are two parts to the Veneto wine region in north eastern Italy, an eastern and a western part.  The eastern part, which is close to the Venice lagoon, between the hills of Treviso, the plain of the Piave river and the Adriatic coast, is where Prosecco comes from.  It also produces table wines from Merlot and Pinot Grigio as well as a range of traditional local varieties. The western part, close to Lake Garda and the town of Verona, is where the attractive, light white and red wines of Bardolino come from and more notably, Soave and Valpolicella in all its styles – Normale, Ripasso, Amarone and Recioto. In this webinar, we will explore the vineyards of the region and discuss the matching of its wines with food.

    Tutor:  Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    Availability:  Good

    Wine Suggestions:  From Majestic Wines (prices at the ‘mix six’ rate) Inama Soave Classico and/or La Cosetta Valpolocella Superiore Ripasso (£13.99 and £12.99 respectively).

    £5.00California – Webinar – £5 • Tuesday, 6th October, 19:00-20:15 in London

    At his webinar, we will take you on a virtual tour of the vineyards of California, the ‘Golden State’, which produces 90% of the USA’s wine.

    Tutor: Vivienne Franks with Malcolm Franks.

    Availability:  Good

    Wine Suggestions:  From Waitrose – Bonterra Organic Chardonnay (£12.99) and/or Brazin Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel (£14.99)

    £5.00The Wines of the Douro Valley – Webinar – £5 • Thursday, 15th October, 19:00-20:15 in London

    The terraced vineyards that line the steep sides of the Douro valley grow the grapes used to produce Port in all its styles.  With the popularity of fortifiied wines in decline, an increasing proportion of the grapes are being used to produce table wines, some of which are among Portugal’s finest.  In this webinar, we will take you along valley’s length, visiting some of the producers of both Port and the new table wines.  We will also show you some of the sights of the wonderful town of Porto.

    Tutor: Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    Availability:  Good.

    Wine suggestions: From Waitrose – Symington’s No 1 Reserve Tawny Port (£13.99) and/or Quinta De La Rosa Reserva (£11.49).

    £5.00Old-Fashioned Beaujolais – Webinar – £5 • Tuesday, 20th October, 19:00-20:15 in London

    Once upon a time, the arrival of New Beaujolais in the third week of November was awaited with much excitement, marking, as it did, the start of the festive season.  Nowadays, it passes almost without notice and the vigneron(ne)s of the region have had to find ways of replacing the income lost.  Luckily, there are still some who remember the days when Beaujolais used to be made and aged like the red Burgundies of further North and are starting to demonstrate just how good old-fasioned Beaujolais can be.  In this webinar, we will look at the regeneration of this historic area and talk about some of the key people involved.  We will also have look at the gastronomic delights for which it is famous.

    Tutor – Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    Availability:  Good

    Wine Suggestions:  From the Wine Society – Dominique Piron, Morgon, Côte du Py (£15.50) and/or Joseph Burrier, Saint-Amour, Côte de Besset (£18.00).  From Lea & Sandeman – Domaine Rochette,  Morgon, Côte dy Py (£16.95) and/or Chevalier-Métrat, Brouilly, Les Mines (£16.95).

    £5.00Fine Swiss Wines – Webinar – £5 • Thursday, 29th October, 19:00-20:15 in London

    At number 24 in the world league, Switzerland produces more than twice as much wine as New Zealand, but exports little.  What it does export, however, is of high quality.  At this webinar, we will talk about the different wine producing regions of the country and the grape varieties grown, including Chasselas, aka Fendant, (the most widely planted variety), regional specialities, such as Amigne, Cornalin, Humagne, Petite Arvine, and well as international varieties, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot.

    Tutor: Vivienne Franks with Malcolm Franks.

    Availability:  Good.

    Wine Suggestions:  Swiss wines are difficult to find in the UK and so, we have arranged for the specialist importer, Alpine Wines Limited (https://www.alpinewines.co.uk) to supply packs containing a Grand Cru Chasselas, a delicate Pinot Noir and a mature Cornalin for £66-00 includng delivery.  If you would like to buy a pack, please let us know and we will put you in touch with Alpine Wines.  Orders need to be placed by 5 pm on Friday 23rd October to ensure delivery in good time.

    Nov 2020

    £10.00Sherry – Webinar – £10 • Tuesday, 3rd November, 19:00-20:30 in London

    It’s ‘Sherry Week’ in the UK and to play our part, we are running this webinar.  Aficionada, Pippa Hayward will explain how the different syles of Sherry – Manzanilla, Fino, Amontilado, Oloroso, Palo Cortado, Pedro Ximenez –  are made and talk about some of the great tapas that are traditionally served alongside them.

    Tutor: Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    Availability:  Good

    Wine and food suggestions:  To follow.

    £10.00New Zealand's Finest – Webinar – £10 • Thursday, 12th November, 19:00-20:30 in London

    The wines of New Zealand just get better and better. For purity of fruit and varietal expression they are hard to match. In this webinar, we will take you on a virtual tour of the vineyards of the North and South Islands, talk about the regional differences in style and introduce you to some of the top winemakers.

    Tutor: Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    Availability: Good.

    Wine suggestions:  To follow.

    £10.00Bulgarian Wine – Webinar – £10 • Tuesday, 17th November, 19:00-20:30 in London

    Wine has been made in Bulgaria for 5.000 years or more but until the beginning of the 20th century, most of it was drunk locally.   Things started to change when a number of Cooperatives were established along the lines of those in the south of France and many of the wine-makers were sent to France to be trained.  This led to a gradual increase in the volume and quality of wine produced and a thriving export business developed.  After the second world war, the wine industry was nationalised and Bulgaria became the Conecom country responsible for wine production.    Small, privately owned vineyards were taken into state ownnership.  Local grape varieties were replaced by international ones, notably Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Funds to upgrade the wineries were nade available.  Much of the wine produced found its way to Russia and the other Conecom countries but the ripe, fruit-driven styles also found ready markets in the west, notably in Britain.

    After the fall of communism in 1989, the Bulgarian wine industry was suddenly liberalised.  This led to a period of disarray as attempts were made to return vineyard land to its original owners.  Re-establishing privately owned wine businesses was hindered by a shortage of funds.  It was only when Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007 that grant aid became available.  Today, the renaissance of the industry is well established.  Wine of good quality is being produced by over 200 wineries, large and small, and the potential for great wine is already evident.

    In this webinar, Malcolm and Vivienne, who have already escorted three tours to Bulgaria for our sister wine tour company, Good Wine Tours Limited, will take you on a voyage of discovery around Bulgaria’s wine regions and introduce you to some of its indigenous grape varieties and star producers.

    Presenter:  Vivienne Franks with Malcolm Franks.

    Availability:  Good

    Wine Suggestions:  Bulgarian wines, once readily available in the UK, are much more difficult to find these days.   For this reason, we have arranged for the specialist importer, The Old Cellar ( https://www.theoldcellar.com/) to make packs containing four great Bulgarian wines available for you to buy in advance of the webinar.  The first wine we have selected is a crisp, dry Riesling with a natural sparkle.  The remaining three are made from indigenous grape varieties – an exotic floral white from Misket, a delicate rosé from Melnik and a vibrant, fruity red from Mavrud.  The price of the pack of four wines, includng delivery, is £53.20.  If you would like to buy a pack, please let us know and we will put you in touch with The Old Cellar.  Orders need to be placed by 5 pm on Wednesday, 11th November to ensure delivery in good time.

    £10.00Piemonte – Webinar – £10 • Thursday, 26th November, 19:00-20:30 in London

    There are more DOCG’s in Piemonte than any other region of Italy.  In this webinar we will explore this fascinating region with you, looking, in particular at the great vineyards of Barolo, Barbaresco and Dolcetto.

    Tutor: Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    Availability:  Good

    Wine Suggestions:  To follow’

    Dec 2020

    £10.00It's All Happening In Alsace – Webinar – £10 • Tuesday, 1st December, 19:00-20:30 in London

    It’s all happening in Alsace. A new generation of young, passionate and talented vignerons and vigneronnes is challenging tradition and pushing boundaries. Bland, off-dry whites are being replaced by pure, crisp, fruit and terroir-expressive wines and simple, deep-rosés by reds of almost Burgundian style and quality.

    £10.00Burgundy WithoutTears – Webinar – £10 • Thursday, 10th December, 19:00-20:30 in London

    If you love the white and red wines of Burgundy as much as we do, you will know that the prices you have to pay for decent bottles of the stuff can bring tears to your eyes.  In this webinar, we will help you understand how the top domaines of the Côte d’Or – the golden slope that runs south from Dijon to Beaune and Beaune to Santenay – can command such high prices and still sell every bottle they make.  We will also tell you how to find the occasional gem from an up-and-coming vigneron(nne) or a less fashionable appellation.

    Presenter:  Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    Availability:  Good.

    Wine suggestions:  To follow.

    £10.00Traditional Rioja – Webinar – £10 • Tuesday, 15th December, 19:00-20:30 in London

    Earlier this year, you may have heard Pippa Hayward, one of our senior tutors and an accredited Rioja wine educator, talk about a new generation of wine makers who are choosing to break away from the strict rules of the Rioja appellation and make wines with a greater emphasis on terroir and less on time in oak.  In this webinar Pippa will redress the balance by talking about the appeal of Rioja made in compliance with the rules and the wonderful aromas of ripe, red berry fruit and smokey oak, soft tannins and flavours that seem to work so well with the extaordinary variety of tastes and textures to be found in a traditional, British, festive meal.

    Tutor: Pippa Hayward (Accredited Rioja Wine Educator) with Sandy Leckie.

    Availability:  Good.

    Wine suggestions: To follow.














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Oct 2020

  • Italy – The Veneto – Webinar – £5 in London

    Thursday, 1st October

    £5.00

    There are two parts to the Veneto wine region in north eastern Italy, an eastern and a western part.  The eastern part, which is close to the Venice lagoon, between the hills of Treviso, the plain of the Piave river and the Adriatic coast, is where Prosecco comes from.  It also produces table wines from Merlot and Pinot Grigio as well as a range of traditional local varieties. The western part, close to Lake Garda and the town of Verona, is where the attractive, light white and red wines of Bardolino come from and more notably, Soave and Valpolicella in all its styles – Normale, Ripasso, Amarone and Recioto. In this webinar, we will explore the vineyards of the region and discuss the matching of its wines with food.

    Tutor:  Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    Availability:  Good

    Wine Suggestions:  From Majestic Wines (prices at the ‘mix six’ rate) Inama Soave Classico and/or La Cosetta Valpolocella Superiore Ripasso (£13.99 and £12.99 respectively).

    Full details and booking >

  • California – Webinar – £5 in London

    Tuesday, 6th October

    £5.00

    At his webinar, we will take you on a virtual tour of the vineyards of California, the ‘Golden State’, which produces 90% of the USA’s wine.

    Tutor: Vivienne Franks with Malcolm Franks.

    Availability:  Good

    Wine Suggestions:  From Waitrose – Bonterra Organic Chardonnay (£12.99) and/or Brazin Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel (£14.99)

    Full details and booking >

  • The Wines of the Douro Valley – Webinar – £5 in London

    Thursday, 15th October

    £5.00

    The terraced vineyards that line the steep sides of the Douro valley grow the grapes used to produce Port in all its styles.  With the popularity of fortifiied wines in decline, an increasing proportion of the grapes are being used to produce table wines, some of which are among Portugal’s finest.  In this webinar, we will take you along valley’s length, visiting some of the producers of both Port and the new table wines.  We will also show you some of the sights of the wonderful town of Porto.

    Tutor: Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    Availability:  Good.

    Wine suggestions: From Waitrose – Symington’s No 1 Reserve Tawny Port (£13.99) and/or Quinta De La Rosa Reserva (£11.49).

    Full details and booking >

  • Old-Fashioned Beaujolais – Webinar – £5 in London

    Tuesday, 20th October

    £5.00

    Once upon a time, the arrival of New Beaujolais in the third week of November was awaited with much excitement, marking, as it did, the start of the festive season.  Nowadays, it passes almost without notice and the vigneron(ne)s of the region have had to find ways of replacing the income lost.  Luckily, there are still some who remember the days when Beaujolais used to be made and aged like the red Burgundies of further North and are starting to demonstrate just how good old-fasioned Beaujolais can be.  In this webinar, we will look at the regeneration of this historic area and talk about some of the key people involved.  We will also have look at the gastronomic delights for which it is famous.

    Tutor – Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    Availability:  Good

    Wine Suggestions:  From the Wine Society – Dominique Piron, Morgon, Côte du Py (£15.50) and/or Joseph Burrier, Saint-Amour, Côte de Besset (£18.00).  From Lea & Sandeman – Domaine Rochette,  Morgon, Côte dy Py (£16.95) and/or Chevalier-Métrat, Brouilly, Les Mines (£16.95).

    Full details and booking >

  • Fine Swiss Wines – Webinar – £5 in London

    Thursday, 29th October

    £5.00

    At number 24 in the world league, Switzerland produces more than twice as much wine as New Zealand, but exports little.  What it does export, however, is of high quality.  At this webinar, we will talk about the different wine producing regions of the country and the grape varieties grown, including Chasselas, aka Fendant, (the most widely planted variety), regional specialities, such as Amigne, Cornalin, Humagne, Petite Arvine, and well as international varieties, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot.

    Tutor: Vivienne Franks with Malcolm Franks.

    Availability:  Good.

    Wine Suggestions:  Swiss wines are difficult to find in the UK and so, we have arranged for the specialist importer, Alpine Wines Limited (https://www.alpinewines.co.uk) to supply packs containing a Grand Cru Chasselas, a delicate Pinot Noir and a mature Cornalin for £66-00 includng delivery.  If you would like to buy a pack, please let us know and we will put you in touch with Alpine Wines.  Orders need to be placed by 5 pm on Friday 23rd October to ensure delivery in good time.

    Full details and booking >

Nov 2020

  • Sherry – Webinar – £10 in London

    Tuesday, 3rd November

    £10.00

    It’s ‘Sherry Week’ in the UK and to play our part, we are running this webinar.  Aficionada, Pippa Hayward will explain how the different syles of Sherry – Manzanilla, Fino, Amontilado, Oloroso, Palo Cortado, Pedro Ximenez –  are made and talk about some of the great tapas that are traditionally served alongside them.

    Tutor: Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    Availability:  Good

    Wine and food suggestions:  To follow.

    Full details and booking >

  • New Zealand's Finest – Webinar – £10 in London

    Thursday, 12th November

    £10.00

    The wines of New Zealand just get better and better. For purity of fruit and varietal expression they are hard to match. In this webinar, we will take you on a virtual tour of the vineyards of the North and South Islands, talk about the regional differences in style and introduce you to some of the top winemakers.

    Tutor: Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    Availability: Good.

    Wine suggestions:  To follow.

    Full details and booking >

  • Bulgarian Wine – Webinar – £10 in London

    Tuesday, 17th November

    £10.00

    Wine has been made in Bulgaria for 5.000 years or more but until the beginning of the 20th century, most of it was drunk locally.   Things started to change when a number of Cooperatives were established along the lines of those in the south of France and many of the wine-makers were sent to France to be trained.  This led to a gradual increase in the volume and quality of wine produced and a thriving export business developed.  After the second world war, the wine industry was nationalised and Bulgaria became the Conecom country responsible for wine production.    Small, privately owned vineyards were taken into state ownnership.  Local grape varieties were replaced by international ones, notably Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Funds to upgrade the wineries were nade available.  Much of the wine produced found its way to Russia and the other Conecom countries but the ripe, fruit-driven styles also found ready markets in the west, notably in Britain.

    After the fall of communism in 1989, the Bulgarian wine industry was suddenly liberalised.  This led to a period of disarray as attempts were made to return vineyard land to its original owners.  Re-establishing privately owned wine businesses was hindered by a shortage of funds.  It was only when Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007 that grant aid became available.  Today, the renaissance of the industry is well established.  Wine of good quality is being produced by over 200 wineries, large and small, and the potential for great wine is already evident.

    In this webinar, Malcolm and Vivienne, who have already escorted three tours to Bulgaria for our sister wine tour company, Good Wine Tours Limited, will take you on a voyage of discovery around Bulgaria’s wine regions and introduce you to some of its indigenous grape varieties and star producers.

    Presenter:  Vivienne Franks with Malcolm Franks.

    Availability:  Good

    Wine Suggestions:  Bulgarian wines, once readily available in the UK, are much more difficult to find these days.   For this reason, we have arranged for the specialist importer, The Old Cellar ( https://www.theoldcellar.com/) to make packs containing four great Bulgarian wines available for you to buy in advance of the webinar.  The first wine we have selected is a crisp, dry Riesling with a natural sparkle.  The remaining three are made from indigenous grape varieties – an exotic floral white from Misket, a delicate rosé from Melnik and a vibrant, fruity red from Mavrud.  The price of the pack of four wines, includng delivery, is £53.20.  If you would like to buy a pack, please let us know and we will put you in touch with The Old Cellar.  Orders need to be placed by 5 pm on Wednesday, 11th November to ensure delivery in good time.

    Full details and booking >

  • Piemonte – Webinar – £10 in London

    Thursday, 26th November

    £10.00

    There are more DOCG’s in Piemonte than any other region of Italy.  In this webinar we will explore this fascinating region with you, looking, in particular at the great vineyards of Barolo, Barbaresco and Dolcetto.

    Tutor: Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    Availability:  Good

    Wine Suggestions:  To follow’

    Full details and booking >

Dec 2020

  • It's All Happening In Alsace – Webinar – £10 in London

    Tuesday, 1st December

    £10.00

    It’s all happening in Alsace. A new generation of young, passionate and talented vignerons and vigneronnes is challenging tradition and pushing boundaries. Bland, off-dry whites are being replaced by pure, crisp, fruit and terroir-expressive wines and simple, deep-rosés by reds of almost Burgundian style and quality.

    Full details and booking >

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