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, John Ducker, 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.

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  • Dec 2018

    £40.00Traditional Rioja • Thursday, 13th December, 19:30-21:30 in London – Holborn

    At this year’s festive-season Rioja event, you will be tasting–

    Contino, Reserva, ‘12
    Luis Cañas, Reserva ‘11
    Muga, Gran Reserva, ‘09
    Faustino, Gran Reserva, ’08
    La Rioja Alta, Viña Ardanza, Reserva, ‘08
    Lopez de Heredia, Viña Tondonia, Reserva ‘05
    Urbina, Gran Reserva, ‘04
    Conde de Valdemar, Gran Reserva, ‘94

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

    Jan 2019

    £35.00Classic Grape Variety – Pinot Noir • Thursday, 24th January, 19:30-21:30 in London – Holborn

    A comparative tasting of Pinot Noirs from around the world including a classic from Burgundy and leading examples from Australia, California, Chile, Germany, New Zealand, Oregon and South Africa.

    Tutor Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    £40.00Southern Rhône • Monday, 28th January, 19:30-21:30 in London – Holborn

    The southern part of the Rhône valley produces some of the most accessible and best value wines of France. Examples from some of our favourite producers in Tavel, Gigondas, Lirac, Vacqueras, Châteauneuf du Pape and Beaumes de Venise.

    Tutor Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    Feb 2019

    £35.00New Wave Rioja • Thursday, 7th February, 19:30-21:30 in London – Holborn

    This tasting focuses on recent changes within this much-loved region. Long prized for its beautiful oak – aged reds, new styles of wine have been developing in Rioja over the last decade. A younger generation of winemakers is putting more emphasis on terroir than mandatory ageing in barrel – and there is renewed interest in white and rosado Rioja. The Consejo itself has been updating the rules of production to encourage the development of new styles and to permit vineyard designations on bottles. Our tasting will bring you right up to date with all these changes.

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

    £40.00Bordeaux – Crus Bourgeois • Monday, 11th February, 19:30-21:30 in London – Holborn

    The Bordeaux ‘Cru Bourgeois’ classification was established in 1932 by owners of Médoc châteaux that had not been included in the 1855 Bordeaux ‘Grand Cru Classé’ system.

    Focused, from the outset, on quality, they delegated the job of deciding whether a château merited classification to an elected committee and, unlike their more illustrious counterpart, made periodic reviews of performance part of the system. Given the subjective nature of the committee’s decisions, controversy was inevitable and in 2003, châteaux that had been ‘de-classified’ took their grievances to court and won.

    As a consequence, the ‘Cru Bourgeois’ accreditation system had to be re-invented as a seal of quality, administered according to strict criteria by a third party.  15 years on, the grievances of the past appear to have been forgotten.

    We will taste wines from eight of our favourite producers in this category.

    Tutor: Vivienne Franks with Malcolm Franks

    £40.00New Zealand's Finest • Thursday, 21st February, 19:30-21:30 in London – Holborn

    Wines from some of New Zealand’s finest estates.  Our proposed line-up will include Ata Rangi, Cloudy Bay, Felton Road, Matua Valley, Pegasus Bay, and Te Mata.

    Tutor: Vivienne Franks with Malcolm Franks.

    £35.00Bulgaria • Monday, 25th February, 19:30-21:30 in London – Holborn

    A first for us – a tasting dedicated to the wines of Bulgaria, the destination of a very successful tour organised by our sister company, Good Wine Tours Limited, in June 2018.

    Our planned line-up will include:-

    ‘Soli’ Pinot Noir, Eduardo Miroglio
    ‘Bergulé’ Mavrud, Villa Melnik
    ‘Merul’ Reserve, Estate Selection, Rumelia
    ‘Enira’ Reserva, Bessa Valley Winery
    ‘Zagreus’ Vinica

    Tutor: Vivienne Franks with Malcolm Franks


    Mar 2019

    £35.00Classic Grape – Riesling • Thursday, 7th March, 19:30-21:30 in London – Holborn

    Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson think that Riesling is the noblest of the white varieties. So, who are we to argue? Classic examples from Alsace, Australia, Austria, Chile, Germany, Italy and New Zealand.

    Tutor: Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie


    £35.00Good Bordeaux Doesn't Have To Be Expensive • Monday, 11th March, 19:30-21:30 in London – Holborn

    £1250 for a bottle of Château Latour 2010 – well yes, that is expensive! But such wild prices are only achieved by a handful of the region’s better known properties. There are literally hundreds of other properties in Bordeaux producing good wine at much more modest prices. And it’s a region that is very much in form at the moment. Standards of viticulture and wine-making have never been higher. We will taste a selection of wines from some of our favourite smaller producers. Bottle prices will be in the £10 to £20 price range and the contents will be ready to drink.

    Tutor: Sandy Leckie with Pippa Hayward

    £40.00South Africa Revisited • Thursday, 21st March, 19:30-21:30 in London – Holborn

    A selection of wines from leading South African producers such as Boekenhoutskloof, Bouchard-Finlayson, Meerlust, Kanonkop, Morgenhof, Rustenberg, and Vergelegen.

    Tutor: Vivienne Franks with Malcolm Franks (who will just have returned from South Africa and will have all the latest news)

    £0.00Italy – The Alpine North-East • Monday, 25th March, 19:30-21:30 in London – Holborn

    Although this is Italy’s most northerly wine producing region, its mountainous terrain ensures good exposure to the sun’s rays and heat retention. Light, tangy reds and clean, crisp whites and sparkling wines are made. The indigenous varieties Schiava and Lagrein are responsible for most of the reds, but plantings of Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are on the increase. The whites are produced from Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Riesling and Gewurztraminer.

    Tutor Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.

    Apr 2019

    £35.00Galicia – Spain's Cool Celtic North-West & Tapas • Thursday, 4th April, 19:30-21:30 in London – Holborn

    A tasting of four peachy whites from Rias Baixas and four distinctive reds from the neighbouring districts of Ribeira, Ribera Sacra and Valdeorras. And to complete your enjoyment…..a selection of cold tapas.

    Tutor – Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie

    £35.00The Loire Valley • Monday, 8th April, 19:30-21:30 in London – Holborn

    In this tasting, we will focus on the wines which many people think are the greatest of the region – complex, dry whites from Savennières, fruity reds from Chinon and Bourgueil and clean, crisply sweet whites from the Coteaux du Layon.

    Tutor: Pippa Hayward with Sandy Leckie.


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