The great thing about the wine tasting opportunities in London is that whether you’re a seasoned enthusiast or an interested newbie, you will be able to find a tasting event that will suit your knowledge and your pocket.
Several of the tastings include an introductory talk about the process of wine tasting, what to look for and above all how to enjoy the wines you try. The guys at Specialist Cellars and Wine Unearthed both explain that part of their mission is to demystify wines, to make them less stuffy and intimidating, thereby making them more accessible to everyone. You can help with that process by joining in.
Wine Tasting in London
- Address: 49 Brixton Station Rd, London SW9 8PQ
- Phone: 020 3857 5870
Melanie Brown is a New Zealand chef and wine enthusiast who travelled to the UK to work with esteemed chefs such as Raymond Blanc, Peter Gordon, and Jamie Oliver.
Her latest venture is Specialist Cellars where her goal is to introduce the best of New Zealand and New World wines to the UK. She wants to make the wines accessible, affordable, and less mysterious.
Wine tastings are held at two Brixton venues, the Pop Brixton store and at the bistro, The Laundry. The events are varied and include themes such as ‘natural’ wines, which have been produced without the addition of added sugar, acid, cultivated yeasts, colourants, or sulphites.
This is the historic method of producing wine, which creates a pure product where none of the flavour elements have been masked by additives. Other tastings are given as talks, often by wine producers such as Andrew Donaldson, owner of Akitu winery in Central Otago in New Zealand.
- Address: 3-7 Davies St, London W1K 3LD
- Phone: 020 7290 7870
Established in August 2012 Hedonism Wines is located in the heart of London’s Mayfair. Hedonism is a specialist in fine wine and spirits and stocks more than 10,000 wines and spirit examples.
Guests on group tastings can expect the best examples and information from Hedonism Wines, as many of the specialists heading up the tastings are former sommeliers from top Michelin-star restaurants.
Some talks are given by renowned vintners such as Tor Kenward, who gives insights into the wines of the Napa Valley over his 40 years of experience. It is also possible to book private tastings for a family or work occasion.
The company also offers a selection of nearly 50 wine tastings using enomatic sampling machines, which means you can just pay for the sample you try rather than for the whole bottle. This means you can taste a glass of Chateau d’Yquem 2003 for £23.50 rather than the £400 for the bottle.
Renegade Urban Winery and Bar
- Address: Arch 12 Gales Gardens, London E2 0EJ
- Phone: 020 3638 2479
Initially, the concept of an urban winery seems something of a paradox, but it goes some way to explain the naming of the company, Renegade. Located in Bethnal Green, Renegade have reinvented the production of wine in an urban setting. Grapes don’t travel well so production is often located close to the vineyard.
However, with chilled transportation, this is no longer a requirement. The biggest benefit is being able to cherry-pick the best grapes from small producers, who are having the best harvests in a particular year.
Tastings at Renegade are very varied and include tours of the winery, along with tastings of the raw wines at different stages, as well as weekly tastings on Thursdays in the wine bar with a different selection of wines each week.
The winery is only recently launched, and so more tasting events are going to be added to the calendar throughout the year.
The Winemakers Club
- Address: 41a Farringdon St, London EC4A 4AN
- Phone: 020 7236 2936
The guys behind the Winemakers Club have been importing, selling, and enjoying wine for over 15 years. They like to specialise in wines from understated producers, who quietly get on with the task in hand of just producing the best wines they can.
Often these producers are smaller and more diverse and at the same time more willing to challenge convention by innovating with new grape varieties, while at the same time maintaining the same standards of care.
The club offers two tasting styles, the Private Tastings, which are held on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays in their cellars in Farringdon Street. These tastings are for groups of more than 10 inexperienced and experienced tasters, who will sample six wines and enjoy mixed boards of cheese and charcuterie at the same time.
If you are in a group of less than 10 there are also monthly Public Tastings, which follow a similar format as the private tastings.
- Address: 8 Northumberland Ave, London WC2N 5BY
- Email: [email protected]
For their tastings, Wine Cottage select its wines from some of the best French châteaux and vineyards across the world. Tastings are often married with the best cheese, fruit, and chocolate for an ideal experience.
The aim of the tastings is to entertain and educate, while having plenty of fun. All instructors are qualified wine tasters, and some are even producers. They can pass on interesting information about the wines, their production and how they change over time once in the bottle.
Trying food with the sample wines enables the instructors to illustrate the science of taste and aroma, and its importance in pairing food with wine. The tastings also deal with understanding the information as it is presented on the wine label.
Wine tasting events take place every Saturday at the Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel in Fitzrovia.
West London Wine School
- Address: 71 Townmead Rd, London SW6 2SG
- Phone: 020 8144 2444
The first Wine School opened in Newcastle upon Tyne in 2000 and there are more than 65,000 customers who have used their services. The model is a franchise with many other businesses throughout Canada, the United States and China among others.
The courses range from Introduction to Wine, an 8 Week World of Wine Course, a Cheese and Wine Matching Course and a Saturday Fun Course, where you’ll sample Champagne and 12 wines along with a delicious lunch.
With the Wine School, you can also study remotely for wine exams including the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and the Wine Scholar Guild (WSG). There are three other schools throughout London, one in the East one in the North and one in the south.
Shoreditch Wine House
- Address: 188 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6HU
- Phone: 07472 616466
Described by tasters as a hidden gem in Shoreditch High Street. Owners Ben, Abel and Andrea have been running Shoreditch Wine House for over two years, where they aim to offer a wine bar service, as well as tasting events where the wines are matched with the best food flavours.
They offer their best selection of over 300 wines from renowned chateaux and domaines, as well as selecting small family-run vineyards. Recent tasting events include wines from Château Margüi and Bastide de Margüi in Provence matched with sushi platters, prepared by the renowned company, 3 flavours.
Shoreditch Wine House offers more than 20 Champagnes and fine wines by the glass, where the choices are rotated weekly. To accompany your wine choices, you can choose from a selection of small plates, as well as cheese and charcuterie platters. In addition to the tasting rooms, there is a small leafy courtyard garden at the back.
The Wine Library
- Address: 43 Trinity Square, London EC3N 4DJ
- Phone: 020 7481 0415
The Wine Library is an independent wine merchant with a 19th-century French-style cellar and bar, where frequent customer and private tastings take place. The Wine Library was first opened in 2006 by Gary Vaynerchuk, a Belarusian-American entrepreneur.
He was first known for his work as a wine critic who expanded his family’s wine business, before moving into other business areas. The Private Tastings are organised for groups of up to 35 friends or clients and you can choose between two themes.
A short talk is given at the beginning of the Private Tastings to give an overview of the wine tasting process.
A blind tasting of eight wines, four white and four red, where tasters note their impressions on multiple-choice sheets with a discussion at the end.
Secondly, Tutored Tastings where the qualities of selected wines are discussed, which could include a comparison between grape varieties, individual regions, or countries.
Both tastings last for approximately 2 ½ hours and a pate and cheese platter can be served during the event.
Bedales at Leadenhall
- Address: 55 Leadenhall Market, London EC3V 1LT
- Phone: 020 7929 3536
Bedales at Leadenhall has sister outlets in Borough Market, St Thomas Street and Spitalfields. The Leadenhall Wine Bar is set in attractive rooms with plenty of exposed brickwork and wood furnishings.
Tastings are organised into self-guided and private. Self-guided tastings are a great way to introduce yourself to the process of wine tasting. These tastings are available from Sun-Thurs in groups of up to 6 people.
The tasting begins with something sparkling as you arrive, followed by three wines which have been carefully selected by the hosts. Tasters are given notes on how to correctly taste the wines, interesting facts about the wine and production, and space for your own notes, which you can compare to the sommelier’s critique.
For more experienced tasters you can take part in a Private Tasting, which are all hosted in the cellars at Bedales at Leadenhall. Private tastings are aimed at groups of 6 and up to 80 guests.
The event style and budget are very flexible to accommodate all tastes. The package price includes venue hire, four or five wines to taste and a sommelier to lead you through the process.
Wine Unearthed – London Wine Tasting
- Address: 82-84 St Martin’s Ln, London WC2N 4AG
- Phone: 0345 299 8652
Victoria & Adrian Bucknall’s passion for wine finally got the upper hand in 2003 when they gave up their careers in banking and started Wine Unearthed.
They have been running wine tastings ever since, with the emphasis on being un-stuffy, un-intimidating, and with the aim of improving knowledge and building confidence about wine.
On a tasting event, you will learn how to taste wine like a professional and discover what all the swirling, sniffing, and spitting (swallowing is fine!) is all about.
The Bucknall’s have won awards for their courses including ‘Wine educator of the year’ from the organisation International Wine Challenge. They aim to make the wine tasting a special experience by using venues that complement the sentiment of the course. In the same vein, tasters enjoy no less than 15 wines and enjoy a 3-course meal.
Wine tasting is a thoroughly enjoyable process on its own but it’s also a great way to meet new people. It’s a common interest in a friendly social setting which can lead anywhere.