102 | squaremeal.co.uk
Enjoy wine but want to know a little bit more about what
you are - or could be - drinking? Then it's time to get to
grips with those grapes and enrol on a wine course
thirst FOR THE WINE NOVICE…
Perfect for beginners, ThirtyFifty o�ers two-hour evening courses and
one-day weekend courses in London and Bristol, as well as two-night
wine-tasting weekends in the Midlands. The two-hour 'Introduction'
course covers the basics on how to taste and evaluate wines; or try
the 'Discovery', which compares seven styles of wines from across
the world. One-day courses go into more detail. Director Chris Scott
describes them as a 'boot camp on wine', but no prior knowledge is
necessary. He says: 'We give people the tools they can really use in
wine. It's very practical - we never talk about AOCs, VDPs and so on.
And we throw a couple of jokes in, so you don't lose concentration.'
Best for: a wine-themed weekend break
Price: £29/£79/£130 (evening/one-day/weekend course)
West London Wine School
O�ering courses in Fulham and Kensington, the West London Wine
School has a number of options for wine newcomers, including
a one-day Saturday course, four- or eight-week options, and weekday
evening classes, which might feature Chardonnays from the Old and
New World, or a spotlight on sparkling and sweet wines. Beer and
sherry tastings are also on o�er, as well as more advanced courses
2 West London Wine School 3 WSET tasting class
4 WineChap's informal style 5 Tom Harrow of
WineChap 6 ThirtyFifty offers beginners' courses
ost of us are more comfortable with wine now
than we have ever been, but many still feel
daunted when a great tome of a wine list is
dropped on the table. Faced with a seemingly
endless choice, some wine drinkers get stuck in
a rut or adopt a safety-rst approach, sticking
to the same two or three grape varieties or brands, not wanting
to buy a bottle they may hate from the very rst sip.
If any of the above applies to you, then a wine course might
be the answer. The key things to learn are the main grape
varieties (a dozen or so is plenty to start with) and the basic
wine regions. Once you have a grounding in what each region
or country is capable of you will start to enjoy wine more,
and the next time you dine at a restaurant you'll be more
comfortable choosing a bottle to go with your food.
Sauvignon Blanc is a classic example of how grape varieties
vary in taste depending on where they're grown: in the Loire
Valley in France, the grape gives us a gentle grassiness, with a
touch of int and minerality; in New Zealand, the same grape
is much more powerful and intense, with pungent gooseberry
and green-pepper notes.
This is exactly the kind of thing you'll learn on a wine course.
Most won't bore you with geeky information on vineyard altitude,
temperature charts and prevailing wind currents - although
these sorts of courses are available for the die-hards - but you
will gain a solid grounding in wine. Oh, and you'll get to drink
a fair few glasses of the stu� while you're at it…
WORDS STUART PESKETT