Bedales

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Jason Allen 17/06/24


London’s Best Wine Tasting Events

Do you spit or swallow?

It depends very much on the wine tasting.

But luckily, London’s wine tasting events tend to fall on the more informal side – the ones that tend to involve you drinking rather a lot of vino in very small helpings across a delightfully boozy evening, rather than esoteric events involving spitoons.

To help you figure out which is the best for you, we’ve compiled a list of the very best sommelier-led events taking place in the capital… in a way making this article a wine tasting tasting.

Here, have a sip:

Cave Cuvée | Bethnal Green

cave cuvee wine masterclass

It’s about as far from your idea of the classically stuffy, intimidating wine tasting as it’s possible to get. If anything, it’s intimidating in the other direction, being a coolly spartan East London bottle-shop basement with a disco ball and a host of natural wines to get through. Attend one of their twice-monthly natural wine masterclasses and you’ll be waxing lyrical about low-intervention pet nat with the rest of Hackney in no time.

Where? 250a Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 0AA | When? Wednesday evenings | Price? £45 | Book here

London Cru | Fulham

london cru wine tastings

Joel Knight

This isn’t just a bottle shop, or a wine bar – it’s a legit urban winery. And you can join the London Cru at one of their regular tastings, which focus on various regions, varieties or styles, and involve a backstage tour of the winery itself. Really want to take a deep dive? Become a ‘winemaker for a day’, and spend a whole day learning about and tasting the stuff, before creating your own signature cuvée of Bordeaux to take home.

Where? London Cru, 21-27 Seagrave Road, London SW6 1RP | When? Regular events | Price? £28-170 | Book here

Planque

planque wine tasting

Planque was established as a ‘wine drinker’s clubhouse’, with an in-house cellar for resting bottles and member spaces where people can get together and talk about wine. And heck, you might be one of those people if you attend one of their super-regular events, which include wine tastings and paired dinners with the winemakers themselves.

Where? 322-324 Acton Mews, London E8 4EA | When? On the regs | Price? £60-380 | Book here

The Rebellious Wine Club

rebellious wine club

It won’t surprise you to hear that the Rebellious Wine Club likes to do things a little differently. Like hosting their monthly wine tastings in a beautiful setting at Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings; doing away with any pretension; and inviting in the best women in the wine industry to lead each session. This means you’ll get to hear about various grapes, regions and categories of wine from the people most passionate about them – and they frequently focus on the less-familiar, from Japanese sake to British vineyards.

Where? B&H Buildings, 42 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, EC1R 0HU | When? One Thursday a month | Price? £39 | Book here

Humble Grape

humble grape wine tastings

The Humble Grape bars offer everything from super-casual wine tastings on Tuesdays (where you can sample that week’s hand-picked flight at your own pace), to WSET Level 1 & 2 wine courses. Then there’s the 45-minute introductions to different grapes in their Wine 1-0-1 series, and the more in-depth regional wine tastings, where you’ll get to know an area over a three-hour session.

But it’s the supper clubs where the team brings two special things to the table (quite literally) that really set HG apart. 1) The food, which is always excellent and perfectly paired to the bottles, and 2) The winemakers themselves, who frequently make the journey from whichever lush vineyard they own in order to open up their bottles for you.

Where? Islington, Battersea, Liverpool Street, Fleet Street, Canary Wharf, Crouch End | When? Regular, several per month | Price? From £16.50 | Book here

Berry Bros & Rudd

Berry Bros & Rudd wine events

BBR are truly old-school. They employ six Masters of Wine, more than anyone else on earth. They’re literally the oldest wine merchants in the country (founded in 1698) and their cellar was where Napoleon III held meetings and drank wine while in London. And you can follow in his footsteps, by attending one of their rather pricey, often traditional, but always superlative wine tastings.

Where? 3 St. James’s Street, London SW1A 1EG | When? 1-2 per week | Price? £75 – 265 | Book here

Hedonism

hedonism wine tasting

Hedonism has one of the largest cellars in Europe, with over 10,000 wines & spirits in stock – they range from a 1774 bottle of Vin Jaune, to a vast, 40 litre ‘primat’ of 2015 Beaujolais, to everything in between. Credentials aside, they do run a tight ship when it comes to their wine tastings, too. They’re not too pricey, they cover a variety of fine wines & spirits, and they frequently involve the winemakers themselves.

Where? 3/7 Davies Street, W1K 3LD | When? 4-5 per month | Price? £75-200 | Book here

The Winemakers Club

Winemakers Club

This wine bar specialises in organic & biodynamic wines, and they frequently like to hold wine tastings to show off exactly why. If you’ve got a group of ten together, they’ll run a private tasting for you; otherwise sign up to their newsletter to find out about their upcoming public tastings. The space is moody, atmospheric, candlelit, and gorgeous, which is something of a bonus too.

Where? 41a Farringdon St, EC4A 4AN | When? Once a month | Price? £35 | More info

Bedales Self-Guided Wine Tastings

bedales wine tasting

If the thought of an expert talking you through each drink sounds a little, well, dry, book into one of Bedales’ self-guided wine tastings. You’ll still get all the sommelier’s bountiful knowledge, but it’ll be presented to you in the form of take-home notes – so you’ll know exactly what flavours you should be looking out for in your three glasses, but can also catch up with your friends on topics beyond the pinot noir’s delicate floral bouquet.

Where? Borough Market | When? Sunday – Thursday | Price? £30pp | More info

Renegade Urban Winery

renegade urban winery

A winery perched along the Blackhorse Beer Mile – but then, what else would you expect from a renegade? This hard-working lot press harvests imported directly from across Europe, and even old Blighty, into around 15 fairly experimental wines each year (you’ve probably seen them, they’re the bottles with the eyes on the labels). Recently they’ve opened the doors of their Walthamstow winery to the public, and you can head in for a short tour and tasting every Thursday evening or Saturday afternoon. Granted, you’re only getting to try their wines, but they’re all pretty intriguing – and there’s usually a stellar food residency here, too.

Where? Unit 7, Lockwood Way, London E17 5RB | When? Thursday evenings & Saturdays | Price? £25 | Book here

Local Wine School

Wine School

The thing about the Local School is that it really is just a school. They don’t sell any wines themselves. So the tastings are genuinely all about educating your palate. They’re frequent, reasonably priced, and extremely informative, and they have branches across the city & the country. They’re the ones who train the people leading all these other wine tastings.

Where? Across London | When? Almost daily | Price? £29+ (for introductory evening tastings, considerably more for the qualifications) | Book here

Wingnut Wines

wingnut wine tasting

Charlie Carr is the wine side of the equation at East London hype magnet, Papi. And when not giving casual, off-the-cuff sommelier-level recs to diners there, he runs Wingnut Wines out of a literal shed in Netil Market. It’s a bottle shop by day, but at night, a small group of punters can book in to a wine tasting with Charlie or one of his equally knowledgeable colleagues, who’ll walk you through a selection of five or six low-intervention wines they’ve discovered off the beaten track.

Where? Netil Market, 13-23 Westgate Street, E8 3RU | When? Weekly | Price? £35 | Book here

Yield

yield wine tastings

Yield N1 and N16 offers wine tastings to all, but they run one particularly useful session: one for new parents. Held in the mid-afternoon, you’re encouraged to BYOB (baby) and hang out with other parents doing what you actually enjoy – sipping a few cool glasses of vino alongside charcuterie, cheese and bruschetta.

Where? Stoke Newington & Islington | When? Wednesdays & Sundays | Price? £10-25 | Book here

Diogenes the Dog

Diogenes the dog wine tasting

This south London wine bar/bottle shop offers relaxed wine tastings, each covering a whole new topic of wine, as well as the option to book a private tasting for you and up to 30 friends. Their most epic option will walk you through a punchy eight wines (with accompanying small plates, thankfully), and it comes in at a reasonable £89pp.

Where? 96 Rodney Road, SE17 1BG | When? Whenever you want, plus regular events | Price? £35-89 | Book here

London Wine Academy

London wine academy wine tastings

Like the Local Wine School, the LWA teach the tasters themselves. The courses are, therefore, on the higher end. They’re absolutely not a casual excuse to line up shots of wine. But they do bring a lot to the table – you can learn about cheese pairings, sensory tasting, reds, whites, and everything in between.

Where? Various London locations | When? Basically daily | Price? £115+ | Book here

 


Seeing as you’re so into the vine-hooch… you should check out London’s best wine bars