Our instore tastings are at the heart of what we do, and we have run over 1000 since we opened in 2002. They happen every week and are designed to be relaxed, informal and accessible for everyone, whether you are exploring wine for the first time, broadening your horizons, or delving deeper into your favourite regions and styles.
Our upcoming programme of tastings is listed below. We also regularly host winemakers in our Meet the Winemaker series, with producers from Australia, France, Japan, the UK and Austria joining us in recent months.
All our tastings start at 7.30pm unless otherwise noted, and last approximately two hours. Each evening, a range of artisan bread, cheeses and charcuterie will be provided to match the wines, although we regret that we cannot cater for dietary requirements. Places must be booked and paid for in advance and payment must be made within two weeks to confirm your booking, otherwise your reservation may be released without notice. Reservations will not be confirmed without a working contact number and cancellations made with less than 48 hours notice will not be refunded.
To book, please email your local store for availability. As our tastings often sell out within days (or hours) of publication, we suggest you sign up to our mailing list to receive the tastings updates as soon as they are published to avoid disappointment.
Upcoming Tastings in 2018
Perpignan to Provence: Wines of Southern France - £29
Thursday 21st June
The evocative stretch of coastline that runs from the beautiful village of Collioure to the glittering waters of the Cote d'Azur is home to some of France's most underrated wines. The region's diversity is precisely the problem: without an overall identity, the best wines never seem to make a splash beyond France. The range of climates and soils here is immense, and thanks to relatively inexpensive land the Languedoc is an ideal start up region for many young, first-time winemakers and their families, and an equally good place for value-conscious wine drinkers looking for something under the radar. Tonight's tasting encompasses the freshly-famous rosé of Provence, the zesty whites of Picpoul de Pinet and new discoveries in Minervois, as well as some off-the-beaten-track gems from the garrigue-clad hillsides of ancient Occitania.
Meet the Distiller: Raasay & Tweeddale Whisky Evening with Kevin Liu- £15
Friday 22nd June – 8pm - Leytonstone only
We're excited to present a special tasting event in our Leytonstone store focusing on some recent listings from R&B Distillers. We've had great feedback on their Borders Single Grain and While We Wait Single Malt, so whether you haven't tried them or you are already a fan, tonight is a chance to meet the people behind the liquid and taste a few more of their rarer releases, including the award-winning Tweeddale whiskies. We'll have Kevin Liu from the distillery coming to talk us through the basics of understanding scotch and taking us through everything from blends to single malt and single grains. He'll also be bringing along some of the new make (unaged whisky) from Raasay, Scotland's newest distillery opened just last year, not to mention fresh spring water from their ancient celtic well for mixing!
Treasure Islands: Wines of the Mediterranean - £30
Thursday 28th June
What do Sicily and Corsica, Chios and Samos, Mallorca and Sardinia all have in common? Wine, of course! Tonight we board our luxury yacht for a cruise around the Mediterranean that will uncover the true flavour of the islands. With a fresh glass waiting in every port, we discover the delicious grapes of this ancient sea, criss-crossed by Greeks, Phoenicians and Romans, all of whom have left their mark on the wine cultures of the islands. Each island produces its own unique wines, often privileging local grapes not found elsewhere, but they all share a splash of salinity and the sparkle of Mediterranean sunshine. Join us for a slice of the island life as we delight in vermentino, luxuriate in muscat and revel in cataratto.
Garden of France: Along the Loire River - £27
Thursday 5th July
The Loire is France's longest river, starting deep in central France and flowing north through the vineyards of Sancerre, via the beautiful city of Tours and the vineyards of Saumur, before ending at the Atlantic with the salty, bone dry whites of Muscadet. The wines that populate the banks of the Loire seem to capture perfectly the spirit of summer - their vibrant fruit and delicate textures are never heavy and they are refreshing and versatile partners to summer meals. Crisp whites, dry pinks, silky reds and a brisk fizz with lovely local cheeses are the makings of tonight's summery tasting on the banks of the river.
Savour: Sherry, Champagne, Vin Jaune - £33
Thursday 12th July - Greenwich & Tufnell Park only
Sweet, sour, bitter and salty are four of the five basic tastes and they account for most of the ways in which wine is described but this tasting highlights the fifth taste: the Japanese concept of umami or 'savouriness'. The essence of broths and mushrooms, umami is found in many foods, but is less often encountered in wine. The great exceptions are sherry, vin jaune and champagne where the effect of time and the yeasts used in the wines' production have transmuted youthful fruit into a spectrum of savoury, fudgey, nutty flavours. These are wines with grown-up flavours that marry extraordinarily well with food as we'll be showing with some smart food and wine pairings.
Crisp Kolsch Lager & New Beers! - £20
Thursday 12th July - Leytonstone only
Those of you who follow us on Instagram will have seen that we've been working with James at Pretty Decent Beer to make a top quality small batch lager. We know that lager isn't exactly fashionable, but we reckon that a well made lager is the champagne of beers – crisp, clean, understated and moreish. Tonight we'll be launching our very own Crisp Kolsch Lager, the perfect all-day beer for slaking thirst or simply rejuvenating the palate after a long day at the coal face of wine tasting. We'll also be showcasing a couple of new breweries – Orbit and Redchurch – and looking at some other refreshing beers for the summer. Look out tonight for farmhouse, sour and lower alcohol styles to keep you powering through the sunshine in style.
Art Night: Freedom from Restraint with Jo Paul - £10
Friday 13th July - Leytonstone only
Leytonstone Arts Trail is an annual celebration of the vibrant local arts scene, with exhibitions and installations popping up at venues throughout the borough. For the second year running we are thrilled to have artist Jo Paul creating a window display and using our shop space as her gallery. The exhibit launches on 7th July and will extend beyond the limited period of the Arts Trail, so make sure you take the time to come and see it. To celebrate the exhibition, and to mark the launch of a strand of art and wine evenings at Leytonstone, we are hosting a special viewing evening with Jo and featuring art, poetry, visuals and wine. Your ticket includes wines to taste and food to nibble, and wines will also be offered to purchase by the glass.
The Mountain Kingdom: The Wines of the Pyrenees - £28
Thursday 19th July
This dramatic mountain range marks the division between France and Spain, but the boundary is deceptive. Behind the modern border are ancient connections linking the people on both sides of the mountains – Basques in the West, Catalans in the East and, between them, a melting pot of Spanish, French, Gascon, Celtic, and Visigothic influences. A natural rampart that marked the division between Christendom and the Moorish kingdoms, the mountain passes are fearsome, with tongue-twisting names for the wines such as Iroulegy and Pacherenc-du-Vic-Bilh. It is no surprise that they have often been forgotten but the time is ripe for the wines of this ancient land to have a renaissance.
Angles, Curves and Edges: Texture in Wine - £29
Thursday 26th July - Greenwich & Tufnell Park only
Describing wine is deliciously difficult but it's a good idea to forget about the fruit flavours once in a while and think about shape instead. Just like a building or landscape, wines have angles, curves, edges and arches thanks to the play of alcohol, tannin, acid and sweetness. We will be comparing wines that are plump with those that are sharp, the austerely brutalist with the flamboyantly rococo, the craggy with the smooth. Tonight we will feel out the borders of this way of thinking about wines and open up new ways of talking about great wines.
Al Fresco: Wines for Picnics & BBQs - £25
Thursday 26th July - Leytonstone only
With the sun putting a spring in our step across E11, we're chilling out at tonight's tasting with some fresh, zesty whites for picnics in the park, contrasted with the lush, gluggable reds that are requisite drinking as the sun goes down over barbeques all across Leytonstone. We'll be featuring some of our crisp new arrivals in white wine to complement impromptu pate-and-bread picnics, and breaking out the voluptuous reds that pair perfectly with partially cooked sausages and frazzled burgers. We might even start with a cheeky cocktail or two to get us in the mood, and throw in a chilled red to complement the chaotic spirit of summer al fresco.
A Whiter Shade of Pale: The Best Rosés of the Season - £26
Thursday 2nd August
Rosé wine is now a staple product and is enjoying phenomenal popularity, with skittle-shaped Provencal bottles on dinner tables everywhere in the city. Still, for many of us rosé epitomises summer, and there's no doubt that this is the time for this newly fashionable style to shine. Tonight we are showcasing a selection that oozes cool summer style. We like the crunch of cabernet franc in Saumur, the spicy hit of bandol, the class of pinot noir in Burgundy, and the perfume of xinomavro pink, to name a few. Pack your bathing costume - the rosé's lovely.
Blank Canvas: What Am I Drinking? - £29
Thursday 9th August
In the introduction we reminisced about how our early tastings were truly informal and showcased what was new, what had caught our attention, and also what tasters wanted to try. It was a bit messy but a lot of fun so we wanted to bring this type of freeform event back. Sometimes we'll just have received some new wines that we last tasted months ago on a buying trip, which we're dying to open and introduce to you. Or perhaps we'll have had a haul of old claret land, and we reckon you would want to know what Leoville Barton 1996 tastes like as much as we do. We might have a small parcel of something fun and interesting that wouldn't fit into our tasting theme for that week but which we want an opportunity to show off. Whatever the weather, tonight we'll be featuring the wines that are getting us excited!
On the Beach: Coastal Wines - £28
Thursday 16th August
Wines have so much to say about where they are grown, as last month's Volcanic tasting demonstrated. Tonight we take our tastebuds to the seaside, and explore those vineyards which don't mind burying their roots in sand and the vines which happily cling to the cliffs with the salt wind in their tendrils. Our tasting will transport us from the windswept coast of Portugal to the cocoon of St. Tropez, the fringe of South Africa to the surfer's paradise of California. Bring a bucket, a spade and your wine glass – we're off to the seaside!
Pétillant: Wines with Sparkle - £25
Thursday 23rd August
Have you ever noticed a little fizz in a bottle of young white wine? As winemakers reduce sulphur they are often bottling wine with some natural carbon dioxide which will give the wine an initial spritz and prickle on the tongue, but most importantly it gives freshness and lift to the flavour. There are plenty of wines whose gentle fizz is part of their personality, such as Vinho Verde from Portugal and Txacoli from the Basque coast of Spain. Then, thinking about wines that don't use the traditional method of Champagne, but which still have effervescence, we present Prosecco and the darling of the natural wine world, Pet Nat – a cloudy, bottle-conditioned sparkling. Plenty to put a pep in your step!
Road Trip: Dijon to Venice - £30
Thursday 30th August
All the best summer holidays are in wine country. It makes sense: grapes need heat to grow, and people whose lives are based around the vine tend to know their way around a good time. Tonight we'll be jumping in Theatre of Wine's camper van and taking a trip along Europe's highways, starting in the north of France and pitching camp at the most tempting spots on the road to Venice, from Burgundy to Valais, Savoie to Alto Adige, Verona to the Collio hills north-east of the floating city.
Yardsale - Pizza and Wine Night - £20
Friday 31st August - Leytonstone only
In May we welcomed the boys from Yardsale Pizza to Theatre of Wine and, for the price of three pints of craft beer, mixed two things that are made for each other: pizza and wine. The event was so popular we will be providing the same generous portions of both to round off summer in style. We will be introducing you to some of our favourite new wines and recommending great pairings such as pinot noir with those tricky white sauce pizzas and crisp sauvignon blanc to cut though tangy goats' cheese. We can cater for gluten free, vegetarians and vegans so please advise on dietary requirements when booking. Salute!