This weekend we headed to the capital for some pre-Halloween fun at the Tesco Wine Fair. Now to the uninitiated this is an annual Fair which is organised by Tesco Wines and the associated website – where you can buy wine by the case and for £12 you can taste, sample and get merry on over 300 wines.
Now I’m not much of a wine buff so this is a great opportunity to try out a few different bottles, which you would actually see on Tesco’s shelves. But tickets are hot potatoes and always sell out well in advance, so if you are interested in attending keep an eye on their Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/TescoWines Last year I was lucky enough to be invited by my friend, Alice, who’d been let in on the secret and we enjoyed sampling a few lesser known and more expensive wine names. Although we still had fun at this year’s fair, I think the more common brand names (one which even I recognised) dominated the stands – Blossom Hill, Echo Falls, Jacobs Creek were all represented. This was the second year that we both enjoyed trying out Yellow Tail’s Ruby Roo, controversially a chilled red. Plus, we took up residence at the Lanson Champagne stand making our way and through the entire selection on offer. Generally as the session progresses, your best sampling plans get more and more chaotic. But on arrival, the organisers hand out tasting wine glasses for your 25ml shots and a guidebook. On previous occasions, we were much more diligent and marked down using a traffic light system which wines we hated and adored in our guide book, this year, however, I resulted to simply photographing all the good ones! (That was quite a few).
You can tell the pro-tasters by the little cloth wine glass cases hanging round their necks! The other thing that you have to do on arrival is make a b-line for the Workshops kiosk. The Fair has a selection of workshops for people to sample wines whilst actually learning about the alcohol they slurp – be warned the Champagne and the popular wine workshops go fast! In the end we secured four tickets for the Iberian wines workshop (whilst tickets were literally disappearing in front of our eyes), which opened up a whole new world of Portuguese wines to me and my fellow revelers. Last year’s dessert wines workshop was also particularly fab and was an area I knew relatively little about. Now it has been rumoured that this was the last year Tesco would be running the fair (you know what with budget cuts and all) but I can absolutely confirm from the horses mouth that there will certainly be a series 2016 Fair! Yay!
Things to know about the Tesco Wine Fair:
- Tickets come in sessions, morning or afternoon, and as you can imagine, PM slots go first!
- Follow them on Twitter for ticket sale announcements.
- Each stall has water and crackers to help clear the palette between tastings, just help yourself!
And if you’re looking for somewhere to chow down before heading to the Wine Fair which this year was held at London Olympia, why not try Bill Wymans’ (of Rolling Stone fame) Sticky Fingers, an Americana restaurant serving beefy burgers with a host of Southern American sides, including Mac n’ Cheese. Also do try a shake, they were awesome! We headed here for an early lunch to catch up and line the stomachs!