...there's both eatin' and drinkin' in it

Pop Goes The Wine Course

Spot of bubbly, anyone? Well, I am in the mood for celebrating, after all.

I’ve spent the past couple of months topping up my knowledge of all things vine-related with study for a WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) Intermediate Certificate, which culminated with a final exam last night. The WSET course (ably presented by Maureen from Premier Wine Training), has taught me, among other things, that this champagne from Bruno Paillard is really a rather good one to celebrate with.

Champagne Bruno Paillard

Champagne Bruno Paillard

But why bother with a wine course? On a recent taxi journey, I ended up explaining my reasons for same to the driver. Among them, that I was in the habit, through the good offices of this blog, of being invited to wine tastings. His ears perked up.

Taxi-Man: “For free, like? Jaze, that’s a cheap night out, wha?”

Me: “Umm, well, yes, I suppose…”

Taxi-Man: “Wudya drink enough to get drunk, like?”

Me: (diplomatically) “Er, well, if that was your intention…”

Taxi-Man: “Ah, shure it’s great to get something for nothing”

I think the taxi-man would have been horrified if I had told him that, in actual fact, after a certain amount of judicious swirling, a lot of the wine at these tastings gets spat right back out. Rather than shatter his illusions, I thought it best to keep that particular piece of information to myself.

Thing is, of course, that everyone has their own take on wine. Mostly when we buy a bottle, it gets drunk (as, occasionally, do we) within 24 hours. We like some bottles better than others, we perhaps get to know a few brand or grape names that we look out for if we’re buying and we quaff away. It certainly doesn’t require a qualification to enjoy it, though a little education can make the process of choosing wine that bit more hit than miss. The best part, though, is that studying wine, by its nature, involves a lot of tasting. Spitting, the taxi-man will be delighted to know, is entirely optional.

Even if a wine course doesn’t interest you, there are plenty of other wine-based events where you can enjoy a lot and perhaps learn a little. These are a few of the upcoming events that I know of:

For those of you serious about wines and the food to go with them, next Tuesday 29th March sees Sean Allison of Château du Seuil and Château L’Avocat in Bordeaux host a wine dinner at the Restaurant @ Donnybrook Fair, in association with Tindal Wine Merchants. Cost: €60 per person / €100 per couple; Contact: restaurant@donnybrookfair.ie

If that’s a bit much for your pocket, €20 will bag you a ticket for the Irish Times Australian wine tasting, on Thursday 7th April at 6.30pm in Ely wine bar, Custom House Quay, Dublin. The event is hosted by John Wilson, wine columnist with the Irish Times, and John McDonnell of Wine Australia, lovely gents both. Click here to book.

Cheaper again, and always good for a laugh, is #twebt, the Irish-based twitter blind tasting event, which returns to your computers this Sunday, March 27th. A carefully disguised bottle of the mystery wine, this time supplied by The Corkscrew Wine Shop, along with an internet connection and twitter account is all you need to participate. See here for more details.


  1. Michelle

    I live in a great wine producing area. We won’t be here for that long, 6 more months. Every chance I get I head out for an estate tour and tasting. I LOVE it! Now if I could get gigs like yours I would be a set woman!

  2. Daily Spud

    …and if I could get to live in a wine producing area for a while, Michelle, I’d be pretty happy too!

  3. Catherine

    Definitely agree, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed WSET courses to date. They were a fantastic way to get to taste and learn about much larger range of wine that I otherwise would not have been exposed to. Though I have learned lots, they have also shown me how much more I have to learn ;-)

  4. Daily Spud

    Oh absolutely, Catherine, this only scratches the surface. There’s so much more to be learned, a lifetime’s worth, in fact.

  5. Tim

    Aw, I thought accidentally stashed and dangerously placed 10-year-old bottles of wine might get a mention ;-)

  6. Daily Spud

    I’m saving that for the dark underbelly sequel, Tim!

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