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London wine tasting tour

Set under the old railway arches of London Bridge, Vinopolis offers a chance for novices and connoisseurs alike to sample some of the world's finest and tastiest wines.

As much as I enjoy a nice glass of cold Sauvignon Blanc, that's about as far as my wine knowledge goes. But that's where Vinopolis' wine tours come in.

The three senses

The tour begins with a 'how to taste wine' session led by a team of friendly and expert staff. I was instructed on the systematic approach to tasting wine by the very knowledgeable and very Italian Mariarita.

The approach to tasting wine involves three senses – sight, smell and taste. Mariarita demonstrated with finesse, the best way to hold the glass, how to swirl the glass like a sommelier, what smells to look for (fruits, spices, vegetables) and finally how to properly taste the wine.

"Slurp the wine like through a straw, or like eating a big bowl of Spaghetti Bolognese," she instructed.

Not sure if I mastered the slurping method, but I walked away much more confident in my wine tasting abilities than before.

Self-guided tours

Vinopolis offers numerous different experiences, catering to every type of drinker. The cheapest option is to do a self-guided tour and explore wines and spirits from around the world on your own.

Apart from their popular wine tours, Vinopolis also provides an impressive selection of rum, whiskey, beer, absinthe and champagne tours . For a really good time, why not combine them all?

But if you'd like a little more instruction, there are also guided tours available too.

New versus old

Participants walk through various rooms in this magnificent structure and using vouchers purchased beforehand (don't worry, you can purchase more during the tour), select the wines that you would like to sample.

As I strolled through each room, I first sampled some premium wines, followed by old world wines, before slurping a couple of new world wines and finally sampling some of the finest grape juice the Americas have to offer.

Indeed, there was a Canadian wine that was made from cassis and tasted more like Ribena than wine.

Safe to say, it's a good idea to eat something beforehand, or at least purchase some snacks at the Brindisa tapas bar. This Spanish food producer also has a stand at the neighbouring Borough Market.

Lesson learned

Vinopolis is the ideal place to learn about wine, have fun with friends or just get a little tipsy before heading out for the night. It also makes for a great gift or party destination – there were two hen do's on the Saturday afternoon that I went.

The best part is that after the tour, you can go to the Laithwaites Wine shop next door and bring some of the wine you tasted home with you!

Alexia Dellner



No. 1 Bank End
+44 (0) 207 940 3000

Closest station: London Bridge

Opening times:
Thursday – Friday: 2pm-10pm
Saturday: 12pm-10pm
Sunday: 12pm-6pm

Prices vary and start from £27.50