Get your corkscrews limbered up, oenophiles because next week is London Wine Week (23-29 May). There's a whole seven days of tastings, dinners, tours and deals to choose from, with more than 125 venues taking part. To get started you'll need to buy a wristband (£10) from the hub in Devonshire Square or online, then it’s up to you to go forth and enjoy. Here's the best of what to expect.
Chill in the sun with fizz and rose
The Nyetimber Hub is where you pick up a wristband and get started. The hub has a terrace where you can enjoy a flight of (ever more impressive) English sparkling wine, plus there's a Wines of Portugal Bar, and a one focused on rose — that classic summer aperitif. If you want to branch out from wine a little, try the Drink.Up London Vermouth Bar for a selection of lower ABV vermouths.
Wine at bargain prices
London's largest self-guided wine tasting will whiz through 20 different countries, with over 500 wines available to try in 125 venues. Wine flights will start from just £5, and it's a good chance to try different styles, and sample varieties that might usually be out of price range, such as Furmint from Tokaj in Hungary — one of our favourite regions.
Some of London's best wine bars are involved too, as you’d imagine. On Monday, take a masterclass in wines of the Loire Valley at Sager and Wilde, for example, a trendy east London spot with a Californian wine focus (they also do a mean cheese toastie).
Our pick of the dinners is the FAT and WINE dinner, taking place at superb gastropub the Draper's Arms in Islington on 24 May. Chef Neil Rankin (Pitt Cue, Smokehouse, author of Low and Slow) will team up with Ruth Spivey (Wine Car Boot, Craft London, Andrew Edmunds) and Coco Stebbings (River Cafe, Lyle's, Genuwine) to make a restaurant dream team. A single sitting five-course dinner will celebrate one of the greatest ingredients — fat — and of course, wine.
There will also be a Loire Valley wines summer BBQ on a rooftop, a BYO Banquet, a 10th anniversary 'best of Vinoteca' celebration, a Sicilian long lunch, and a number of twilight banquets. See the website for details of all events and dinners.
Train your taste buds
WSET, the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, will be running a crash course in food and wine pairing, aimed at people who already have a basic wine knowledge but want to raise their game. Taking place at Terroirs, the event is on 24 May and will be hosted by Master of Wine and WSET tutor, Michelle Cherutti-Kowal MW. It includes a tutored tasting of five wines paired alongside a selection of Terroirs' small plates, desserts, and cheese. Tickets are £45 and can be booked via the WSET website.
Taste the first wine produced in London
London Cru, the first wine produced in London, takes over the list at The Hide Bar, with all wines available by the glass. There will also be a tasting session on 24 May, hosted by Gavin Monery, head winemaker at London Cru.
Wind up the week at a wine dance party
Genuwine will host a dance party at Ruby's in Dalston. There will be back to back RnB, soul and hip hop classics from the Clove Club's Daniel Willis and of course, plenty of wine, from a list curated by sommelier Courtney Stebbings. It's free entry, too.
Find details of all London Wine Week events, plus ticket and booking information on the website.