If you want to learn about wine or you just fancy a bit of variety in your drinking, then nothing beats a good wine fair. I remember the first one I attended, it was run by Oddbins in Edinburgh in 1999. Actually I don’t remember that much about it apart from a man lying on the stairs saying ‘I’m so drunk, I’m so drunk.’ Since then I’ve been to a lot of fairs both as a paying customer and as a journalist. They are a mixed bag: some have great stuff on tasting but they’re very expensive and others seem to offer great value for money but most of the wines on offer are quite dull (I’m thinking of a particularly well-known wine fair affiliated with a Sunday newspaper here.)
The Wine Gang – a group made up of some of the country’s most prestigious and best-looking wine writers – are putting on their own Christmas wine fair in Bath, 2nd November, London, 9th November, and Edinburgh, 30th November. They’ve got some pretty impressive exhibitors lined up including Berry Bros, Gonzalez-Byass sherry and Charles Heidsieck champagne. Tickets are only £20 but readers of World of Booze can go for £12 if they quote ‘Blog 40’ when buying online tickets. For this you get to try hundreds of wines. It also gives you 10% of the masterclasses. It seems like extraordinary value for money; I reckon I could drink £12 worth of wine within about ten minutes of arrival. There must be some sort of catch, I thought, perhaps the whole thing is actually a recruiting drive for a new religion loosely based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. Joanna Simon, wine writer for House & Garden, assures me that this is not the case. If readers can think of any better-value wine tastings, I’d love to hear about them.