Edinburgh Wine School



Press and Journal - 06/02/2010

...We were greeted by Margaret D. Smith, of the Edinburgh Wine School. Margaret has the enviable job title of wine educator and provides wine tastings to industry professionals, private groups and tourists. During the festival, she runs extremely popular Wine in the City classes, and it was this which we were having a preview of.

I was slightly nervous before the tasting. Prior to the class, I had tasted many, many wines, though I had never been to an actual tasting. My knowledge went as far as the three main wine groups – red, white and rose. Oh, dear. My partner and I settled down at our stations and, in front of us, there were six glasses of different sizes and shapes, each filled with a different poison.

We were taught how to nose a wine, and why it is important. The scent reaches an area of your brain which brings back memories, suggesting places where you may have smelled that scent previously. Once you have taken a teaspoon amount of the wine into your mouth and swished it around, some of the scent again travels up the back of your throat, matching up with the scent you nosed previously. If anyone had told me that before I went, I would have probably scoffed, but here I was nodding in agreement.

The first glass, a sweet Madeira wine, brought back memories of liquorice. Louis Roederer Champagne (also known as Cristal’s mum) left my mouth watering with the taste of strawberries, and an Albarino-based white wine was full of fruity pineapple punch. Eat your heart out Jilly Goulding. I was amazed to see my partner, who isn’t normally the biggest fan of wine, engrossed in conversation with Margaret, soaking in every piece of information. Great, I thought, he’s going to be a nightmare at dinner.

The class really was fantastic, though, both educational and entertaining, and we left on a high – whether natural or alcohol-induced I’m not sure. I blame the liqueur Muscat (with aromas of Christmas cake, ginger, cinnamon ... oh, goodness, away I go again)....

Wine In The City 2009

Bernie Greenwood Hairline Magazine

Elegantly set in City Chambers the lesson starts, encouragingly, with a glass of bubbly and salty aperitifs, although you will have to forgive the cheesy music. Little time is wasted, and you will be tasting several wines, the worst of which is rather good and the best of which are stunning. The lesson naturally revolves around the essential techniques of inspecting and sampling the wines, but there are also relevant points of geography, history, and botany in moderate yet useful amounts — enough to pique your interest and clue you in, nothing boring or gratuitous. The hostess is bright and chatty and mercifully not addicted to impenetrable and lofty adjectives. Despite what you might think, this is not a snobbish event (unless, of course, many snobs attend).

What lifts this event above some other wine tasting session is the ingenuity of the selection. If you are at all attentive to taste and smell you will be taken on a highly dynamic sensory journey. One wine differs to the next markedly, there are whole dimensions of flavour to explore and what Edinburgh Wine School has achieved is to bring the distinct character of each bottle into sharp relief by being carefully grouped. Don’t be put off by the comparatively expensive ticket, if you mentally subtract the price of a few glasses of wine this lesson is excellent value for money. You will finish the session happier, wiser, and probably more than a little drunk.

Rating 5/5 5 Stars

Three Weeks Website

Do you know your Manzanilla from your Pedro-Ximénez? Your Ribera Del-Duero from your Gerverstraminer? Of course you don't, so you're the perfect candidate for the Edinburgh Wine School. Don't be fooled by grandiose chandeliers, posh people in suits and operatic music, the objective is to have fun. Despite struggling to control her crowd somewhat (They'd had a few cheeky ones before arriving!!!), the knowledgeable and endearing guide Margaret makes the night. She could talk you into your grave about the benefits of the soil pH in southeast Spain if wanted to, but she chooses to keep it light and entertaining. By the end you'll have grasped the Sniff, Swirl, Slurp routine, have some interesting titbits about the country in study, and consumed a vast quantity of truly gorgeous wine.

Rating 4/5 4 Stars

Wine In The City 2008

Bernie Greenwood Hairline Magazine

Promising to awaken the inner wine critic in you, Wine in the City gets off to a good start by seating you with a glass before anything else has happened. This family outfit pulls out all the stops, there’s plenty of paper to read and a projected presentation to boot. The impression is clear: you are getting The Treatment. The basic format is to taste six wines in succession and search for similarities and differences. Armed with this experience the make-up of every glass thereafter should be a little clearer, thereby making you a more cultured and therefore better person. Rather than saving the finest bottle 'til last as a climax, we are given it third. While effective at showing the contrast in quality – just wait until you try the mid-priced fourth bottle! – it’s almost cruel: you’ll never want an inferior sip again.

Rating 4/5 4 Stars

Bernie Greenwood Hairline Magazine

Wine In The City
Edinburgh Wine School
It proved a long, rich, flavoursome experience, involving a full body of information on tasting and on the history of wine-making. The wines (coincidentally an anagram of my name) were French, so we tasted those produced in the Burgundy, Bordeaux and Alsace regions. We were given a step-by-step guide to systematic tasting, from eyes to nose to mouth, and carefully prodded into giving our own opinions and coming up with our own descriptions of the flavours, a task which became easier as the event went on. A wonderfully educational experience - I've never found learning so easy to absorb...
Edinburgh Training Centre, 2 - 24 Aug, times vary, prices vary, fpp 131.

Rating 4/5 4 Stars

Three Weeks Magazine

Champagne & Chocolate 18 August

Very informative, delivered in a professional and amiable manner. Thank you.
Rachel – UK

Australian Wine Tasting 6 August

Great night! Tasted 6 Fabulous Australian wines – very educational, professional and a lot of fun.
Karen - UK

Spanish Wine Tasting

Didn’t know quite what to expect – but Margaret & Gemma, the lovely hosts were just superb!!! We thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon of swirling, sniffing and (not) spitting. The wines were fabulous and the information passed on was interesting and left you wanting more! We’ve booked for another already – can’t wait!! Don’t hesitate just do it!
Zoe Porter - Scotland