Frequently Asked Questions
- About Blind Tasting
- About the Society
About Blind Tasting
What is blind tasting?
The aim of blind tasting is to identify a wine without seeing the bottle, based on its appearance, smell and taste. By observing its colour, smells, flavours and structure you can often tell where a wine comes from, what grape variety it is made from, how it is made and how old it is. This is very challenging at first, but with practice it becomes possible. Blind tasting is also a great way to learn which sort of wines you like best.
Do you wear blindfolds?
No, we disguise the wine bottles and unveil them at the end. You are allowed to see the wine in the glass, just not the label on the bottle.
What sort of wines do you taste?
We taste fine wines from countries and wine regions all over the world. The wines we taste are made with many different grape varieties and blends and undergo a variety of winemaking methods.
What’s the point?
Blind tasting is a sociable and fast way to learn a lot about wine. Ultimately you will build up a really good idea of how various styles and grape varieties actually taste which is very useful when choosing wine. You also learn a lot about how and where grapes are grown and how this effects the taste of the wine.
Are there blind tasting competitions?
There are several blind tasting competitions. There is an annual Varsity Blind Wine Tasting Match against Cambridge in Hilary Term. The winner of this match taste against the French champions in Champagne during the summer. There are also the Vingt sur Vin competition specifically for Bordeaux wines, held annually in Bordeaux in Trinity Term, and the Sciences Po International Tasting Competition held in Champagne. We also hold internal competitions both for beginners and for more experienced tasters. You do not have to taste competetivley if you do not want to. Feel free to come to blind tastings just for fun.
About the Society
Where and when are tastings?
We aim to have between one and two tastings a week during term time increasing in frequency as we move toward the Varsity match at the end of February. Our tastings are usually held in the Les Jones Dining Room at Christ Church. Please see the termcard for more information.
How much do tastings cost?
Tasting prices vary. Members receive a discount on all tasting prices. Members will usually pay around £5 for a tasting, while non-members will usually pay £10.
Do I have to make a booking to attend?
Tastings will always be announced via the mailing list. Please e-mail email@example.com letting us know if you plan to attend. Please also let us know if you have to cancel.
What is the format of tastings?
Our usual format is to taste a selection of wines blind, taking notes as we go, and then to discuss them.
Can beginners attend?
Of course! You do not need to know abnything about wine in advance. Each term we hold series of tutored beginners’ tastings which will teach you all you need to know to get blind tasting. We also hold catch up sessions so don’t worry if you miss as Blind tasting is the ideal way for a beginner to learn. Over the course of a year you will get to sample a huge range of wines. It always teaches you a lot more to taste a wine yourself than simply reading a description of how something is supposed to taste in a book.
What should I bring to a tasting?
You should bring something to write with. If you remember, please print out tasting sheets from the resources page on our site and bring them. If you forget we will always have spares. If you own a set of ISO tasting glasses please bring them too. You can buy a set at any tasting. We can lend glasses to beginners, but if you intend to come regularly you should buy a set of your own.
How do I join?
Membership costs £20. The main benefit of membership is a reduction in tasting prices. For details of joining please see our membership page.
How do I sign up to the mailing list?
Simply submit your e-mail address below. Alternatively follow this link.
Serenata is a proud sponsor of the Oxford Blind Tasting Society