school deskTerm has started for the children, and now it's the adults’ turn. Evening classes begin in September and it’s not all about beginner’s French. Wine tasting is still being offered by many local education authorities and if you’re lucky the course will be taught by a wine tutor who is knowledgeable and understands you’ll be nervous when you first arrive.

wine bottlesDuring each two-hour class expect to sniff and taste up to six wines. Your tutor will encourage everyone to describe the wines for themselves, with perhaps a little prompting.

When the course tutor asks the inevitable “so what do think this wine smells of?”, what’s the ‘correct’ thing to say? Expressing your thoughts to a group of strangers is nerve wracking, but you’ve got to say something it’s expected. Just say what the wine aromas smell like, you won’t be wrong.

Most of the rest of the class will nod in agreement and then go on to express their own different, and often contradictory, sentiments. By the end of the course you’ll find there are as many opinions of what a wine ‘should’ smell like as there are class members.

swirling wineNext you’ll be asked to take a large sip of wine and swoosh it around your mouth a bit. This is a good way of allowing taste buds to register a wine’s many flavours. But what does the wine taste off?

Hopefully something fruity (don’t be afraid to say grape). Often red wines taste like darker coloured fruits (blackberries, blackcurrants, plums, cherries) and white wines of lighter coloured fruits (lemons, bananas, melons and apples).

The great benefit of attending wine courses is that each class gives you the chance to try many different wines without having to buy them yourself, and they’re often wines you wouldn’t have been brave enough to try at home.

Wine Appreciation Courses

Here's just a few of the courses coming up around the country:

Strathclyde University

Co-op ViognierWines of Italy, 6 weeks 6-8pm, starts 26 October, £56

other courses start December, January and February

Strode's College, Egham, Surrey

Wine Appreciation – Introduction, 5 weeks 7-9pm, starts 20 September, £80

Tunbridge Wells Adult Education, Kent

Monday Wine Tasting, 4 weeks 7-9pm, starts 24 April 2017, £68

Surrey Adult Learning – Guildford and Farnham Adult Learning Centre

Various wine courses start September, October, November

Queen's University Belfast

Wine Appreciation: A World of Wine, 5 weeks 7.30pm-9.30pm, starts 31 October, £81

If you can't see one listed for your locality then get in touch with your county Adult Education service – brochures can be found at local centres and libraries.

This article also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on