school deskTerm starts next week for the children, and then it'll be 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.

three bottles of wineDuring 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:

Gravesend Adult Education Centre, Kent

Wine Tasting – Pinot or Prosecco?

November 1 2017, 1 week only, 3hrs, 6.30pm-9.30pm, £40

Gravesend Adult Education Centre, Kent

Ale Tasting – Local Ales

June 27 2018, 1 week only, 3hrs, 6.30pm-9.30pm, £40

Exeter College, Laurence Building, Hele Road site

Wine Tasting for Beginners

March 5 to March 26 2018, 4 weeks Monday evenings, 6pm – 8pm, £95

Knuston Hall, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire Adult Learning Courses

Wine Tasting Experience Day (including lunch)

January 13 2018, 10am – 4pm Saturday, £77.20

Boroughmuir High School, Edinburgh Community Learning

Wine Appreciation – Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced

September 25, 26 and 28 2017, 10 weeks Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 7pm – 9pm, £60

Queen's University Belfast

Wine Appreciation – Introduction, A World of Wine, Another World of Wine

September 25, October 30 2017 and January 15 2018, 5 weeks Monday evenings 7.30pm – 9.30pm, £85

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.

Book soon to avoid disappointment.

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