Vinopolis – the city of wine. Well maybe the wine tasting cellar in London Bridge isn’t quite as big as a city, but it still has quite a big wow factor, and I think it’s a big ‘DO’ if you’re looking for present ideas that are experiences.
And that’s exactly what I organised for Ben’s birthday, after Vinopolis had been recommended to us by friends.
There are three packages, all staggered in price based on the number of glasses of wine you get to taste with each of them. We went for the Classic package, which meant we had between 10 and 15 glasses of wine each.
The tour starts in a mini lecture theatre where we were handed a glass of white wine and an expert talked us through how to correctly taste wine. There are three steps to this, and involve all your senses:
Sight: you have to judge what the wine looks like, what colour it is, and what the ‘legs’ are like to determine the viscosity of the wine.
Smell: to see what scents you can detect in the wine. These can be things like floral, vegetal or oaky. They all just smelt like wine to me though! You also need to be able to tell if the wine is corked.
Taste: this was my favourite one! The guide taught us how to lean forward and suck the wine back through our mouths as if we were sucking through a straw. I didn’t really like doing this though, because: A, I felt like an idiot, and B, all I could taste was alcohol!
The wines were grouped into categories, and positioned in stations so that you could decide what colour and what kind of wine you wanted to try, and then go for a taster.
An interactive survey I did at the beginning based on what my favourite flavours are told me that I should like the ‘Crisp and Dry’ white wines. So we tried these first – and then I had to sample all the other white wines to compare them.
The other stations housed wines that were things like ‘Aromatic and Fruity’ and ‘Full bodied’, and there was another section where you could sample wines from different parts of the world to try and tell the difference between an English wine and a wine from New Zealand.
Having the wine split up into different sections meant that we could try each one at our own pace, in whatever order we fancied, and read about where the wines were from and what they were supposed to taste and smell like. This was good, because even though the experience was interactive, it felt more personal because we could tailor the tour to be exactly what we wanted it to be.
We paused during our tasting experience to order a cheese selection in the restaurant/ bar in the middle of the cellar. They had things on the menu like cheese, olives, special cured meats and freshly baked bread – they knew exactly what we wanted with our wine!
I had a really fun time at Vinopolis, and it’s safe to say that I was feeling fairly wavy by the end of it!
For an experience in central London that was recommended to me, I will definitely be passing the message on and recommending it to you!