School was never this fun

I popped along to the OAK N4 Wine + Social evening the other night and was warmly welcomed by our host for the evening Raul Diaz. You may have seen him on Sunday Brunch as their wine expert.

Now Raul’s running these monthly Wine & Social Evenings where you can socialise and learn about wine in a practical and fun way. These sessions are information-packed, one-hour tutorials where he dispenses the hints and tips that will grow your knowledge and confidence when presented with wine in a variety of settings.

We kicked off the evening with a glass of delicious Simonsig Sparkling Rose. His advice is always to lay on some fizz at the start of an evening or when friends come round for dinner. It helps break the ice and makes everyone feel special.

Next he asked us how we selected wine in a shop, what were the things we looked for? Intuition, grape variety, country of origin and price all came up but surprisingly he said the label was very important too. Especially those modern and fun labels that started with New World wines and have been adopted by some of the regions of the Old World, like Galicia in north west Spain and Puglia and Basilicata in southern Italy. All the wines we tasted were presented covered up (blind in wine trade speak) The Flower and the Bee was the wine chosen for this label exercise. Made from organic Treixadura grapes, check out the bottle’s label next time you’re in. It’s as fun and easy-going as the wine itself. It seems that you can judge a book by its cover.

Then he went on to explain how to select wine in a restaurant, how to ask for help from the sommelier, remember the style that you like, and even use your mobile. With this we tasted Valcheta Malbec. Next up was selecting wines for food and wine matching with which we had Meerlust Red.

And finally, how to select wines to create a social event and use all our creativity on top of what we had learnt so far. For this he chose Parcela #7, a chunky red from his home country of Chile. This Bordeaux blend had us all fooled with most of us guessing it was French or Italian.

Upcoming Wine + Social Evenings

  • October – Food and wine matching – basic tips to create great pairings
  • November – Wine faults and how to detect them
  • February – How to run your own wine tasting – step-by-step
  • March – Wines with oak – more about its importance
  • April – Music and wine – the very latest trend, matching tunes with wines


Why not go along, learn a little, taste some wine and meet some new people?

You can book here

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