Free wine at work on a Friday afternoon? Where do I sign up? That was my colleagues’ reaction when they saw that I was running a wine-tasting session as part of Learning at Work Week.
No training session at my workplace has ever proved so popular. When it was announced, all the places were booked within an hour.
In fact, there was even a waiting list.
The idea for the session came to me last year when I was studying for my Wine and Spirit Education Trust Level 3 exam. I could share some of my new knowledge with my colleagues, I thought.
So this year I devised a much simplified version of what I had learnt – and added a wine challenge at the end to make it more fun.
I roped in a colleague who’s also a wine buff to run the session with me. What I didn’t know was that he’s a fan of French wines too. The rest of the world didn’t get a look in with our selection.
At 3pm yesterday, 20 colleagues took their places for the 90-minute session.
We began – unusually – with a red, a Fleurie, one of Beaujolais’ Crus. We deliberately opted for supermarket wines, so that our colleagues could relate to our choices.
Our choice was from Asda’s Extra Special range. Choosing a red for the opener allowed us to talk about tannins – or, in this case, the lack of them.
“What I didn’t know was that he’s a fan of French wines too. The rest of the world didn’t get a look in with our selection”
After running through what to look for in terms of colour, intensity, aroma, sweetness, acidity, tannin, body and flavours, we moved on to our wine challenge.
We offered 3 white wines and 3 red, each served blind. The idea was for participants to use the tasting notes we provided to work out which was which.
For the whites, we served:
- Taste the Difference Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, 2015 (£7, Sainsbury’s)
- Louis Dupleix Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, 2015 (£10, Lidl)
- Domaine Mandeville Viognier, Pays d’Oc, 2015 (£8.50, M&S)
For the reds, we served:
- Nicolas Potel Bourgogne Pinot Noir, 2014 (£11, Majestic)
- E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône, 2013 (£11, Waitrose)
- Château La Tulipe de la Garde, Bordeaux Supérieur, 2014 (£9, Sainsbury’s)
The participants split into pairs. First they tasted the whites then the reds in a random order and tried to work out which was which.
We put spittoons out but nobody used them. Perhaps if they had looked less like buckets we’d borrowed from the cleaners, they might have. Probably not, though.
One of the group scored a full 6 out of 6. I’d like to think that it was my teaching skills that helped them do so well.
Even if it wasn’t, feedback was – unsurprisingly – very good and it has already been suggested that I should repeat the session during Inclusion Week in October. That’s when we encourage staff to learn about other people and cultures.
More free wine on a Friday afternoon? Don’t mind if I do!