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Step-by-step: wine tasting event

Organising an evening of wine tasting is simple - all you need is a group of enthusiastic supporters, some good wines and someone who knows their Chardonnay from their Sauvignon blanc!

1. Decide whether you want to draw on the experience of one of your supporters, employ the services of a local wine merchant (perhaps free of charge in exchange for advertising their services), or book an accredited expert from an organisation such as AWE (Association of Wine Educators).

2. Agree a date with your wine expert, allowing plenty of time to promote the event. Book a venue. Decide whether to provide food and other refreshments. If you want to keep the need for volunteers to a minimum, ask people to bring their own soft drinks and bread, cheese, snacks and nibbles.

3. If needed, hire wine glasses and put jugs of water and glasses on each table. You might also want to provide chunks of bread to help cleanse the palate between wines. Provide 'tasting cards' and pens for each guest so that tasters can take notes.

4. Publicise the event by displaying posters, and ask the 
wine merchant to do the same. Order wine tasting posters 
from Charity Print Shop (£9.95 for 10 x A3 posters, plus p&p). 
The better your posters look, the more heads they'll turn!

5. Sell tickets in advance and encourage adults to invite friends along. Taking into account your costs, decide a suitable ticket price per head. Offer a discount on tables of eight or ten to promote bulk sales.

Wine tasting tips and advice

Licensing: Wine tasting is considered to be 'the supply of alcohol', and as such requires a TEN under the Licensing Act 2003 (England and Wales) - unless your event is held on licensed premises. Other licences may apply - check with your local authority.

Raffles: Raffles are a great way to boost takings - ask for prize donations from local businesses and run a cloakroom-ticket-style raffle on the night, which doesn't require a licence. 

Tasting card: There are many templates on the internet that you can download and use as a tasting card if you are doing it yourself. Have options to comment on the colour and intensity, aroma, flavour, texture and complexity, as well as a simple 'do you like it?'.

Amount:  The general rule of thumb for determining how much wine to pour per person is 60ml per wine for each tasting (approximately 12 servings per bottle).

Wine tasting success story:

Helen Gibson, PTA member, Bangor Grammar School, Northern Ireland: 'Our wine tasting evening is one of the most popular events on our fundraising calendar. This year, the sub-committee approached a local wine merchant  who agreed to host the event free of charge. Two sub-committee members met with him to agree the quantity and variety of wines to have on the night. Once a suitable date had been confirmed, we began organising stalls, advertising, ballot prizes and catering. Every year, a small number of local businesses are approached to provide stalls selling items such as jewellery, cards, jams and chutneys. All we ask is that each stallholder provides a prize for the raffle that takes place at the end of the night. Several local businesses were also approached for assistance with catering costs, and, thanks to their generosity, we were able to provide cheese boards to accompany the wine at no extra cost. All that was left to do was to advertise the event. The event was very successful, with approximately 65 people attending. Tickets cost £10 per head and together with raffle sales, we raised £818 on the night. Once the cost of the wine had been deducted, a total profit of £518 was made - a great result!'

Download a PDF of this step-by-step guide to running a wine tasting event

The above is intended as guidance only. We recommend that you contact the relevant organisations with specific reference to insurance, legal, health and safety and child protection requirements. Community Inspired Ltd cannot be held responsible for any decisions or actions taken by an organisation based on the guidance provided.

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