Stylish settings for soirées with a sommelier

Firmdale Hotels’ à la carte and bespoke wine courses

Those who don’t plan to hurl themselves on the January detox wagon might be tempted by a series of chic new wine courses being hosted by London’s über-stylish Firmdale Hotels, whose properties include The Soho Hotel (second picture) and the Charlotte Street Hotel (third picture).

Options abound. There is a one-day introduction to wine (£175), taking place on Saturday February 2, from 10am to 5pm, which covers the main grape varieties. Extensive tastings will give an understanding of the different characteristics of the wines, while there is also advice on food pairing and a two-course lunch. Participants will receive a Wine & Spirit Education Trust Level 1 Award in Wine.


For a more in-depth exploration, there is the nine-week Looking Behind the Label course (£375).  This runs from 6pm to 8pm on Monday evenings (can there be a better way to start the week?), beginning on January 21. An extensive range of tastings are promised with both Old and New World wines, blends and single varieties – from a Pinot Gris by a biodynamic vineyard in New Zealand to an unfiltered Côtes du Rhône. The final week will also include a champagne and canapé reception, and the course will result in a Wine & Spirit Education Trust Level 2 Award.

For those who like the idea but can’t make these dates, or who prefer something a little more intimate and personal, there’s also the option of bespoke courses, which cater for specific areas of interest and can be tailored to different budgets.


At the helm is Sarah Williams, Firmdale Hotels’ wine expert, who will lead the tasting, week by week, between several of the Firmdale Hotels (Charlotte Street, Covent Garden and The Soho Hotel).