Homed under the amazing, and historic Victorian railway arches routing from Charing Cross and London Bridge is situated this wine oasis. A Mecca to learn about wine, how it is produced and what different variances exist. There are five restaurants attached to this large complex, a wine seller / off license and the main museum / learning experience it self.
We arrived and were given Vinopolis debit cards to hang onto and then led into an auditorium. There we were given a glass of wine each, promptly told not to drink it, and then presented with a video to watch covering the complex facilities and information on how to best use the experience. With the video finished one of the Vinopolis employees begins hosting a wine tasting lesson. Learning how to look, smell and taste the wine so as to best enjoy our experience, but also take away with us to enjoy in the long term.
Feeling pretty confident after our lesson we were let loose in the main area to try any number of wines. Reds, Whites, Roses, sparkling, and even spirits are on offer. At this point the reason we are given a house debit card becomes clear as it’s explained we can use them in wall mounted machines which house the featured wines. On the card lie preloaded credits, with some wines being one, and some expensive ones being as much as 4.
Knowing how to taste wine is totally different from knowing what wines to actually try; fortunately there is help on hand to identify what your true likes and dislikes will be. Interactive touch screen tables take you through your tastes and match up appropriate wines to try.
We found a couple of great wines during our wanderings around that we had not tried before – smoky, floral, deep, fruity, full & rounded. You’ll learn all the expressions and know what they mean – but frankly the overriding feeling we had when meandering around was how much fun it was! The staff are on hand to offer support and the all-round vibe is lively, yet unpretentious.
Most people surely have the impression that wine-tasting isn’t for them – everyone feels confident about what wines they buy at the ‘local offie’ and stick with them. Despite this I was so surprised about how useful the information is that you learn here. Surely most people who like a tipple like their wines, and if there is any way you can enhance that enjoyment with a bit of good old fashioned know-how, then hey, this reviewer is better for it.
£5 – four credits
£10 – eight credits
£27 – Essential Tasting Experience – inc. 7 credits.
Tel: 0207 940 7692
1 Bank End, Southwark, SE1 9BU