I don't know whether it's a sign of economic desperation or plain good sense but more and more wine organisations are holding tastings not just for the wine trade but for the people who really matter - consumers. (Though while we professionals expect such perks for free, amateurs have to pay.)
On Wednesday, 18 June, a substantial group of New Zealand wine producers, New Zealand Winegrowers, is putting on a tasting for wine enthusiasts at the Chelsea Galleria, the 'gallery' overlooking Chelsea football ground in Ken Bates' little slice of heaven at Stamford Bridge, Fulham Road, London SW6 1HS from 6.00pm to 8.30pm.
Over 500 people attended last year's event and I certainly received some positive feedback. A wide range of wines will be available from 24 of New Zealand's most enthusiastic exporters of wine to the UK. They include Allan Scott Wines, Coopers Creek, Cloudy Bay Vineyards, Esk Valley, Gladstone Vineyard, Grove Mill, Highfield Wines, Jackson Estate, Kim Crawford Wines, Lincoln, Matua Valley Wines, Montana Wines, Ngatarawa Wines, Nga Waka, Nobilo Wines, Palliser Estate Wines, Seifried Estate, Selaks Wines, Sileni Estates, The Crossings, Vavasour, Vidal Estates, Villa Maria and Waipara West.
Two masterclasses during the evening are also planned, given by affable NZ-born, UK-based Master of Wine Peter McCombie on Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
Tickets for the tasting are £15 each (or 11 for the price of 10). For further information, please contact New Zealand Winegrowers, New Zealand House, 80 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4TE (tel 0207 973 8079, email firstname.lastname@example.org).