What is blind wine tasting?
Blind wine tasting is the art of identifying a wine, in terms of its major characteristics, without any prior knowledge of the wine. The objective is to work out the grape variety, country, region, subregion and vintage using information gleaned from its appearance, smells and taste. More informally, blind wine tasting is a great way to learn which wines you like and which wines you don’t!
Who are CUBWTS?
Cambridge University Blind Wine Tasting Society [CUBWTS] is a society open to anyone who wants to learn more about wine who is a member of the University (student or staff). We have a broad, diverse informal membership with an emphasis on learning about wine in a relaxed, friendly way. We also field the University team for the Varsity match sponsored by Pol Roger, held annually since 1953.
Do I need to know anything about wine before I come?
No! All you need is an interest in wine! Our termcard provides a spiral curriculum, taking you through the very basics of wine tasting to start with, before building up your knowledge and skill. Since we believe wine tasting should be accessible to all, we often re-cover topics so you don’t have to worry about missing the occasional tasting!
Is blind wine tasting competitive?
Yes! Though our weekly tastings are designed to be informal, fun and informative, there is also a competitive element. We provide the team for the annual Varsity match against Oxford University, held since 1953. At the start of lent term (January), we have two selection tastings which determine our 7 best tasters to compete against Oxford. Selection for the team is based entirely on merit, and of course, is entirely voluntary. Being on the team is, of course, great fun!
When do you meet?
Blind wine tastings are held every Sunday evening during term time, from 5pm – 7:30pm. In 2018-19 our Michaelmas and Lent term tastings will be held in the Bevin Room at Churchill College.
How do I join?
Each week our tastings are open to all members of the University, and may be booked on a first come, first serve basis. Tickets will be sold on the website.
Please also subscribe to our mailing list to be notified when events are announced/on sale.
How do I reserve a place at a tasting?
You will find details of forthcoming tastings on our Events page. All reservations are made via our online booking system. We usually aim to open tastings for reservations at 6pm on the Tuesday prior to the tasting on Sunday, unless otherwise advised. For tastings held at other times, look out for details in our emails.
Why do you limit the number of places per tasting?
We try and keep the numbers of people at a tasting manageable. We find that keeping the number of people between 25–40 allows us to have fun, informal and interactive tastings, while retaining a social element to our meetings.
How much does it cost?
There are no membership fees. You simply pay for the tastings you attend. Our standard tastings cost £14. We try to keep the costs manageable, although the society does not make a profit, so all ticket sales go into purchasing the wines. We try and access as many favours as possible (for example College fellows lists) to give us access to interesting/old/expensive wine wherever possible.
Can I pay online?
Yes! You can pay via our website, and your payment is taken through Stripe.
Can I pay on the day?
No! You have to pay online or if there are exceptional circumstances, contact us to make alternative arrangements.
What do I need to bring to the tasting?
For tastings you will require your own tasting glasses. We recommend professional ISO tasting glasses which you may purchase from us either online or at our tastings. Price is only £13 for 6 glasses. We also recommend purchasing our Blind Wine Tasting Guide, which is an indispensable source of information covering all you need to know about blind wine tasting, also £13. Also, bring a pen to take notes!
What happens if I need to cancel my place?
Weekly tickets are non-refundable, but you can sell them on to any of your friends.
How do I subscribe/unsubscribe from the email list?
Visit our subscription page.
What if my question isn’t listed here?
Please contact a member of the CUBWTS committee who will be happy to help. You can find out how to contact the committee here.