Private Wine Clubs


There may be hundreds of wine clubs in the UK . Some of them have pages in the magazine, but many are completely private. This means that their membership is closed, or open only to a limited group of people, and guests must be introduced by existing members.


Private wine clubs usually develop out of an existing organisation. Companies often have a recreational association, which may get a subsidy, so that events are limited to members. There may be security issues if meetings are held on private premises. In other cases, a group of friends meets to enjoy wine and each other’s company, and is not looking to expand.

University wine clubs have been introducing students to good wine for many years, and they often get sponsorship from their Student Union and local wine merchants. Staff can often join in, and sometimes alumni – it’s worth checking if you live near your alma mater.

We are delighted to have reports from private clubs – to find out what you taste, who presents the wines and how you respond to them. If you have wine tours or holidays, please tell us about them. We may get jealous, but we won’t gatecrash your meetings, we promise.


How do you go about starting a wine club? The first thing to do is to find out if your office, social club or professional organisation already has one – perhaps it isn’t very well publicised. If there is a sports and social club, ask the committee about starting a wine group – they may well have a subsidy on offer and access to publicity. Talk to your friends and colleagues and discover who might be interested. Then find a room and call the first meeting. You might just buy in a few bottles and taste them casually, or ask your friendly local merchant to come in.

Once you have started, try to put together a regular calendar of events, so that people can keep their diaries free. Look through ideas, for topics, for presenters, for wines that you would like to try.


Once you have a group of interested people, and a regular programme, you may be ready to increase the size of the club. Obviously, you will keep introducing new friends and contacts, as people move on, and as you find that a bigger group can taste better wines. If you run out of contacts, then think about advertising more widely – talk to other wine clubs in your area: their members may want to go to more than one tasting a month. And, when you are ready, give us a page for the clubs section.