The Tab Tries… Blind Wine Tasting

Each week the Tab gives our verdict on different societies in Oxford.


A glass of wine is the modern-day cup of tea; the 21st century social drink we consume at dinner parties, nights out and in with friends.

One glass is never enough

One glass is never enough

Most of us have no idea about the wine we drink, where it comes from or if it is good quality. This is where The Blind Tasting Society comes in.

I was a bit apprehensive about attending one of their sessions. Like most students I enjoy the odd glass of wine but know jot-all about it.

The session began with the leader, Ren Lim, giving a speech about what we would be doing; the main aim of the society is to guess the wines you taste without seeing the bottle.

In front of me were four glasses of red wine which (to me) all looked, tasted and smelt of what I can only describe as red wine – it became apparent that there was much more to it.

Initially, Henry, a member, said wine Number One had a ‘floral’ flavour. To my astonishment I had written ‘floral’ in my ‘Flavours’ box and began to think maybe I was a natural.

I soon realised this was not the case. From then on it was down-hill; the experts said ‘strong aroma’ –  I had written ‘no aroma’; the experts said ‘high percentage of alcohol’ – I had written ‘low percentage of alcohol’, and so on.

What was brilliant about this society was nobody minded if you didn’t have a clue, they were all happy to help.

'Ah yes, I'm getting a whiff of... red wine, again'

‘Ah yes, I’m getting a whiff of… red wine, again’

By the end, I was eight glasses of wine down and rather enjoying myself. Some members do take the society seriously, entering competitions across Europe and learning from the in-house expert, Hanneke Wilson. But about half the members just attend when they’re in the mood for a few glasses of wine and a social.

For me, there was no need for the tasting to be ‘blind’; even if I had seen the bottle I would have been none the wiser about what I was drinking.

Whether you are a wine-buff or a complete novice you receive a warm welcome.

So, if you fancy joining The Blind Tasting Society, email [email protected].