The Ecole du Vin (00 33 5 56 00 22 66), in the heart of Bordeaux, starts up its summer courses next week (5 June to 20 September). Courses range from two hours to a week, and will take you from vineyards to tasting room. If you have only two hours to spare, the school is open from 3-5pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for those who want a quick overview of the vineyards and an introduction to blending and tasting techniques. Then there's the wine weekend, with a visit to a château in the Médoc; an intensive three-day course for beginners; and an intensive three-day course for those with a bit more wine knowledge. Courses range from £12 to £400. E-mail: email@example.com.
Old world v new
An Old World winemaker is adopting New World ways in order to create French wines that will appeal to the British consumer. With Australia set to overtake France for the first time as the UK's largest supplier of wine, producer Sacha Lichine (020 7235 8186) is responding by making so-called New World-style wines in the South of France. By New World, Sacha Lichine means upfront with the fruit and ready for immediate consumption. With a little help from oenologist Michel Rolland, Sacha Lichine has launched the Nikita Lichine range, comprising five "dual-varietals" - a Chardonnay-Grenache Blanc; a Chardonnay-Viognier; a Pinot Noir-Syrah; a Cabernet Sauvignon-Mourvèdre and a Merlot-Syrah. UK agent is Darlington Wines (020 8453 0202).
Bar show, Bar, is back at the Business Design Centre, London, from 19-20 June, with the lowdown on new drinks, plus design and bar services. It promises live mixology demos and practical advice on how to attract finance, finding a location, plus tips on training and retaining staff, and how to apply for new and late licences. There will be one-hour spirit tastings, wine and Champagne tastings, and expert advice on coffee "from beans to baristas". Web site: www.barshow.co.uk.
Vineyards in Sussex, Berkshire and Bedfordshire have triumphed at an awards ceremony organised by the Country Land and Business Association in conjunction with the UK Vineyards Association and designed to highlight the "high standard" of English and Welsh wines. Winner of the dry white category was a 1999 fumé produced by Sue and Graham Mosey, of Hidden Spring, East Sussex. Best sparkler went to Valley Vineyards' Heritage Brut.