Launch of the Oxford Course on Wine

I first started this blog as I was becoming interested in blind wine tasting. The main focus of this blog was to promote education about wine in a simple and easy-to-understand manner. The wine business is complicated, with a history spanning millennia, and now reaching almost every corner of the globe. Wine is both art and science. It is psychology, philosophy and economics. Perplexing words from biology, agriculture and chemical processing make up some of its confusing jargon, alongside highly technical descriptors of the aromas, flavours and structure of the wine. Wine is such a complex beverage, we have immense trouble describing it absolutely and often turn to metaphor in an attempt to explain how we feel it interacts with our senses. Frequently, these metaphors have a seemingly impenetrable dialect of their own.

There is a lot to learn and I can understand why many are put off by this immense wall of wine jargon. As I have been discovering more about the wonderful and varied world of wine, I have tried to share this knowledge in a simple and easy-to-understand manner. One of the key skills in blind tasting is an ability to detect and discern flavours, aromas and structural elements of the wine. I feel that of equal importance is the ability to communicate these sensations and where they come from in plain English to an audience, whether they be consumers, enthusiasts or wine professionals.

Through this blog, I attempt to distill some of the knowledge I have garnered over time: my personal approach to wine tasting, why I see blind tasting as the most important means of assessing wine, alongside some general knowledge of the wine industry and tasting notes for wines I enjoy.

This month, I am very pleased to announce a new venture, and an additional way to communicate my passion for wine and for wine education to a new audience. My good friend, Dr Neel Burton, and I have founded the Oxford Wine Academy, which is offering a week-long residential summer school course in Exeter College, Oxford, in August 2012. Through informative seminars and tutored tastings of some of the world’s greatest wines, we will be communicating a thorough introduction to the world of fine wine.

Click on the image to go to the website for the Oxford Wine Academy.

Please have a look at our website to find out more about the course: pass it on to anyone you feel may be interested. The course is open to all, and no particular knowledge of wine is assumed, though we do hope you will share our passion for wine! Do feel free to contact us at to ask any questions or to register your interest.

In addition to the Oxford Wine Course, we are also available to present wine tastings in the vicinity of Oxford, London, the Midlands and southern England and for wine consultancy in the UK and further afield.


About James

Dr James Flewellen is a biophysicist, award-winning wine writer and educator based in London. Keep up to date with his writings and tastings at
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