Wine Tasting in Northampton


What are we?

Northampton Wine Society is a small and friendly group of enthusiasts who meet informally once a month in the Kingsley area of Northampton to learn about, taste and enjoy wine from all over the world.


What do we do and when do we do it?

Usually we hold our wine tastings at 8pm on the first Friday of the month, and sample between 8 and 14 wines; there are spittoons for those who don’t want to take too much alcohol aboard. We tend not to have outside speakers except on special occasions - on the infrequent occasions when we do have them, they are good ones. The wines we try range from the affordable to the almost unobtainable. Part way through we try a selection of cheese (intended to compliment the wines being tasted) usually from Northampton’s fabulous St Giles Cheese, accompanied by some good bread, usually from local artisan bakeries such as The Good Loaf or the Magee Street Bakery. The evening normally finishes around 10pm.


"From the affordable to the almost unobtainable", eh?

That’s right. There’s always a theme; it may be a country or region, or a grape variety, or a particular producer. It may be a horizontal tasting (different producers, same vintage) or a vertical one (same producer, different vintages). Or it may be a mixture! The wines are usually chosen by the organisers either from their cellars or bought-in as necessary (though they are usually delighted if someone else offers to put a tasting together). Have a look at our Tastings (for this year) and Archive (for previous years) pages to see the sort of thing we do. For the December tasting the theme is Show and Tell where everyone brings and introduces a bottle of something they think is delicious. Though it leaves rather more to chance than our usual events it is often one of the best.

The wines we try are chosen by people who care about what they drink - but everyone has different tastes, economic circumstances and perceptions of value. Some wines may be from varieties, regions or styles that are new to you; some may cost more than you would usually be prepared to pay. We have had one or two guests who said the wines we served were outside their normal budget and so of no interest to them. If you (like us) think that trying and comparing a selection of wines you wouldn’t normally buy is an opportunity, we will probably get on.


Who are we?

NWS was founded in the mid 1990s by the late Peter Watkins, a local wine merchant, and subsequently run for some years by Greg Shaw. When Greg indicated his wish to give up in late 2009, a number of members were determined to continue and the present team has run it since early 2010. We are not a commercial organisation and we do not sell wine.


Is it just the neighbours?

Not at all. While a few of our members are lucky enough to live within walking distance of where we meet, some travel over 10 miles to be with us. This is not just because we are a good crowd (though we are of course), but because for a small society, we punch well above our weight in terms of quality and value.


Will it be too highbrow?

You don’t need any specialist knowledge of wine appreciation to come along, just an interest in wine and a willingness to explore. A typical evening will find members with a variety of interests and experience.


Will it be too lowbrow?

Hopefully not, though we tend not to focus too much on the technical details, people wanting an evening’s boozing are not encouraged. There’s usually a lot of chat though.


What does it cost?

There is no annual subscription: the average cost is now around £25 a person per tasting, though it obviously depends on the theme and the underlying cost of the wines; the usual range is between £15 and £30 but we do tell you first! We are non profit–making and we aim simply to cover the running costs, splitting them between the expected participants. As most of the mature wines we try were bought some years ago, and would be very much more expensive if bought now, and we don’t usually have to pay for a venue, you get pretty good value for money.


Are there any vacancies?

There may be. If you are interested in joining, drop us a line telling us about yourself and your wine tasting interests and if a place comes up at a tasting we’ll try to squeeze you in to see how we get on. There may be a waiting period before you are admitted as a full member - persistence, enthusiasm and having the flexibility to take up a space on short notice if someone drops out is usually rewarded by rapid promotion. If you don’t reply to our emails we may conclude that you are no longer interested and stop sending them.


When is the next one?

Have a look at our current programme of Tastings - but be aware that regulars will usually get first call on the places. You may need to be flexible in order to get through the door.


Emails and all that?

We usually communicate by email. Please have a look at our Privacy Policy which we think is a masterpiece of clarity and conciseness! You can find it here - it will open a new page.


What don’t you do?

We are not in the winemaking, hospitality or entertainment businesses, we just want to share our passion with like-minded people. These are some enquiries we have had over the years where we have had to regretfully decline to help: