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Step by step guide: wine tasting

Organising an evening of wine tasting is simple - all you need is a group of enthusiastic parents, some good wines and someone who knows a thing or two about plonk. It might even be considered educational - like school for grown-ups!

There are a few ways to run a wine tasting event, either by drawing on the experience of one of your parents, by employing the services of a local wine merchant, or by booking an accredited expert from an organisation such as AWE (Association of Wine Educators). Obviously the beauty of outsourcing the overall running of the event means the PTA can let their hair down and enjoy themselves with everyone else!

Planning

  • Agree a date with your expert, allowing plenty of time to promote the event and for parents to arrange a babysitter. Book the school hall or other venue.

  • Decide whether to provide food and other refreshments. If you want to keep the need for volunteers to a minimum, advise people to bring their own soft drinks and bread, cheese, snacks and nibbles to mop up the wine.

  • Organise wine glass hire and provide jugs of water and glasses for each table. You might also want to provide chunks of bread to help cleanse the palate between wines.

  • Wine tasting still counts as 'the supply of alcohol' and as such a TEN will be required under the Licensing Act 2003 (England and Wales). Other licenses may apply - see at-a-glance guide to licences.

  • Provide 'tasting cards' and pens for each guest so that tasters can take notes.

Publicising the event

  • Send out letters to parents at least four weeks before the event, with a reply slip for ordering tickets. Follow up with reminders in newsletters on noticeboards and via school and PTA websites.

  • PTA Print Shop have fabulously-designed posters, available to edit and order at the click of a button! View the wine tasting posters here.

Revenue

  • Sell tickets in advance and encourage parents to invite friends along. Offer a discount on a table of eight or 10 to encourage bulk sales. Challenge year reps to sell a table each.

  • Raffles are a great way to boost takings - ask for prize donations from local businesses.

Volunteers needed

  • You'll need a volunteer to check tickets on arrival.

  • Keep clearing up simple by asking guests to put away their chairs. Have bin bags at the exit and encourage people to take a few empties home to recycle.

For more information

  • There are several issues to consider relating to insurance, licences, etc. See our Event Planning Checklist for more detail.

  • For our at-a-glance guide to Temporary Event Notices, click here 

Case study: 

Klara Sewell, Treasurer of Green Street Green Primary School HSA in Orpington, raised £414 from their wine tasting event: 'A local wine merchant offered to provide the wine at cost price and run the evening for us, in exchange for promoting his business. The evening was run as a quiz, split into seven rounds, each of which involved blind tasting a different wine (the bottle and label were hidden). Teams were told two different stories about the origin of the wine, its grape, and the production process. Teams voted as to which version was correct, and received points accordingly. There were additional questions relating to which country produced, or consumed, the most wine or beer. The quiz ensured that the evening was informative and lots of fun. We tasted one sparkling rosé, three white wines and three red wines. The winning team at the end of the evening received a bottle of champagne, provided by the wine merchant.'

The above is intended as guidance only. We recommend that you contact the relevant organisations with specific reference to insurance, legal, health and safety and child protection requirements. Community Inspired Ltd cannot be held responsible for any decisions or actions taken by a PTA, based on the guidance provided.


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