(Vinopolis closed December 21, 2015)
You don’t have to go to wine country to enjoy a good wine tasting. When traveling, you can find wine bars and wine tastings in cities and even small towns. While visiting London, I discovered Vinopolis, an interactive tasting museum (2.5 acres in size) for wine, beer, whiskey rum and other cocktails.
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Vinopolis is centrally located on the South Bank near the Tate Modern, London Eye and next to Borough Market.
Visit for an introductory tasting tour and spend an afternoon or evening sampling and learning about wines from around the world, including France, Italy, Australia, California, South Africa and some lesser known regions such as Georgia.
Wine Tasting in the Heart of London
For my visit, I chose the Grapevine Tour, a self-guided experience that includes the basic “How to Taste Wine” session as well as 6 wine tastings and a Bomay Sapphire cocktail at the end. I wanted to learn about wine, whiskies and other drinks at my own pace. And a couple of hours here was the perfect amount of time to achieve this. Tasting your way through multiple rooms in an old wine warehouse is a great way to learn about the history of winemaking.
By the way, you can always add more tastings if you want to increase the number of wine, champagne, whiskey, rum, beer and absinthe tastings here. (I want to try the absinthe the next time I visit). I ended my tasting with an extra whiskey tasting (when in the UK…).
Upgrade Your Wine Tasting to the Spirit of Vinopolis Tour
Vinopolis offers several different tour and group options, and if you have the time, upgrading your tasting experience at Vinopolis will be a smart choice. If you’re more adventurous, then the Spirit of Vinopolis tour may be for you (I’m going to try this next time).
This tour includes the wine tastings, but it also offers the chance to learn about and taste a range of rums, Scotch whiskies, Bohemian and Parisienne absinthe, and Bombay Sapphire gin. The program includes:
- Admission to the Vinopolis Wine Tour
- A ‘How to Taste Wine’ session
- 6 regular wine tastings
- 2 whisky tastings
- 2 absinthe tastings
- 2 beer tastings
- 2 rum tastings
- A Bombay Sapphire cocktail
- A Vinopolis tasting notebook
After having visited there, I’d recommend several hours at Vinopolis. Commit to one of the tasting experiences, visit the wine shop, and relax for a meal afterward. Vinopolis offers four options for drinks and dining: Blue Bar, Cantina, Wine Wharf and Brew Wharf — by the way, Brew Wharf has a great deck for riverside dining next to the Thames (and I’ll have to add this to my plans on that next visit as well).
Special Events at Vinopolis
Speaking of events here, group tours are obviously popular at Vinopolis, and they offer several different guided tasting experiences.
And with a choice of seven distinct yet equally stunning spaces, Vinopolis merges Victorian splendor with 21st century facilities. They can cater for 10 – 1250 guests, and their experienced event management team can help with every element of your London event, including catering, lighting, corporate entertainment and more.
Vinopolis has been selected for corporate team building days, company dinners and conferences, Christmas parties and even hosting television events and award shows.
The Verdict and Other Insight about Vinopolis?
On my visit, the tastings were quite generous. So, after about four tastings, a friend of mine and I decided that we needed to eat something if we were going to be able to complete the program. Knowing that Borough Market was essentially next door, we opted to slip out a back door, found some food for lunch at the market, and returned to complete our wine tour.
By the way, for meeting planners wanting to create a unique event experience, it’s my understanding that Vinopolis offers wine tasting classes and events where groups will buy fresh items at Borough Market and bring them back as part of a pairing program — great idea.
Vinopolis is busiest on Thursday and Friday nights – and all day on Saturday, so it’s best to book your tickets and secure a reservation in advance for those days.
Vinopolis is also highlighted in our feature, A day in London / 24 hours in London.
Have you visited Vinopolis? Share your opinions and reviews here.