When Provisions started in 2015, one of our goals was to share our knowledge and enthusiasm for wine. But we understand that wine and wine shops can be confusing and intimidating places. Faced with a wall of wine, full of flashy labels, hard to pronounce names, and grape varieties that may as well be Greek, where do you begin?
We’ve always tried to make wine as inclusive and welcoming as possible. That’s our aim every time we chat to someone about wine when they walk into the shop. When we began holding wine tastings in September, we wanted them to be an opportunity for people to learn about wine. We were blown away by the response. There was a real thirst for knowledge out there (and some nice wine probably didn’t hurt either). Despite multiple lockdowns, it was a pleasure to have people back in the shop, tasting and chatting about wine.
One of our most popular events was 'Intro to Natural Wine', where we sought to decode all confusing terminology related to “natural” wine. Terms like organic, biodynamic, vegan, sustainable and minimal intervention get thrown around constantly but it’s not often we get to sit down and think about what they actually mean. At the beginning of each tasting, we would ask our guests to write down what natural wine meant to them on a little sheet of paper. The responses ranged from the philosophical to the scientific and many fell somewhere in between the two.
This gave us an idea. What if we designed a course that would explore this knotty topic in-depth, giving wine drinkers the chance to taste more wine with more food and discuss what “natural” wine meant to them? Many of us at the shop have been on wine courses before but we were disappointed by how little time is given to issues like sustainability in the vineyard, chemical intervention in the winery, and how the wine industry actually works.
So, we decided to start the Provisions Wine School. Our courses are designed for those who have an interest in learning more about what they drink. You don’t need any knowledge or qualifications or shiny pin badges to join. Each lesson is based on collaboration and discussion with our educator and your fellow students.
Over the course of six weeks, you’ll learn how to taste wine and describe a wine’s flavour and structure so that you can identify why you like some wines more than others. We’ll break down how the wine industry works and why some wines cost a fiver and others cost fifty.
You’ll explore vineyards and the difference between conventional, organic, and biodynamic viticulture. You’ll learn about the costs and benefits of each to the grower and the environment. We don’t want to hide the fact that we believe that organic is the way forward but we want to discuss the difficult trade-offs winemakers face when deciding how to grow the best grapes and earn a living.
We’ll take you into wine cellars across the world to discover how different styles of wine are made. During the course we’ll taste whites, reds, oranges, rosés, sparkling and sweet wines and discuss how decisions made by the winemaker can radically alter what you find in your glass.
Provisions isn’t just about wine, of course. As an importer of artisan cheeses, cured meats and deli goods, we love food and flavour above all else. That’s why each class will include a lesson on how to pair wine with food. Together, we’ll find out why some pairings work and others don’t, to equip you with the knowledge of pair wine to any situation with all the confidence of the poshest sommelier.
Each edition runs on Monday evenings: each of them includes a wine tasting and food pairing. Class sizes are strictly limited so there are only a small number of spots available. Each course costs £295 per person, including a set of six wine tasting glasses and access to exclusive discounts on wine and food.