Win a place on a Dartington wine weekend 'Crush Course'

A tour group stand around the vines

Head over to a local vineyard to have a look at some vines and tour the winery - Credit: Josh Pratt

Sign up for Dartington’s ‘Crush Course’ and deepen your appreciation of wine.

The Dartington Trust is offering a wonderful opportunity to enjoy an immersive weekend of wine and wine-making. This experience is all about getting physical with the wine-making process, using your senses and getting some insight into how wine is made, in order to gain a deeper understanding of how you taste it and what you like. No experience is required...just bring your head, heart, hands and taste buds!

Expect to play around with grapes and yeast (with your hands and feet!), fool around with bubbles and touch, smell and taste your way through a weekend course of discovery. It also includes two evening meals, to try some wines, along with delicious food, and discuss the joys of wine.

A man crushes grapes with his feet in a bucket

On Saturday morning we’ll be having a go ourselves at crushing some grapes - Credit: Josh Pratt

Rachel Dixon, of The Guardian, summed up the experience when she wrote: “A course in Dartington educates the tastebuds, and with grape treading and blindfold tests on offer, is also fun and messily therapeutic.”

Well known wine communicator and ex-head of wine at Waitrose, Justin Howard-Sneyd, is heading up the course alongside Duncan Schwab, CEO and head winemaker at Sandridge Barton, home of Sharpham Wine.

The course is residential and includes breakfast and lunch each day plus dinner on Friday and Saturday night – all made with fresh, locally-sourced produce by Dartington’s award-winning team. You will also be staying for two nights (Friday and Saturday) in one of the luxury courtyard bedrooms, each with a private bathroom.

These offer easy access to the wider estate, the White Hart and the spaces you will be learning in. They are the perfect base to rest your head, relax and recharge. The course starts at 3pm on the Friday and finishes early afternoon on the Sunday.

Choose from one of four weekends next year: April 8-10, May 6-8, June 3-5 or September 9-11.

A close up of the machinery for disgorging the wine

Well known wine communicator and ex-head of wine at Waitrose, Justin Howard-Sneyd, is heading up the course - Credit: Josh Pratt

Most Read

What to expect

Arriving on Friday afternoon, we will visit Henri’s field, learn about soil and compost, and then head over to a local vineyard to have a look at some vines and tour the winery.

You will spend the evening getting to know more about how your tastebuds work, and why you like certain flavours more than others. The evening dinner will be informal and will give you the chance to share as special bottle if you want to bring one along.

On Saturday morning we’ll be having a go ourselves at crushing some grapes, learning the difference between red wine and white wine, and will then go for a stroll among the vines.

In the afternoon, we will mix up some yeast, start a fermentation and learn what goes on in the winery, and the rest of the afternoon is all about fizz, and we will explore the principles behind the production of sparkling wine, from carbonation, petillant naturel, tank method and classic method. We will each hand-disgorge our own bottle, and cork it up to take it home.

The evening will start with a short class in how to taste wine, and we’ll enjoy a dinner accompanied by some specially chosen wines.

On Sunday morning it is back to the classroom, where we’ll cover sweet and fortified wine production, and give you some useful tips on how to serve and store your wine. We’ll also design labels for your bottle of English Fizz.

Then it is lunch, and a short early afternoon session to show you where you can find out more about the wonderful world of wine, and answer any questions that you may have, before sending you on your way at tea-time.

WIN! A place on a Dartington ‘Crush Course’

We’ve teamed up with The Dartington Trust to offer one lucky Devon Life reader the chance to win a place on a 2022 Crush Course of their choice. To be in with a chance of winning, fill out the competition question below and your details. Competition closing date is December 24, 2021.

Fill out my online form.