Tom Cannavan Zoom wine tastings

Tom’s online wine course

I first started delivering wine education courses way back in the early 1990s, running night-school classes at the University of Glasgow, and my own classes in the city centre. In 2020 I completely updated and translated the course into an online version. The first online wine course went down so well with the students, my philosophy being to cover the topics with enough depth and expertise, but to make sure it was entertaining and enjoyable too.

Over the many Zoom sessions I have hosted since lockdown I’ve been surprised by how easy it has been to create a similar atmosphere of learning, but in a convivial, friendly atmosphere. The course will go back to the basics of ‘What is Wine’, with its historical development and how exactly a bunch of grapes becomes a bottle of wine, but will go on to explore so many factors that go into wine, how so many different styles have developed, and how the ‘Old World’ and ‘New World’ differ. We’ll also look at the secrets of Natural Wine, how sparkling, sweet and rosé wines are made, how to read a wine label, and of course, wine and food matching.

Each of our five weekly sessions will end with a tasting. I will explain how to taste a wine in order to build your own knowledge and experience, and we’ll discuss the properties of each wine. I will recommend a wine to buy each week to complement that week’s theme, but you are free to choose another similar wine or skip the tasting part entirely if your prefer.

The wine course will be a really enjoyable way to spend an hour or so learning all about wine during the dark winter evenings, without leaving home. It runs on five consecutive Wednesdays between January 19th and February 16th 2022. I hope you will join me.

Read more details and sign-up for The Wine Course.

Tom Cannavan Zoom wine tastings

Our first fine and collectible tasting

Of course there are fine wines in all of our tastings, with many of the wines we feature costing between £15 and £20 per bottle for example. But then there’s another level of ‘fine wine’, and wine lovers will appreciate the chance to taste wines that would cost up to £150 per bottle, or from older vintages that are no longer available. For that reason this can certainly be considered our first truly fine wine tasting, of collectible Burgundy, Bordeaux and Loire wines.

I have spent half a lifetime collecting wines, and have taken enormous pleasure in building and owning a very good cellar featuring plenty of top wines, of course often purchased years ago when they were more affordable too! Now I am delighted to share six wines from my own collection in this tasting.

I will be opening one or two bottles of each wine, depending on demand. These will be opened and immediately decanted into 50ml sample bottles, sparged with a layer of inert gas to preserve them, sealed and posted to you a few days before the tasting. There’s a short video below that shows how far 50mls goes as a tasting sample: enough for two people, or a very generous sample for one. You may of course buy two tickets to receive 100mls in total.

Tickets cost £89 and will include a live Zoom tasting on the evening of Thursday 11th November 2021 where I will provide background on each region and each specific wine in a tutored tasting. But the idea is that this will be an interactive session where discussion is encouraged – though you can of course just observe if you wish!

Please visit the Classic Fine Wines of France tasting page for full details of the wines and to purchase tickets. Numbers for this tasting are strictly limited.

The short video below shows a 50ml sample being poured:

Tom Cannavan Zoom wine tastings

New Zealand and Biodynamics

Two new tastings lined-up for September and October 2021 after a short summer break in August.

Thursdays 9th & 16th September


Sauvignon Blanc has become the hero grape for New Zealand. The vibrant, fruity and explosive style of Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc – memorably described as smelling like ‘Cat’s pee on a gooseberry bush,’ by Oz Clarke – has won legions of fans. However, we will explore how the New Zealand story really has moved on, to explore different styles, varieties and regions.

Marlborough is responsible for 77% of the entire wine output on New Zealand, and Sauvignon Blanc accounts for over 70% of New Zealand’s production, so both are massively important. But winemakers have long understood the need to diversify and we’ll focus on that. We’ll kick off with a ‘new style’ Sauvignon Blanc from North Canterbury, organic, fermented in French oak, with wild yeasts – more white Bordeaux than classic Marlborough style.

There has always been fabulous Chardonnay in Marlborough, and we’ll taste one of them from a cracking vintage, plus an absolutely beautiful Riesling. Demonstrating Marlborough’s genuine diversity, we’ll round off our tour with a Lagrein – a red variety from the far north of Italy, and one of the ‘alternative’ varieties showing huge promise.

We’ll also visit two of the North Island’s hottest spots: Hawke’s Bay and Martinborough. From here we’ll taste two Pinots: a ripe and beautifully balanced Pinot Gris, and a Pinot Noir, arguably New Zealand’s leading red variety, but with huge potential still.

Thursdays 7th & 14th October


The subject of biodynamic wines is highly controversial. A system of organic farming, it was first proposed by Austrian philosopher and social reformer, Rudolf Steiner, who married organic farming to esoteric concepts that some find hard to accept. The most famous is the use of dung-filled cow horns to be buried in the vineyard in the autumn.

In biodynamics, work in the vineyard and winery is also dictated by phases of the moon and zodiac constellations. Along with those mystical aspects of the system, some people express deep scepticism about biodynamics, and yet, many of the world’s greatest wine estates are now fully biodynamic, from Romanée-Conti to Château d’Yquem.

In this tasting I will explain the history and the processes involved in following the biodynamic regime, while we taste six examples. We kick of in the Pfalz in Germany and Alsace in France, two regions with a high number of biodynamic followers and some of the system’s most passionate advocates. Still in Europe, we’ll have a gorgeous wine from Galicia in northwest Spain; not an Albariño, but a red wine made from the Sousón variety. From Slovenia comes a classic Ribolla from one of the country’s best and most dynamic estates, while Italy – another stronghold of biodynamics – is represented by a barrel-aged red blend from Tuscany. Finally, crossing to Chile, their pioneering biodynamic estate provides a sumptuous red to complete our line-up.