What you need to know about the Club

Welcome to the Oxford Wine Club’s Frequently Asked Questions page. We have tried to anticipate and to answer those questions we are most commonly asked regarding the Club. If you find that your question is not answered however, please email us on owc@oxfordwineclub.org.uk.

How do I become a member?

You can apply on line through this website or alternative you can contact our Membership Secretary and they will guide you through the process.

I’m interested in wine but do not have any formal qualifications – can I still become a member?

If you have a demonstrated knowledge of or passion for wine, you can become a member. However most Club members have passed the WSET Level Two (Intermediate) course or its equivalent.

How much does membership cost?

The current annual membership fee is £15.

How does the Club communicate with its members?

Via email and our website. For members not on email, or who cannot open Club documents sent by email, mailings are sent by post.

How do members book for tastings?

An email advising the date, time, venue, presenter and topic is sent to all members, usually about 4 to 6 weeks ahead of the tasting date. Confirmed member bookings can then be made online through the website.

Where and when are the tastings held?

Tastings are held in a variety of college locations in Oxford, with the events usually starting at 7.45 pm. Full details of venues and other arrangements are contained in the booking form for each tasting.

What form do the tastings take?

The tasting presenter will normally give a short introduction to his or her topic and this will be followed by a discussion of each of the wines to be sampled. There are ample opportunities for members to interact with and ask questions of the speakers. Please be aware that wine samples are of a size appropriate to a tasting and that several wines will be sampled at each event. Please also be aware that members will be asked to volunteer to pour at tastings.

Can I ask guests to the tastings?

Guests are welcome and guest places are allocated once all members’ places have been allocated. There is a separate pricing structure for members and guests, with members enjoying a lower price for each tasting. Once the closing date for booking has been reached, the bookings organiser for the tasting will email or telephone members wishing to bring guests to let them know about availability

Do I need any special kit to join the Club?

No, but members are encouraged to purchase their own set of six standard ISO tasting glasses for use at tastings. The Club can help you to source tasting glasses if you do not already own some. A limited number of tasting glasses are available for use by members and their guests at each tasting.

Are there any do's and don'ts for Club tastings?

Yes! We think it is a basic courtesy for members and their guests not to wear strong smelling perfumes, deodorants, etc which might interfere with other people’s enjoyment of, or the ability to smell, the wines. This may seem a very basic point but it can cause problems! We also discourage the use of mobile phones or other devices during tastings which might distract the speaker and other attendees.

What happens if I miss the bookings deadline for tastings?

We do what we can to meet late requests for bookings but there can be no guarantee that places will be available once the initial allocation has been made after the closing date. A tasting may be fully booked or, if numbers are relatively low, we may decide to set a lower number of places based on 3 bottles of each wine. Please email or ring the bookings organiser for the tasting in the first instance to check on availability after the closing date has passed.

If I find I can’t attend a tasting will I get a refund?

If your cancellation is received ahead of the close of the booking period, you will receive a refund. If however you cancel after the booking period has closed, refunds will only be given to members if the place can be resold or, in exceptional circumstances, at the discretion of the Club Secretary. For guests, once a place has been confirmed by the bookings organiser, refunds will again only be given in exceptional circumstances or if the place can be resold.

Please keep the bookings organiser informed of any changes in your circumstances or those of your planned guest(s). We know these can happen, whether through illness, work commitments or for other reasons. If you can let us know that you or your guest will not be attending, that gives us the chance to resell the ticket for you if there is a waiting list. Even if it has to be a very last minute withdrawal, it is helpful to know - we can avoid waiting for people to arrive and we can adjust the pouring arrangements. So please do your best to keep us informed of any changes - preferably the bookings organiser but if necessary you can also contact the Club Secretary.

Will I have to help with tastings?

At each tasting we need up to eight pourers and so we ask members to help with this, on a rotation basis, on one or two occasions in the year's programme. We obviously try to avoid asking members to pour if they are bringing a guest. The front of house organiser generally contacts members during the days leading up to a tasting to ask if they might be willing to act as a pourer - please say yes if you are contacted, it is a brilliant way of getting to know other Club members!  All members also have a responsibility to help the front of house organiser clear up after the tasting.

Who should I contact with my views on the Club or its tastings?

We welcome your feedback since this helps us to design programmes which will be enjoyable for the membership. If you would like to comment, please use our contact page.