I’ve never been the biggest fan of wine. I know, I know, I shouldn’t be accepted as a twenty something. It’s been a drink I’ve tried to like my entire life (well perhaps since I was 16) and I’ve wanted to like it more and more as I’ve got older. If you go out for a business meeting, it’s not really socially acceptable to order a gin and tonic with dinner and I’ve always longed to like the thought of having a cold glass of wine waiting at home for me after a stressful Friday. Don’t get me wrong I’ve drunk wine, plenty of it. It’s often the cheapest thing on the menu so of course I have. But I’ve never liked it, I’d always rather a vodka lemonade and that makes me just sound like I’m still 18.
So recently my boyfriend has been on a mission to get me to like wine. He says he managed to make himself like beer at around 15 so figured he can do the same for me with wine. And his main argument is that I’ve only ever drunk cheap wine – always house white or ‘what’s cheapest on your menu?’ He tells me that’s what’s put me off the drink. So this Valentine’s Day, keen to avoid all the crazy couples and heart shaped balloons, we skipped the typical romantic evening out and headed instead to a wine shop.
Bottle Apostle is a chain across London and we went to the one in Clapham South. At first glance it’s just a wine shop selling a hell of a lot of wine. It was empty when we first arrived, but single men kept popping in to pick up their last minute offering for Valentine’s Day. Bottle Apostle isn’t just a wine shop though, it also has its own wine tasting machines – a bit like very special vending machines. You pre-load one of their cards with some cash and get tasting – we went for £15 and tried 8 different wines between us. It’s really easy, you just take your card over to the white or red wine machine, select your wine from a little description card and how much you want to try of it and then press a button and fill a glass. It was honestly so much fun – we tried red wines ‘not for the faint hearted’, Austrian white wine that was ‘light and tasted of oranges’, a sweet dessert wine, all sorts. And we gave it the whole smell, swill, spit treatment too! The shop attendant was so knowledgeable and wasn’t even too offended when I told him I didn’t like wine.
I’m not going to lie, the experience hasn’t made me love wine. I enjoyed some more than others and can definitely taste the difference now so would stop and read the descriptions before just ordering house white in future. But we had so much fun, it was worth it. Just the two of us using the machine and trying all sorts of different wines. We even walked away a bit tipsy – and all for £15. Bargain!