Whether it's the World Cup or the royal wedding, the most memorable events in the London calendar are the ones that have the power to unite the city in celebration.
And that's exactly what we love about London Wine Week. The initiative – from the brains behind London Cocktail Week and London Beer Week – is not just a selection of events in central London, but an all-out celebration of wine that includes an eye-watering number of bars, restaurants and pop-ups. The aim is to get the capital not only drinking it, but talking about and getting better acquainted with the world of wine. Here's our pick of the essential things to do (and drink) during the week.
The London Wine Week Hub
This year, the home for the week's activities will be Flat Iron Square, a hub of street-food, restaurants, bars and businesses a cork's throw from London Bridge. From 15-20 May, it'll be transformed into a gorgeous garden, featuring a rotating line-up of pop-up bars throughout the week and, if you're that way inclined, a screening of the royal wedding on the Saturday (because a garden full of wine is surely the most fitting place in London to toast to the happy couple). The resident bar, Tap & Bottle, will also be the first stop on the initiative's Wine Tour events.
The week's main attractions are arguably the festival's Wine Tasting Flights and Sip & Snack pairings. Available throughout the week at some 125 venues, they'll mean you can enjoy the best of the action at anywhere from fancy central London wine bars to neighbourhood haunts. London Wine Week flights are a snip at £5 each for Festival Pass holders.
Berry Bros. & Rudd's wine pop-up
The pop-up event's, er, popularity might have gained most of its traction in the 2010s, but that doesn't mean that London's oldest wine seller isn't getting involved in the action. Berry Bros. & Rudd, the historic merchant with a history dating back to the late 1600s, is putting on a pop-up bar at Tap & Bottle on 15 and 16 May, open all evening and serving wines by the glass and by the flight from a hand-picked selection of its most treasured wine producers, from the USA and Greece to France, South Africa and more.
Vinoteca's Think Pink wine flights
Rosé has never been more popular, with the much-loved Provence rosé having been a bit of a springboard for interesting skin-contact wines from Italy, Spain and the New World. To celebrate, wine bar and shop Vinoteca is putting on a £5 flight featuring a glass each from Provence, Yecla in Spain, and the Denby Hills in Surrey.
Loire Valley Wines takeover
If you're going to have a wine region taking over much of the happenings throughout the week, you could do a hell of a lot worse than the Loire Valley. The iconic French region, just to the north of the country, is home to some of France's best-loved winemakers and styles. This year, the capital will see an influx of winemakers from the across the Loire Valley region partner up for some of the week's best events, from a Loire Valley wine-paired oyster event at Wright Brothers to a Muscadet pop-up, a tasting masterclass event with the Three Wine Men in Canary Wharf, a pairing dinner at Peruvian restaurant COYA and, of course, a £5 Loire Valley Wines flight at Bedales.
See the full programme of events and buy your pass at drinkup.london