The much-loved Oxford Wine Festival returns to the city centre this Friday and Saturday (September 6-7), with its opulent blend of tutored tastings, live jazz, and over 500 wines to sample.

“Wine is one of life’s great pleasures,” says Chris Bowling, the founder of the festival.

“But getting to grips with all the different styles and grape varieties and regions can be daunting. We want to let people explore all these different wines, and find their favourites, in a really relaxed and fun environment.”

The festival also seeks to promote our homegrown wines, and features a UK vineyards room each year, featuring the best wines from across Britain.

This year the room includes the festival’s first Welsh vineyard – the award-winning Gwinllan Conwy – situated near the Snowdonia National Park.

“English wines are now regularly winning international Gold Medals,” says Chris, “and we really want our visitors to be able to sample these locally produced wines, and see just how good they are.

“It’s no wonder that Champagne producers are now buying up land in the South of England.”

The festival takes places at the historic Oxford Union buildings, which are rarely open to the public, and brings together over 2000 wine lovers from across the South of England, and further afield.

The festival aims to give visitors an opportunity to explore the whole world of wine that exists beyond the supermarket shelves.

This year’s festival includes their broadest range of wines yet, with award-winning, rare and trail-blazing wines from over 28 countries.

These include classic wines from the famous regions of France, Italy and Spain, as well as a huge range of wines from lesser known countries, this year including Japan, Ukraine, and Slovenia.

Visitors have an opportunity to talk to the wine makers and importers themselves, to really connect with the wines, and find out the stories and the production methods behind them.

The Oxford Wine Festival takes place on Friday evening from 6-10pm, and on Saturday from 12.30pm-4.30pm and 6pm-10pm. Tickets are £21.50 and include your first 11 wine samples.

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