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Wine sipologist Mandy Stevens
Wine ‘sipologist’ Mandy Stevens.

It’s wine tasting – but not as you know it

An international award-winning wine expert with a passion for teaching the secrets of wine and how best to enjoy it is soon to start sharing her secrets with local wine buffs, writes Richard Thomas.

She’s starting what she calls her ‘sipology’ courses for locals at a local winery next month.

Chairman of the Association of Wine Educators (AWE) Mandy Stevens, who recently moved into the area from London, opens with the first of her five courses on wine appreciation on 1 July at Melbury Vale Winery near Shaftesbury.

‘Taste Buddies’ is a two-hour course that reveals not only such little known secrets of wine drinking as how many taste buds you have and how it affects what you like and don’t like but also how smell affects what you can taste.

She says it’s not true that the most expensive wine is the best wine nor that the cheapest is the worst.

‘It all depends on your individual taste buds and everyone is different. Some people have a lot of taste buds and some only a few and it affects not only what you like but how you taste.

‘I can show each person exactly how many taste buds they have and what tasting category they fit into that’ll help them chose the right wine for them and also what is best value for them.’

Mandy says her courses are ‘not your usual stuffy wine tasting. There’s wine tasting but probably not as you know or expect it.

‘I like to think of the whole thing as entertainment as much as raising awareness of the wonderful world of wine. I hope I make it fun.’

Mandy, who moved into the area last October, has coined the word ‘sipology’ to describe what she does and runs her courses under the name ‘Sipologist Social’.

She says enjoying wine socially is what she’s all about and the former professional tennis coach and recent mother of twins hopes eventually to take her wine appreciation courses to venues throughout Dorset, Wiltshire and Somerset.

‘I’ve been doing this for 15 years and I do bespoke tastings for special occasions and one-off events from parties to larger groups.

‘In London I worked mostly through word-of-mouth. Dorset, where my husband is from, is a new experience but I’m hoping I’ll be able to help even more people discover the same passion for wine here that I have in London.’

There’s more on Mandy’s ‘sipology’ wine-tasting courses at www.sipologistsocial.com/what’s on.

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