Bright Ideas: Wine Tribe Wednesdays

ArticlesBright Ideas

Melanie Brown
Specialist Cellars at Pop Brixton, London


In a nutshell:
Consumer tastings are nothing new, but there are a myriad of ways to run them. Wine Tribe Wednesdays are a perfect example and what’s more, they’re free!

Tell us more …
“The idea is to try to introduce more of our community to new world wines and getting everyone to grips with Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and now California.

“It’s based upon trying to get the community together every few weeks to introduce new wines and producers. The name sounds fun and inclusive and is a way to make people feel more engaged.”

Describe a typical Wine Tribe Wednesday.
“They are very easy, laid back and casual. As we can have anything from 40 to 80 sign-ups for each event, we tend to divide it into three groups over the one-and-a-half hour tasting. Every 25 minutes or so we have groups of around 20 people come into the container – we have a 20ft shipping container at Pop Brixton – to taste around four to six different wines presented either by the producer or sometimes myself. It’s aimed at consumers, so we don’t go into huge detail, but we keep it really interesting.”

How do the figures stack up if you’re not charging?
“Other than the time and effort, it doesn’t cost us anything because our suppliers provide sample bottles. We purchase a case of each of the wines that we are presenting on the night and we encourage the people that come along to buy a bottle on the way out. We usually sell the majority of the wines at the event and we often put a 20% discount on them for the night as well.”

How do you decide on a theme?
“Now that we are seeing more producers and winemakers venture out this way from that part of the world, we are getting a lot of them signed up to do the Wednesdays. We notice a larger uptake when we have a winemaker or producer leading the event, so we look at who’s visiting and who’s available. We might be influenced by a wine calendar event such as Sauvignon Blanc Day and we look at things we’re running internally as well.”

The ticket admin is done via Eventbrite. Do you have to pay for that service?
No, and using Eventbrite pushes it out to all of their networks and they will re-target the event within their platform to their followers, even if they are not on our database. We are getting some amazing traction and definitely seeing more and more new people. There are lots of familiar faces too and it’s really nice to see that they all engage with each other as well.”

Does it feel good to be back in the swing of real life tastings?
“Like everyone else, our events came to a standstill for two years but now we’re back and things seem to be rolling really well for us.

“Staffing is tough since so many young people moved out of London, particularly from the arts and creative industries. They were fabulous employees, but they’ve just disappeared out of London. We’ve got loads of customers – we just need to find the right people to serve them.”


Melanie wins a WBC gift box containing some premium drinks and a box of chocolates.

Tell us about a bright idea that’s worked for you and you too could win a prize. Email

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