The Institute of Wines and Spirits Scotland

Wine Tastings in
and Glasgow

Our programme from Edinburgh Our programme from Glasgow
Membership Options More Info
Established 1963

Knowledge and Enjoyment

We have a simple philosophy that is all to do with expanding our knowledge and enjoyment of wines and spirits.

We hold twelve tastings each year, six in Edinburgh and six in Glasgow - see our Venues - which take the format of an informal guided tasting where our guest speaker shares their knowledge, passion and enthusiasm for their wines or spirits with us.

Over the years we have been very fortunate to be able to attract a very high calibre of speaker. Not only have we had over 50 Masters of Wine, including Jancis Robinson & Rose Murray-Brown, but also winemakers such as Johnny Hugel and Miguel Torres as well as Whyte & McKay Master Blender Richard Paterson. We continue to strive to maintain this high standard of guest presenter.

In addition to our usual meetings we also indulge our appreciation of delicious wines with good food by having an Annual Dinner, a Wine Weekend and a Summer Lunch. See details of the current year's Calendar.

We hope that you like what you see and would like to join us.

Wine Tastings

Typically taking in 7 or 8 different wines allowing an opportunity to compare wines side by side. These are usually themed by grape variety, producer, supplier or region.

Spirits Tastings (and sometimes Cocktails!)

Unlike many tasting organisations the IWSS also covers spirits and cocktails. The opportunity to try something different is always embraced.

Wine Weekends
and Holidays

The IWSS organises short breaks to allow a more in depth study. Sometimes these are weekends away in country hotels and sometimes trips abroad. The IWSS maintains strong links with the wine festival in Lauffen in Germany.

Edinburgh and Glasgow

Central Scotland is small but diverse in its tastes. The Institute runs tastings in both Edinburgh and Glasgow. It has active members in both great cities, and members are encouraged to attend in both (meetings are timed for the off-peak trains and we often travel together).

A Passion for Wine and Spirits

Whatever your interest

For producers to consumers, from wholesalers to retailers, and from sommeliers to connoseurs - the IWSS is of interest to all.


Introduce your products to a diverse group of retailers and consumers in Scotland.


An opportunity to try something different or something new, or something you might never get the chance to try again.


Showcase your portfolio to retailers and sommeliers, by demonstrating your products to a varied range of consumers.


Meet producers, wholesalers and consumers, and find out how their opions vary and interact.


What's trending in the world of drinks? Keep up to date with current tastes and products.

Connoisseurs (and budding experts)

An opportunity to enjoy something special, and an opportunity to try some things you might not otherwise try. Take the mystery out of the parts of the winelist you would normally venture into.

Back to Normal for 2022-2023


In pursuit of its goals of education and enjoyment for the public and all those involved in the wines and spirits trade, the IWSS has a range of membership options.



Billed annually

(Pro-rata in first year)

  • *Either
  • * 6 Edinburgh tastings
  • * 6 Glasgow tastings
  • * First chance at
    IWSS wine events
  • * Annual AGM and competitions
  • (by Bank transfer or Cash)
Get Started

Standard Membership


Billed annually

(pro-rata in first year)

  • * 6 Glasgow tastings
  • * 6 Edinburgh tastings
  • * First chance at
    IWSS wine events
  • * Annual AGM and competitions
  • * (by Bank transfer or Cash)
Get Started

Corporate Membership


Billed Annually


  • * Only open to businesses,
    approved associations
    and colleges
  • * Two of three named
    persons may attend
    each meeting
  • * 6 Glasgow tastings
  • * 6 Edinburgh tastings
  • * Annual AGM and competitions
  • * (by Invoice & Bank transfer)
Get Started

Meetup Members and Guests


Paid on the Night


  • * One tasting
  • * Price discounted from a membership
  • * No further commitment
  • * (Card or Cash)
Get Started

Hear What Are Members Say.

  • Author image
    Jill Spirits Marketing

    As my current job is specifically spirits marketing, the IWSS is a great way for me to keep up with what is happening in the wine trade.

  • Author image
    Jack Former Space Cadet

    I used to be a three bottles for a tenner person. The institute demystified some of the finer points of wine. It saved my liver - shame about my wallet!


Questions and Answers.

The mission of the IWSS is to take the confusion out of the work of wine and spirits by allowing people to experience the range of what is on offer. So, if you have any further questions about our tastings, please get in touch.

What are the tastings like?

The usual format is an introduction, then trying each drink one at a time, with an explanation of its origins, features and availability. The drinks are usually poured in what amounts to about 1/3 of a standard measure. The meeting finishes with intimations, a vote of thanks, presentation of the speakers gift. After the meeting some of the members head off to a bar for further discussions (everyone is welcome to participate). Mineral water and spittoons are available on each table.

Who presents the tastings?

This can be retailers, wholesalers, enthusiasts, commercial suppliers, consultants, producers or members of the institute.

What if I don't like spirits?

Nobody likes everything. The committee endeavours to ensure a balance and to this end there are usually only one or two tastings of spirits in a year.

Isn't it expensive to travel between Edinburgh And Glasgow?

We always arrange our meetings so members can take advantage of the off-peak train fares.

Can I buy wine on the night?

Generally, no. This is due to licensing regulations. Where wines are available in this country there is often an opportunity to make an order for delivery.

Can I give a tasting to the institute?

Please contact the president by email (

Established 1963

Who are we?

The seeds of the Institute were first sown in September 1960 when the former students of the "Wine Classes of the School of Salesmanship" decided that they wished to maintain contact and to discuss the merits and demerits of wines.
The students formed what was then known as the "Edinburgh Wine and Spirit Study Group". Leon Stelmack was elected President, and in recognition of his services to the students, George Henry Smith was appointed Honorary President.
On 30 April 1963, the Institute of Wines, Spirits and Ales came into being as the only body in Scotland that set out to actively promote the interest of wine and spirits from an educational viewpoint.
In 1971, the first west of Scotland meeting was held in Glasgow.
The original objectives of the Institute emphasised the desire to provide an educational function:

  • To provide facilities enabling members to extend their knowledge and appreciation of alcoholic beverages with the ultimate object being qualification as a Master of Wine.
  • To arrange lectures.
  • To organise visits which members consider to be beneficial.
All members are welcome
to stand for the committee

The Committee

The IWSS is run by committee.
All posts on the committee are re-elected each year.

The Institute has been able to attract Presidents from many of the leading companies in the Scottish Wine and Spirit Trade. We remain indebted to them for their hard work over the years.

Current Committee

Nicola Gordon Garth Wines (President)
David Miller Angel Fine Wines (Vice-president)
Neil Gordon Garth Wines (Immediate past president / Minute Secretary)
Ruth Kynoch (Treasurer)
David Alexander (Director of Online Communications)
Sandra Kennedy (Ordinary Member)

Past Presidents

2019-present Nicola Gordon Garth Wines
2019-2021 David Mair Angel Fine Wines
2017-2019 Neil Gordon Garth Wines
2016-2017 Rob Gilmour WoodWinters
2012-2016 Neil Gordon Angel Fine Wines
2008-2012 Marilyn Salmon
2006-2008 David Mair Angel Fine Wines
2004-2006 I McNeill The Wine Experience
2001-2004 A Laird-Craig T M Robertson
2000-2001 N Barr Vin Ecosse
1999-2000 D Morgan Wine Training Services
1998-1999 L Deans Matthew Clark
1997-1998 J Harris Alliance Wines
1996-1997 G Rule Napier University
1995-1996 L Jewell Waverley Vintners
1994-1995 D W Manson Griersons
1993-1994 N Barr Waverley Vintners
1992-1993 J D Lamond Clydesdale Wine & Spirit Co
1991-1992 W J Bell H Sichel & Sons
1990-1991 W R MacRae J B Reynier
1989-1990 J G Williamson Waverley Vintners
1988-1989 R J Homewood Glayva Liqueur
1987-1988 J R Hernanz Queensway Hotel
1986-1987 J Macnaughton Euroscot Wine Ltd
1984-1986 D Morgan Gilbeys
1982-1984 R C Paterson Whyte & Mackay
1980-1982 E H Fellows
1979-1980 W Kelly
1977-1979 J Christie
1974-1976 W H Finlay
1973-1974 M L Grant
1971-1973 W Kelly
1969-1971 W Sandeman
1967-1969 J Johnstone
1965-1967 J Campbell
1962-1965 L Stelmach

Join us for a tasting... DETAILS HERE