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Wine & Wean: Wine Tasting Events with Babies!

Wine & Wean: Wine Tasting Events with Babies!

Wine tasting in London. Cheese tasting in London. Both activities that seem impossible for a new mum to go out and experience. Thanks to one London mum’s brilliant idea to launch Wine & Wean events, the finer things in life are more easily accessible to baby mamas (and daddies) because baby is invited along. Cheers to that! We spoke with the founder to find out details…

Please introduce yourself…

I’m Holly Chaves, I run Wine & Wean, a baby-friendly wine tasting event for parents.

How did the idea for Wine & Wean come about?

Wine & Wean was a somewhat natural progression from Wine & Rind, my cheese and wine shop which closed last year just before I had my baby. I opened the shop in 2018 and it very quickly became the spot for parents and babies in the daytime. We had a regular crowd that would stop by post baby sensory class for a round of toasties and a bottle of wine!

Starting Wine & Wean also meant I could bring my baby to work and avoid the cost of childcare!

How long have you been organising these events and what’s the interest been like in them? What feedback do you get from parents who have been? Tears of joy?

I started Wine & Wean last summer so it’s been running for nearly a year now and the best feedback is the return rate of parents. I have seen some parents and babies every month from their very first outing out of the house with their baby, until they’re going back to work. Some parents even take days of leave to still come along!

Which areas are the events held in? Any new areas being added in near future?

I started the events in Tottenham, very close to home, and most of our regular tastings run in north London. However, we debuted in south London successfully last month so that’ll be joining the roster and we have some exciting locations planned for the summer, including a country retreat and an iconic London venue!

How do you choose the venues? Do you vet the baby changing facilities and buggy space at each venue? What else do you look for in terms of making sure it’s an ideal fit?

Finding the right venue is probably the hardest bit of putting these events together. Buggy space is a MUST! The venue needs to be accessible for buggies so we have a no stairs policy. Baby changing is helpful when there’s 50 babies all hanging out together… An abundance of highchairs is helpful too. Oh, and a lunch menu with both parents and child friendly options is great. Saying this, the event we hosted at SAGE in Peckham in a railway arch didn’t have much in the way of buggy space or lunch options but it was one of our most fun events to date.


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How do you choose the wines? And what’s this we hear about cheese?! Are those varied as well, to go with the wines?

I work with suppliers and importers that share my ethos and values in food and wine production, and are often natural and organically produced. Each month I choose a different partner to work with, this keeps the selection fresh and exciting.

The cheeses we include for people change monthly too, to complement the wines. For example, we did an Island Wine tasting with Outpour Wines and I paired that with Irish cheeses, our Frizzante tasting with Italian importer Sen Wines had four different sparkling wines paired with four Italian aperitivo cheeses. And most recently our tasting with Nouveau Wines, who work with grape farmers in South Africa, was paired with British Farmhouse cheeses.

Please describe what happens at the events…

The atmosphere is very laid back, not your usual serious wine tasting.

People start arriving from from midday, but we’re flexible as timekeeping with a new baby is pretty fluid. People sometimes book as a group, and we often get whole NCT classes meeting up, or they come with partners, friends or they’re coming on their own. I will then find the best way to seat people and tell them to make themselves comfy, show them where the amenities are. Any anxiety or nerves about the situation are resolved pretty quickly when you see everyone else is in the exact same boat! The wine helps everyone relax pretty quickly of course.

Bottles are poured leisurely throughout the afternoon with some informative but informal chit chat from me or our wine experts about the wine and cheese. Bottles to take home are also available, and everyone goes home very happy, ready to book their next event..

Has anyone ever questioned you running an event in which breastfeeding mums will be drinking alcohol? Is this ever contentious?

Wine & Wean is a safe space with no judgement where mums and dads can enjoy a glass of wine or two in relative peace. Spitoons are provided, and we’ve just started working with The Real Drinks Co who make naturally fermented sparkling teas which pair great with food, should anyone want to come along but skip the booze. It’s not a bottomless brunch or a day rave, it’s very civilised.

What’s been the most surprising thing you’ve experienced since starting these events?

How much people appreciate a good afternoon with friends old and (very) new. I started Wine & Wean because so many of the events available to new parents were aimed at babies and there didn’t seem to be anything focussed on parents meeting up and having a chat with like minded mums and dads. Grandparents are also welcome too!

Any future plans for Wine & Wean?

We’re currently working with a hotel group putting together a series of events for parents and babies, so watch this space!


Follow Wine & Wean on Instagram to find out about upcoming events.

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