The Crush Course

An immersive weekend course in wine and winemaking
BOOK NOWgift this course

3pm Friday 16 – 3pm Sunday 18 June 2023


Justin Howard-Sneyd, Duncan Schwab

Dartington Estate, Dartington Trust, South Devon


Unless otherwise stated, our Short Courses are for adults 18+ years


Includes all lunches, suppers, field trips, materials and all teaching from supper on the day of your arrival through until the lunchtime before your departure.


(Or secure your place with a £150 deposit)


All the perks included in your course fee, PLUS breakfast and accommodation from the day your course starts to check-out on the morning of the day the course ends. (More info about accommodation can be found below.)


(Or secure your place with a £150 deposit)

about this course

Develop a deeper appreciation and enjoyment of wine. You will learn how your tastebuds work, taste over a dozen wines over the course of the weekend, and develop a clearer practical understanding of the processes involved in wine production, as well as producing your own bottle of wine to take home with you.

In this course, we want to give you the chance to get your hands dirty by playing around with grapes and yeast, and to fool with the bubbles trapped in a bottle of fizz.

At Dartington, we have always believed that you learn best by using your ‘head, heart and hands’. You will be using all three of these, as well as all five of your senses, as you touch, smell and taste your way through a weekend course of discovery.

No prior experience required. Open and accessible to any adult of any age interested in wine and with a curiosity about how it is made.

as seen in The Guardian


“The aim of the course was to “develop a deeper appreciation and enjoyment of wine”, and it succeeded. Our group is already planning a reunion over a wine-tasting dinner – nose pegs optional.”



Justin Howard-Sneyd

Justin Howard-Sneyd mw

Justin is a well known wine communicator and expert on a range of topics in the world of wine. He has spent 15 years as a commercial wine buyer including 5 years spent as the Head of Wine at Waitrose, and now consults to a wide range of wine producers, restaurants and wine businesses, as well as directing the program of wine events and courses at Dartington.



Duncan Schwab is CEO and Head Winemaker and first joined Sharpham in 1992, when he cam to get some wine experience, following his father's purchase of a three-acre vineyard in Cornwall. Twenty eight years later and Duncan is one of the most experienced and reputable winemakers in the UK. 

More information


For the vineyard tuition, outdoor clothing is recommended, including a waterproof top, and wellington boots.

The work handling grapes and grape juice will bring you into contact with sticky and potentially staining grape juice, so old clothing recommended.

The course will be a 2 night residential course based on the campus at Dartington. Some of the activities will take place on nearby vineyards 15-30 minutes drive from the campus. Transport between Dartington and any vineyard sites will be provided.

The visit to Henri’s Field on Friday, and the vineyard walk on Saturday both involve 25-30 minutes of walking on rural, and sometimes uneven and steep terrain. If you have mobility issues that may impact your ability to join us for these activities please do let us know. We will do our best to make alternative arrangements.

The course begins promptly at 3.15pm so we recommend allowing yourself extra time to arrive before check-in at 3pm. Occasionally an early check-in is available.


Arriving on Friday afternoon, we will visit Henri’s field, learn about soil and compost, and then head back to the classroom for some theory and a glass of wine or two.

You will spend the evening getting to know more about how your taste buds work, and why you like certain flavours more than others. The evening dinner will be informal and will give you the chance to share a special bottle if you want to bring one along.

On Saturday morning we’ll head over to a local vineyard to have a stroll among the vines and tour the winery. We will be having a go ourselves at crushing some grapes, learning the difference between red wine and white wine, and how to analyse our voices for sugar levels.

In the afternoon, we will mix up some yeast, start a fermentation and learn what goes on in the winery, and the rest of the afternoon is all about fizz, and we will explore the principles behind the production of sparkling wine, from carbonation, petillant naturel, tank method and classic method. We will each hand-disgorge our own bottle, and cork it up to take it home.

The evening will start with a short class in how to taste wine, and we’ll enjoy a dinner accompanied by some specially chosen wines.

On Sunday morning it is back to the classroom, where we’ll cover sweet and fortified wine production, and give you some useful tips on how to serve and store your wine. We’ll also design labels for your bottle of English Fizz.

Then it is lunch, and a short early afternoon session to show you where you can find out more about the wonderful world of wine, and answer any questions that you may have, before sending you on your way at tea-time.


We recommend that if possible, you stay on-site during your course. All our courses are best experienced holistically: through working, relaxing, eating and staying with other course participants and tutors.

The residential course fee is based on staying in one our luxury courtyard bedrooms, each with a private bathroom, and with easy access to the wider estate, the White Hart and the spaces in which you will be learning. They are the perfect base to rest your head, relax and recharge. You can find out more about the rooms here.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner each day – made with fresh, locally-sourced produce by our award-winning team – are included: one less thing to worry about during your stay.

Choose this option by selecting ‘residential’ at checkout (head to ‘Book now’, below).

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the fine print
  • Accommodation is available at a discounted rate for course attendees
  • Accommodation is booked on a first come, first served basis only
typical schedule for short courses
  • Check-in to the room is between 3-3.45pm on the day of arrival. Check-out is 11am on the day of departure, although if travelling by public transport, luggage can be left at the Welcome Centre until the course has completed.
  • Teaching generally begins at 4pm on the first day and ends at 2pm Fridays or 4pm Sunday (whichever is the last day of the course).
  • The daily timetable can start at 9.30am and end around 9.15pm, with free time available at set times throughout the day.
  • For residential participants breakfast is included, followed by a morning gathering and community work groups on weekdays, which are open to all participants and the college community. Non-residential participants can pay extra if they wish to have breakfast on one or more of the days.
  • Lunch for all participants is between 1-2pm and supper is 6.30-7.30pm (both meals are included in the residential and non-residential course fee).

If you have any questions about your course schedule please contact

Book now

Begin your online booking below. You will receive an e-ticket for this event. You are welcome to email us at with any queries you have. Full Short Course T&Cs can be found here >

If you place a deposit, you will be contacted by us four weeks before the course start date to pay the outstanding balance. You will also be contacted with full details about the course before you arrive.

Please note that in most cases bookings for all our Short Courses close at midday on the Thursday before the course begins. This enables us to give you the best possible course experience and ensures all bookers receive the relevant course materials before they arrive.

Friday 16th June

Offer: Special rate for Dartington Members

Dartington Members will receive a 10% discount, applied when they log in during the checkout process. For more information about Membership, click here (opens in new tab).

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