As I take my seat in Mono Restaurant for Drag Queen Wine Tasting, I’m immediately struck by how professional everything looks. Three large wine glasses at each place, paper for writing tasting notes and even an aroma wheel, it seems that this show hasn’t left anything out. As the table fills up, there are huge smiles all round as we await our hosts.
I felt like I was just out to lunch with a group of pals watching some fabulous entertainment
It's a simple start to the show. The iconic Vanity Von Glow giving us a great rendition of Dead or Alive’s You Spin Me Round (Like a Record), the first of several brilliant live numbers. It was an odd feeling seeing this – a drag performance at 12:30pm in front of a totally sober audience. I’m used to this being the complete opposite, so it was a mostly polite response from the audience to begin with. As the show got going, the audience began to relax, mostly in part to Vanity’s excellent hosting duties and crowd work.
After introducing wine expert Beth Brickenden, and the wonderful Mono Restaurant staff pouring everyone their first glass, we got a crash course in all things wine, starting with how to hold the shaft…sorry, the stem of the glass properly. With the use of our aroma wheel and other cheat sheets provided, we were able to look for flavours, work out acidity and look at the “legs” of the wine.
More swirling, sniffing and tasting came with the next two wines – a red and a rosé – and by this time, the whole table was chatting, laughing and snapping photos. This was my favourite part of the experience – the connection with others. Coming to the show alone to review was slightly daunting, especially since literally everyone else at my table was there in groups. However, I was able to make three new friends quickly, with one of them even paying for my pre-show drink (the first time I’ve had a woman buy me a drink in a long, long time.) By the time the third glass came, I felt like I was just out to lunch with a group of pals watching some fabulous entertainment. The staff even brought round a small snack for us during a break in the show. Although the less said about my new friend’s vegan alternative, the better!
Vanity and Brickenden have fantastic chemistry and it’s that perfect blend of entertainment and information that really drive the show. As someone who always thought wine tasting seemed a little pretentious, I walked out with my mind changed. The information shared was actually really interesting, and learning about it with people as inexperienced as me made for a great experience. We were all on this fantastic journey together and it was just delightful.