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PTA Wine Tasting with Escaped GrapePTA Wine Tasting by Escaped Grape

Are you bored of the usual cake sales, fetes, Quiz Nights and Shopping evenings?  Why not have a Wine Tasting Evening.

For our school it’s not all about raising funds for the school but more a way of developing a sense of community amongst the parents.  It wasn’t a huge money spinner but was far more enjoyable than a cake sale.  Plus, I didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn and attempt to bake.  Okay, who am I kidding, I would have bought a cake.

The seed was planted

A friend of mine’s brother bought her a wine tasting evening about 18 months ago, she finally got around to using it about a month ago.  Following the session she put the following message on Facebook.

Escaped Grape Wine Tasting - Testimonial

This got me thinking.  I connected with Simon from Escaped Grape to see what he could offer, ran it passed the Chair of the PTA and it went from there.

The Plan

We decided to limit the tickets to 30, to add the element of exclusivity, we sold out!  We charged £10 per ticket and the PTA would keep 60%.   The event ran from 8-10pm.  There were 7 different tastings of wine, cheese and nibbles to accompany the wine, plus Simon also managed to secure some Champagne, Cider and Gin for the tasting.  He’s a much better blagger than I am.  Unfortunately, and I don’t think this is a bad thing, the Gin was broken by the courier in transit but we had more than enough.

Another bonus is that Simon isn’t selling wine, it’s all about the tasting, so you don’t feel that you are going to be pressured into buying a case before you leave.

Choosing a Venue

We decided to hire a separate venue, to get away from the school setting (so to speak) and we would’ve been lost in the school hall.  As I am a member of the local St Albans, Dive Club, I was able to hire the lecture room for £40 and we prearranged for the bar to be open for 30 minutes before the event and an hour after for a bit of a social.

What makes a good party?

It may have been after a few wines but I started to think ‘What can we add to the night to make it a bit more special’.  In the end, I found myself modelling it on a children’s birthday party minus the alcohol of course.  We had everything from Face painters to Party Bags.


We managed to secure the lovely Hannah Padden from Glitterbox for the evening.  She is probably the most talented face painter I have ever come across.  What makes her special is her paint belt, which allows her to move freely around the room, you didn’t even notice her there.  I was very surprised many of the blokes didn’t need liquid encouragement to join in.  The face painting really added that WOW factor to the evening.

The Pudding Stop St Albans, Herts

And Wine Tasting wouldn’t be complete without puddings and cheese.  In St Albans, we are also very lucky to have Johnny, from the Great British Bake-Off fame, who owns the Pudding Stop in Town.  The parents demolished the Pecan Pie and the Baked Cheesecake.

Flowers by Nicky Towers

The Dive Club facilities are very basic, but we managed to tart it up nicely by dimming the lights, ironed our school table clothes and Flower Centre Pieces by the ever so talented Nicky Towers from Towers Flowers.  The flowers added that touch of class that we needed and at the end of the evening parents were able to purchase them.

Traditional  Sweets by Tuck Tuck

And you have to have Party Bags.  The lovely Lisa (Cherry Lips) Gomm from Tuck Tuck sweets supplied us with 18 bags of traditional sweets (e.g Cola Bottles, Jelly Babies, Aniseed Balls).  We weren’t sure what wine to pair them with so, to earn a bit more revenue, we sold them to the parents.  They disappeared in a flash.

It wouldn’t be a party without games either.  We contemplated a raffle, but to make things easier we opted for a 50/50 draw which generated a bit more money for the PTA and was easy to adminster after a bit of wine.

By all accounts our parents really enjoyed the evening.  One of the mums said she struggled to persuade her husband to come but at the end of the night he was telling her how much he enjoyed it.

As I said earlier it wasn’t a big money earner, but with a bit of creativity with peripherals (auctions, raffles, merchandise for sale)  I do think schools could put on a very enjoyable evening for parents and earn a bit of money as well.

Simon can be reached on 07738005975 and email escapedgrape@outlook.com.  He is based in Hertfordshire.  I’m more than happy to recommend him.






How to get parents involved in the PTA

Ply them with alcohol and lots of it

A few months ago, I found myself at a PTA meeting, prior to this the mere thought of attending such a function would give me goosebumps.  For me PTA conjured up visions of a room full of Busybody Super Ninja Mums  (you know the type who get up at 4 am to bake cupcakes for the school cake sale and then do their hair and make-up before the school run) vying to win the mum of the year award.

‘Say no to the PTA, the school quiz and sports day’

However a friend, wanted to become Chair of the PTA (personally I think she’s mad) and for some strange historical reason she needed 7.5 votes, so with the lure of alcohol I agreed to attend and support her.  I wasn’t expecting 4 BOXES of wine.

Scratched my head at the wrong time

I don’t know exactly when it happened, but somewhere between my friend being elected as the new Chair and the end of the meeting, I somehow volunteered to organise the Christmas Raffle.  For a first attempt I think it went well, with some amazing prizes and we raised approximately £1000 for the school.

I just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU  to all the companies for stepping in and helping a rather daft lady out.

Image Map

Plus, I’m also pleased to say that our school PTA is not a viper-pit but full of other like minded parents who just want to build up a sense of community within the school and to give a bit back.

Note:  Please do not approach these companies unless you already have a relationship with them like I do.