Bacchus - Oxford University Wine Society

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Bacchus - Oxford University Wine Society is a student membership club, registered with the University of Oxford, England.[1][2] Founded in 1999 by Dr Edward Fitzgerald,[3][4] the society meets weekly to promote the discovery and enjoyment of the wines of the world.[5] The name Bacchus refers to the Greek god of wine, and the society's members are known as Bacchants.

The 2013 book Reds, Whites and Varsity Blues charts the society's history from its foundation.[3] The twentieth anniversary will be celebrated in 2019.


With tastings every Tuesday in university term, Bacchus offers members the chance to learn from world-famous wine makers and visiting experts. In 2018, these included Champagne Charles Heidsieck, Symington Family Port, Royal Tokaji, and Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt. Alongside these events, the committee selects and presents several in-house tastings, and an annual dinner takes place in Hilary or Trinity Term.

The society caters for undergraduates, postgraduates and faculty from all colleges and University departments, from beginner to expert, as well as members of the public. Its member have taken part in the famous Varsity Blind Wine Tasting Match,[6] and Bacchus also co-operates with local wine merchants, running partnerships with the Oxford Wine Company and Majestic.[7]

The current senior member is Dr Rowena E. Archer, medieval historian, fellow and lecturer at Christ Church and fellow at Brasenose.[8]

Former Bacchants[edit]

Notable members have included:

  • John Stein, neurophysiologist
  • Beth Shapiro, evolutionary biologist
  • Chris Lintott, astrophysicist
  • Sara Bronin, Gallivan Research Professor of Law, University of Connecticut
  • Peter Wrighton-Smith, CEO, Oxford Immunotec
  • Alex Linsley, Director of Sales Development and Insights at Liberty Wines[9]
  • Karthik Nagesan, Apprentice and Big Brother contestant.[10][11]

See also[edit]

  • Cambridge University Wine Society
  • Oxford University Wine Circle
  • Varsity blind wine tasting match


  1. "Register of Student Clubs | University of Oxford". Retrieved 2018-12-13.
  2. "Bacchus - Oxford Wine Society". Retrieved 2018-12-13.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Segal, Jennifer (2013). Reds, Whites and Varsity Blues: 60 Years of the Oxford & Cambridge Blind Wine-Tasting Competition. London: Pavilion Books. p. 223. ISBN 1909108286. Search this book on Logo.png
  4. "JLC Alumni Dr Edward Fitzgerald tells us about his career since leaving John Leggott College". JLC. 2018-01-12. Retrieved 2018-12-13.
  5. "Oxford University Wine Society - Bacchus". Decanter. 2018-09-03. Retrieved 2018-12-13.
  6. "The trickiest blind tasting ever | Articles |". Retrieved 2018-12-13.
  7. "Oxford University Students drive Majestic Wine Summertown to a record £3 million sales". Majestic Wine PLC. 2017-03-22. Retrieved 2018-12-13.
  8. "Dr Rowena E Archer | Christ Church, Oxford University". Retrieved 2018-12-13.
  9. "Sales Representatives / Our Team / About Us /". Retrieved 2018-12-13.
  10. "Series 12, The Apprentice - Karthik Nagesan - BBC One". BBC. Retrieved 2018-12-13.
  11. "Who is Karthik Nagesan? Celebrity Big Brother 2017 contestant profile". Radio Times. Retrieved 2018-12-13.

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