September is always an exciting month in the world of wine, and for wine lovers around Oxford it signals the return of the city’s annual wine festival.

This year’s Oxford Wine Festival takes place this weekend at the historic Oxford Union in the centre of the city. After being included in Decanter Magazine’s Top 10 Wine Festivals in the World last year, interest in the festival has grown enormously, with requests to participate arriving from all over the world.

The festival is an opportunity to explore over 500 award-winning, unusual, and rare wines, from 25 countries. Exhibitors at the festival often remark on how open-minded and enthusiastic our attendees are, compared with other wine events.

This year they have really responded to that with a wonderful range of wines. We have all the classic regions and grand chateaux, but we also have the most innovative winemakers from the Old and New World, and artisan wines from almost unknown regions, produced in tiny quantities.

The Oxford Wine Festival is all about showcasing the breadth and diversity of wine. It is a chance to explore all these fabulous wines that you would never find in supermarkets or on the High Street.

In addition to Old and New World zones, the festival places particular emphasis on its English Vineyards room, which each year brings together a different selection of the best home grown wines. English sparkling wines are one of the country’s great success stories over the last ten years. They win huge numbers of awards at international competitions, regularly beating the most famous champagne houses. From the start we felt it was important to use the festival to showcase just how good these wines now are.

Another zone will showcase Emerging Wine Regions, this year featuring wines from Luxembourg, Turkey, Brazil and Romania. There is even a wine from Morocco. We hadn’t really ever heard of Moroccan wine until now. We looked into it more and apparently the country’s wine industry is thousands of years old! It has even experienced a mini renaissance in the last few years, so it’s fantastic to be able to show one of their wines.

In addition to meeting merchants and wine makers, attendees at the festival can explore an extensive programme of tutored tastings from some of the world’s leading wine experts.

This year’s tastings include a “History of Wine” tasting with renowned TV wine authority Oz Clarke and, in response to the enormous popularity of Prosecco, the organizers have organized a tasting of artisan Italian sparkling wines. Other tastings include Pinot Noirs of the New World, native grapes of Greece, wines of the Languedoc, and a Spanish Wine Regions Masterclass with Master of Wine Sarah Jane Evans.

Ask any past attendee, however, and it is the atmosphere that really makes the Oxford Wine Festival special, with 2000 wine lovers travelling in from as far away as California and South Africa. The festival includes live jazz and local artisan foods, while also offering a rare opportunity to step inside one of Oxford’s most iconic buildings.

Tickets to the festival cost £21.50, and include your first eleven wine samples, as well as entry to the tutored tastings.