F you enjoy wine -drinking it, talking about it, finding out its history, geography and personality -you'd enjoy a wine event at Waddesdon Manor.

The Rothschild banking families, who built this beautiful chateau-style house west of Aylesbury and others nearby, were not only great collectors of works of art. They also invested part of their fortunes in vineyards. And for well over a century a Rothschild label has been the one that kings and ambassadors, tycoons and toffs have liked to flaunt at their feasts.

The present Lord Rothschild's personal collection of wines is stored in the cellars at Waddesdon, along with a large selection of wines which are served in the National Trust restaurant and sold in the Wine Shop here. There are 15,000 bottles in all -all of them Rothschild wines -going back to 1870.

Two Rothschilds from the French branch of the family set up vineyards which are now renowned: Chateau Mouton-Rothschild (1853) and Chateau Lafite-Rothschild (1868), both premiers crus. Over recent years the six Rothschild cousins who now own Chateau Lafite, including Lord Rothschild, who lives at Eythrope on the Waddesdon estate, bought up other vineyards in France and elsewhere which produce more affordable wines under the name Domaines Barons de Rothschild.

Waddesdon's Master of Wine, Marcia Waters, believes it's worth learning how to appreciate wine. "In this country we don't grow up drinking wine with our meals. When drunk by itself as an aperitif, the simpler wines, including new world wines, are the most popular. But as people change their habits to having wine with food, it comes into context. That's when people's horizons expand.

" A good wine that will age and go well with food, she explains, are the ones with a complex character.

"In other countries cuisine and wine have grown up together. In Alsace they ate hearty food like goose and developed a strong acidic wine that matches it perfectly.

"In Bordeaux you get lamb and claret, while in Burgundy their sweet wine goes well with garlicky snails."

Marcia draws on her wide experience to give an introduction to wine tasting on October 6 and November 3 from 10.30am to 12.30pm (£30). Her colleague Ben Howkins leads a tutored tasting of eight Rothschild red wines, followed by lunch with champagne and wines and a house visit, on October 19 and November 16 from 10.30am to 4pm (£85). It is held in the beautiful vaulted cellars surrounded by the unique collection of historic wines.

These and the wide programme of other events at Waddesdon, including illustrated lectures by art experts, are ideal as gifts. For event programmes and vouchers ring 01296 653226.

Free wine tastings take place in the Wine Shop, where there are wines from £5 to £375.

Waddesdon Manor is open Wednesday to Sunday until November 4 (gardens, shops, restaurant and events until December 23)