It’s the start of another week in quarantine for most of us and you might be reaching a point where you’re ready for a little social interaction! A Virtual Wine Tasting can be a great way to reconnect with girlfriends or other couples and enjoy some wine. Just as a wine tasting at a winery or in your home, the experience can be as casual or as formal as you want to make it. Follow along for few step-by-step considerations below for a successful virtual tasting!
How are you going to connect?
There’s lot of options to connect for a virtual wine tasting. I’m assuming that you want to see each other’s faces via video and that you’d like to hear each other’s thoughts via voice. From there, I’ve highlighted the pro’s and con’s of some programs below:
- Zoom: This is free for 2 people to connect for up to 24 hours at a time. This offers audio, video, screen sharing, and recording. Once you need to add another person, you’re looking at paid options. Available on phone, tablet, and desktop.
- Facetime: Limited to iOS products, but offers audio, video options. Available on phone, tablet, and desktop.
- Skype: Free with use of Microsoft Teams and can be used on phone, tablet, or desktop. Offers audio, video, and screen sharing. Paid options are required for phone-to-phone calling.
- Other video calling options: Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, other chat methods.
Where are you getting your wines?
- Local Wineries. I’m listing this first because I want you to consider this as your first priority. If you have a winery in your local area, I am confident that they are significantly impacted by the COVID-19 quarantine. They are also likely offering some sort of pickup or local delivery. Check out supportourwineries.com to find wineries near you and what they may be offering to get their wines to you!
- Small Wineries Who Will Ship To You. As with #1, MANY small wine producers are offering incredible shipping options of their wines. Wineries make a large portion of their profits from tasting rooms and winery visits. As this is not feasible under current conditions, many wineries are offering significant discounts on shipping costs to get wines to you! Check out supportourwineries.com!
- Local Liquor Stores and Wine Shops: Call your local liquor stores and wine shops. These small businesses may still be open (based on State and local guidance) and/or offering delivery or pickup options.
- Very Last Resort: I get it – Costco, Total Wine, Trader Joes, BevMo, Grocery Stores are all very convenient. Many of the wines sold at these sources are in the levels of higher production are going to be less impacted in this time of economic crisis. Yes, some of our small producers can be found at these “big box stores”, but if you want to focus your support to the small production wineries, buy direct.
How formal is this wine tasting?
Now we need to talk about the formality of this Virtual Wine Tasting. Are you just drinking wine at the same time virtually with your friends? Or, are you drinking the same wine at the same time virtually with your friends? Is your focus the wine or are you using the wine to help you loosen up and lose focus on the chaos of this quarantine life?
If you’re taking an informal route, I think it’s great option for participants to pick their favorite wine to enjoy, get online, and enjoy one another’s company! And if that’s the case…I think I’ve armed you with the tools that you’ll need to successfully engage in a great Virtual Wine Tasting!
If you’re taking a more formal route, keep reading and I’ll provide you more options to include in your tasting!
What are you going to drink?
If you’re picking up from a local winery or ordering online from a winery, I recommend that all participants choose the same 3-4 wines. A fun hack is that canned wine is typically only 1/3 or ½ a bottle, so you can try 3-4 different wines without opening 3-4 full bottles.
If your participants are all from different cities and you’re picking up from your local wine/liquor shop, I recommend going with a theme. It can be challenging to coordinate tasting the exact wines unless you go with more commonly available options.
Some ideas include:
- 3-4 varietals (check out some varietal options on my 52 Weeks of Wine page here!)
- 3-4 wines of a single varietal from different regions (ie Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir – each from major world production regions)
- 3-4 wines of a single varietal from same region at different price points (ie 4 Pinot Noirs from Washington varying in price from $6/bottle to $30/bottle).
- 3-4 wines from a single region (ie Sparkling, light-bodied white wine, rosé, and light-bodied red wine from Monterey County, California)
Taking notes – check out my free wine tasting sheets here! They’re an easy, self-explanatory method for taking notes that everyone can print at their own locations.