Virtual Wine Tastings are one of my favourite lockdown discoveries. I completed WSET Level 2 in February 2020 but by March the only way for me to continue my wine tasting journey was online. However, I was extremely skeptical and reluctant to get involved. How would online wine tasting work? Could I really learn about wine over Zoom? What a different a year makes. I’m now signed up to start Level 3 in May and almost the whole of the challenging course will be online. So, let me tell you why I think a virtual wine tasting experience can be just as good as a face to face. In fact sometimes a virtual tasting experience can offer even more.
I’ve enjoyed quite a few wine tastings over the last few weeks. Many more than I would have had time for had they been face to face. Each works in a slightly different way from the very informal bring your bottle to tutored tastings hosted by the winemaker. A virtual wine tasting allows you to invite the expert into your own home, to explore and discover new wines. If like me you have a family and a busy home life this is much easier to manage than traveling to attend a live event. Even though you aren’t face to face there is lots of social interaction and laughs to be had alongside the learning.
I’ve recently signed up for a Monthly Subscription with the fabulous Mummy Wine Club. Every month I receive a carefully curated selection of four delicious bottles of wine. April’s theme is the Pinot grape. My box contained a Pinot Gris from Oregon, Pinot Noir from Germany, Sancerre Rosé and Pinot Blanc from Austria. The wines arrive with tasting notes, wine pairing suggestions and recipes. A monthly wine tasting is included as part of the subscription.
April’s tasting was hosted by Victoria Daskal, founder of the Mummy Wine Club together with Austrian winemaker, Judith Beck. The chance to meet the actual maker of the wine you are drinking is something quite exceptional and is made so much easier by the use of technology. I was in London but Judith was in Austria at her vineyard. It was such a privilege to taste her wine while she told us her story. Judith makes her wine biodynamically and we were able to get a flavour of how these principles had transformed the quality of her wines.
The charismatic duo of Pamela Gregory and Jude King have been running weekly Live tastings throughout Lockdown. Hannibal Brown is an online wine retailer. You can buy the featured wines through them prior to the tasting. I bought not just one, but six bottles of the Chateau D’Ollieres Provencal Rosé. I’m thrilled I did, it’s absolutely delicious and very reasonably priced. I will definitely be buying more this summer.
The tastings are run over Facebook and You Tube and luckily they are stored there for you to watch and enjoy at a later date as well. Go and take a look. We didn’t get a chance to meet winemaker however Pamela and Jude did. They brilliantly convey why they love the wine and what makes it special. A celebrity wine quiz was the highlight of the evening. Pamela and Jude have excellent knowledge and bags of energy. The evening was free and great fun, I just paid for the delicious wine.
Hannibal Brown also run private virtual wine events as well as selling fun looking DIY wine tasting kits. Take a look at their website to discover more.
Virtual Vino Wine Club @virtualvinowineclub – Fizz Tasting
I headed over to the Virtual Vino Wine Club for a really relaxed and enjoyable evening tasting Fizz with fellow wine enthusiasts. Created on Instagram by two oenophiles @bobellsbubbles and @endofthewine, they describe themselves as a weekly virtual wine club and safe space for wine nerds. We all chose a bottle of fizz, opened it and shared it (virtually) with the group. This isn’t a tutored tasting experience. You share wine recommendations and tasting notes with the group. We talked through a range of sparkling wines, even red fizz, which I have never tasted before. I came away intrigued and buzzing with new ideas.
Next Week’s Tasting – The Wines of Alsace with Love Wine
Love Wine run fabulous tastings. I’ve been to a few and I’ve always learnt loads and had a fun, relaxed evening with like minded people. Their tastings run in two ways. Either you can pay £30 for a ticket and six tasting size bottles of the wines they will be discussing are sent to you. Alternatively you can pay £10 for your ticket and chose your own wine. This is option I’ve taken for my Alsace tasting. Love Wine give lots of guidance and it means I have the rest of the bottle to finish afterwards. The events are informal and unstuffy and this flexible approach makes them even easier to enjoy.
Now that Lockdown is ending live events will hopefully be starting again. However, I, for one, hope that virtual wine tastings are here to stay. It is such an effortless way to learn about wine and to meet some incredible people who are geographically too far away to meet in person. It also means that everyone else in your house can get involved too. My daughter, home from university, has been fascinated and these virtual tastings have opened the world of wine for her. There are so many virtual events to chose from. Why don’t you sign up for one and give it a try.
Finally, if you are planning a wine tasting at home remember Top Note Design sells everything you need. From bottle openers to polishing cloths and wine preservation systems. Take a look.