Wednesday, March 5, 2014

5 Steps to Wine Tasting in the Virtual World

Once upon a time, the only way to attend a wine tasting was to travel to the location where it was being held. But now, thanks to the Internet, you can attend a tasting without leaving the comfort of your couch.

Virtual wine tastings have been around for a few years, but unless you’re deeply involved in the industry, chances are you haven’t taken part in one. Now, maybe, it’s time!

The “How’s” of a Virtual Tasting
A virtual wine tasting is held via live streaming video from the winery, wine shop, or wine retailer's hosting location.

1) The first step is to sign up or register. Google “virtual wine tasting” or search #virtualwinetasting on Twitter to find events. Or check with favorite wineries, wine shops and internet wine merchants to see what is being offered under their “Events” tab.

2) Once you’ve signed up, you can get a list of the wines to be tasted for the event from the host's website. Most sites will also have those wines available for sale. You can order there, shop around on the internet, or visit your local wine shop. Just remember, you do not have to purchase every bottle listed in the tasting. If your budget is limited, select what’s of interest to you and have fun with it.

Wine Tasting Invitation
Still want to try them all? You can divide the cost of the tasting by getting a group of friends together to take part. (Most wines are not over $20 a bottle.) Not only will that make the tasting a bit more economical, it will create a “traditional” tasting venue while still offering that modern virtual edge.

3) Sign up for the live streaming video platform that is indicated by the host. LiveStream,
or UStream may be used, along with various social media platforms for comments. These will be indicated in the event details.

Let Red Wine Breathe
4) Pre-tasting, chill your white wines about an hour before the event and open your red wines about 20 minutes before so they can breathe. Have clean wine glasses ready, along with water to rinse them with, and a dump container for the rinse water. Rinsing the glasses between wines makes sure that each taste is not influenced by the wine before. Have a basket of crackers to cleanse your palate, and remember to drink water between each tasting to clear your mouth of remaining flavors.

5) For the actual tasting, a host, winery representative, or winemaker will lead tasters through each of the selected wines. Keep notes on your thoughts about each wine because participants are encouraged to comment via the website, chat, Facebook, or Tweet-ups. If you’re holding a tasting party, you can comment about your impressions as a group and offer pairing suggestions based on what you're serving with each wine.

Adobe Connect
Virtual wine tastings offer an innovative approach to educating vino lovers about the wine, the producer, and the wine's history, along with serving suggestions. And it’s all designed to elevate everyone’s enjoyment of wine. Plus, this type of tasting gives you a chance to talk with, share your love of wine, and your opinion with oenophiles from all over the globe.

And virtual tastings are just the beginning. English wine and spirits merchant,
Berry Bros. & Rudd, also offers several virtual wine schools, ranging from one-day classes to weekly evening sessions to summer weekday sessions.

If you’d like to take part in a virtual wine tasting, there are several sites where you can sign up and get involved. Check out Snooth, Live Virtual Wine Tasting, Total Wine & More and Berry Bros. & Rudd

Bottom line: A virtual wine tasting will expose you to new wines, new opinions and new friends. So grab a glass and let the virtual good times roll!

 ~ Joy