Chances are you’re starting to feel a little stir crazy with the quarantine and social distancing guidelines that most places around the world have implemented. Who knows when any of us will be able to travel again, or even share a meal or glass of wine in person again. We’re all looking for new and creative ways to stay sane through this global crisis, and to find a semblance of normalcy in what is a decidedly abnormal state of affairs. Thankfully, our resident wine expert Angela Aiello shared a brilliant idea with us on how to do just that: host a virtual wine tasting.
Angela, also known as @SuperWineGirl is a multi-award winning journalist, educator, creative writer and host. Having traveled to over 14 countries, tasted over 10,000 wines and 20 years in the wine, spirits and hospitality industry. She’s lead over 250 wine school classes, 50 dinner parties, and worked with countless celebrity chefs. As both a leader and executive in the wine industry, her vision is to help people earn their own wine confidence and bring innovation and creativity to entire industry. She’s shared her thoughts and tips on how to create a great virtual wine experience with us, read all about it below!
You may not be able to leave home for anything besides the most necessary reasons, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go on a wine adventure.
Hosting a virtual wine tasting is a great way to bring people together, reminisce about your travels abroad and learn about wine as well! It just takes a few easy steps to pull together a memorable while virtual wine tasting experience.
Gather your guests
Like with a real life party, your guest list is key to making your gathering a great one. Whether you’re spending time with life long friends, catching up with wine loving family members, or coordinating an electic crew that’s looking to connect in a strange time, thanks to technology it’s easier than ever to bring people together. All you need is your phone, tablet or laptop and one of the many communication apps and sites out there and soon you’ll be sharing a great wine tasting experience all while keeping a safe social distance. Consider upping the ante by inviting a sommelier or wine enthusiast you know, and ask them to lead you through the tasting notes and share other tasting tips as well.
Pick a Theme
It’s easier to bring people together when there’s a common theme to rally around. Start by planning a night where you and your guests buy the same wines, so you’re all sharing a common tasting experience. You can choose a region, a grape, or something as simple as sharing your favorite wine with your guests. You can have guests follow the theme by suggesting their own wine choices, coordinating their outfits and sharing music ideas through a shared playlist!
Set a Date and Time
After doing some research it seems that 5pm is the overarching set time for “Wine O Clock” but with many of us working from home this can really be up to you to set. Check in with your guests to ensure you pick a time that works for everyone, that doesn’t interfere with other commitments and gives people a chance to sit down and relax with you while you sip and share your wine experience. Send your guestlist an email calendar invite that includes all relevant theme information, as well as the video call in details for whichever platform you decide to use, be it Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype or the many others that are out there. Don’t forget to send a reminder to your guests as the meeting time approaches.
Have a Short Itinerary
Having an itinerary or agenda will help keep the party organized and ensure that you cover all the wines and stories you had planned. The party could start off with the host introducing themselves, and talking about why they choose the theme. From there, you can have an order of who talks about their wine and why they brought that wine to the party, and then you can all talk about your travel memories.
Set an Etiquette
Just because you’re attending a party from your own home doesn’t mean etiquette goes out the window. Virtual parties have their own requirements to make sure people are not talking over each other, that there are few or no interruptions, and that everyone has a respectful and enjoyable time. To start, the host should let everyone know that there is an itinerary/agenda that should be followed and respected. Depending on how large your tasting is, you could have a panel of people who are unmuted to talk at anytime, with the majority of people muted so that the background is quiet to hear people talk. You can ask guests to “raise a hand” to ask a question and have the host then unmute them. This way everyone has a chance to speak, learn and share.
This is the most important step of all! As the host your job is to lead the tasting, prepare your guests, and organize the chaos of a party into a fun well-structured virtual party. Because virtual parties don’t last as long as a regular party, it’s good to keep parties to a set to a time limit (1 hour is about perfect) to make the most of everyone’s time and to allow everyone to sip, show and tell.
If the idea of a virtual tasting intrigues you, check out the tasting that Angela herself will be hosting and learn from an expert! Join her and guest host winemaker José Hernandez on Saturday April 25th at 2pm for a Zoom virtual tasting featuring exotic Spanish grape varietals and regions. And to ensure you have wine to taste, Angela is offering a Super Wine Girl Friendship offer of 15% off your order and FREE DELIVERY in the Greater Toronto Area. Get in touch with Angela for this amazing offer and more through her website below.