by Tania Tomaszewska –
When the “Covid Lockdown” started and things ground to a halt, I thought that my wine exploring would come to a standstill and this might actually be a “dry” chapter in my life. Well, that thinking lasted about four days.
A large part of my “new normal” is attending or hosting virtual wine tasting experiences, creating “Wine Zoom Rooms” and dropping into virtual happy hours with friends. I know that I’m not alone here. Has wine consumption gone up during these unprecedented and tectonic times? Probably. Wine store and online sales certainly have.
WiFi, wine and connectivity – that’s where some of us are at. Wine is about geography, science, nature, art, accident and surprise. It’s a vehicle to connect us with where that drop was made, its makers and their mission. But above all, wine connects us with each other through these stories, whether we’re clinking glasses at the dinner table, in a winery tasting room or virtually.
Right now, armchair wine travel is our way to keep tasting and learning. And we can still do this together, wherever our space is. Here are some tips and ideas if you’re thinking of hosting a virtual wine tasting happy hour with your friends or family.
Setting Up & Guest List
• Get your Zoom on (or other preferred platform). Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts or Microsoft Meetings are examples of virtual venues for your tasting. You might use some of these apps already, so go with what’s easiest for you and your group. Just try to get all participants on one screen so that you can interact with each other as you’re tasting.
• In terms of tasting group size, having two to eight screen participants encourages discussion and provides everyone with an opportunity to speak a bit about their wine (if they wish). You can certainly host more than eight tasters; just make sure that you have a leader to reign everyone in.
• Allocate about one hour for the tasting. Chances are that some of you will want to continue (there’s always a few of us), but this is a good amount of time to catch up and share thoughts about what you’re sipping.
Theme & Format
• Think about your group and what they’d like to explore and share. It can be everything from “bring whatever you have pouring tonight” to “let’s focus on chardonnay” (or other grape) to “let’s go to the Okanagan.”
• You can agree to pick up the same bottle before the tasting and taste it simultaneously, but I prefer deciding a theme and letting everyone choose what they’d like to bring to the party. It’s a great way to swap ideas about new finds.
• If there’s a wine pro or enthusiast in the group, they might take the mantle of “tasting guide” to frame the conversation and pose questions to facilitate discussion.
• Prep time can be as little as showing up, pouring some wine and telling the others how you feel about it. Or you might take some time to research the winery, its winemaking technique or the grape in your glass.
There are no rules here. You can decide which layers you want to peel back when tasting. Just have fun doing it.
Want to be part of a Seaside Magazine Wine Zoom Room hosted by Tania? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to be sent an evite link to join!
Questions or comments? Drop Tania a line at email@example.com.