Wineries and wine professionals are quickly adapting to what’s become our “new normal” – social distancing. They are using remote conferencing services and their social media accounts to have virtual wine tastings and other events that allow them to interact and build relationships with their customers and followers. It’s working, too. In spite of worldwide quarantines and Shelter-In-Place orders, alcohol sales are up across the board. Virtual events breed connection, something everyone in the world needs right now. Keep reading to learn about the kinds of virtual tastings and other events that are taking place and how you can join them and get involved.
Julia Coney “Uncorked” Movie Virtual Chat
Recently, Julia Coney, freelance consultant, wine influencer/enthusiast, (and proud owner of a VinGardeValise®️ Wine Suitcase), held a watch party for the Netflix movie, “Uncorked”, a movie about a young African-American man’s journey to becoming a master sommelier. Intent on screening the movie, highlighting the importance of representation among peers in the wine industry, Julia said, “The Uncorked Movie virtual chat was unprecedented for me. I didn’t realize almost 200 people would want to watch the movie with me. At this time we needed a good laugh, a good cry, and the ability to dream of where we want to visit in the future. We were transported through the wine in our glass. I’m currently about to start virtual wine chats with winemakers, vineyard workers, and various people in the wine industry. I want to support small business and the way to do this is to actually step up to be that change that we now are doing virtually.”
Connect with Julia on all of her social media accounts via @JuliaConey and visit JuliaConey.com to learn more about her efforts to make wine accessible to everyone.
#JuliaConeyWineChat launches on Monday, April 13. Follow her for details.
Belden Barns Winery Virtual Tasting Series
Join Belden Barns Winery for free virtual wine tastings every Sunday evening at 5pm PST. through May 24th. Each week, they’ll explore a new varietal/bottling from their portfolio, inviting participants to weigh in on attributes like taste, appearance, and perfect pairing ideas. On the agenda will be fun experiments to explore how the taste of the wine changes when paired with different random items from your shelter-in-place stockpile (think: beans, marshmallows, rice, peanut butter, popcorn, mac & cheese, etc). They’ll also include fun questions like, “which of the following songs would go best with this wine?”, and “if this wine were to come to life as a celebrity, who might it be?”
The next event will be Sunday, 4/12 and they’ll be featuring their Estate Grüner Veltliner.
Register for the event here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Oc0pFVVfSRqZRkPghkueQA
Purchase wines for events here: https://www.beldenbarns.com/product/
Idle Hour Virtual Tasting Series
On Friday, attendees of Idle Hour’s virtual event learned about their Petit Verdot and joined winemaker Anna Marie dos Remedios on her #virtualwinetasting live story on Instagram at @idlehourwine and on her Facebook live via the Idle Hour Winery page. She talked about some of the unusual single varietal wines she makes and why she’s so inspired to make them. Follow Idle Hour Wine to stay in the loop about upcoming events.
Silt Wine Co. Virtual Tasting Series
Silt Wine Company was an early entrant into Virtual Tastings (post Shelter In Place order), hosting their first weekly live tasting on Thursday, March 26. “Our mission is to help people enjoy Clarksburg as much as we do,” says owner Phil Ogilvie. He continues, “With the shelter order, we are doing what we can to help people enjoy Clarksburg in the comfort of their homes. Their tasting room is now their kitchen table.”
Silt Wine Co. will be hosting their weekly “Thursday Night Tasting Flights” LIVE every Thursday at 5pm and posting the completed videos on their social media channels and website.
More than just a tasting, Phil & David Ogilvie are trying to build a “show” with wine tasting at the core. The Ogilvies, twin brothers and 4th generation farmers in Clarksburg, are light hearted, fun, entertaining, and very knowledgeable about wine with David as winemaker and Phil offering color commentary.
Silt Wine Company’s model is simple and engaging: participants are encouraged throughout the week to purchase the next weekly tasting flight and then tune in at 5pm. The tasting bundles are discounted, shipping is free, and club members get an additional 20-30% off. In the last two weeks of tasting it is estimated that over 100 people participated in each tasting with wines in front of them. Additionally, their virtual tasting videos are reaching 30,000 views in a week on Facebook – that is people tuning in for 3 seconds or more. “We are seeing new entrants into our community that have never even been in our tasting room. People are using these unique tastings as a date night and a way to connect together with friends while staying home.” says, Ogilvie.
While watching live on Facebook or Instagram, people are able to ask questions directly to the winemaker. With his vast experience, continual drive to learn, and travel around the world, David has yet to be stumped.
The schedule for the next few weeks of Thursday Night Tasting Flights is as follows:
4/9 Reclamation Flight (Their Premium Series)
4/16 Burgundy Flight (with a mysterious twist)
4/23 Bonfire Flight (Big and Juicy Reds)
They look forward to seeing everyone LIVE and participating in the mission of Silt Wine Company to help people #EnjoyClarksburg.
Mesa Park Vineyards Virtual Tasting Series
Mesa Park Vineyards is a family winery that specializes in handcrafted premium wines. Their high altitude vineyard of the classics – Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, showcases views of the Grand Mesa and Bookcliff range. A limited production ensures that their wine receives the attention and care needed for full-bodied, award winning wines. Their 2019 Rosé of Merlot is a 6th Edition Estate Rosé. They will feature it alongside their 2018 Rosé during their virtual tasting Friday 4/10 at 4pm MT on Facebook Live. The Rosé has a gorgeous ruby hue, is bold and food friendly. With ripe strawberries and cherries on the nose and a slight hint of minerality, it’s approachable and tastes delicious on its own or paired with lighter meats, grilled seafood and strong cheese.
William Chris Vineyards Virtual Tasting Series
William Chris Vineyards is conducting virtual tastings via Facebook Live and they’re a real party. Holding these tastings every Saturday at 4pm CST, this Texas winery is definitely making the best out of the situation. They featured their 2018 Marsanne One Way, 2017 Malbec Gilliam Gap, 2017 Grenache Lahey, 2017 Sangiovese Phillips in a “Virtual Tasting 4-pack” during their most recent event. Follow them on Facebook to get notifications about upcoming events.
Creativity and ingenuity are vital for any person, organization, or business intent on remaining viable in this current global economic climate. So many are rising to the occasion. As time goes on and we face some of the most trying and difficult days our country has ever experienced, it’s wonderful to see the connections being created in our industry and beyond. We don’t know if things will ever be “normal” again, but after the worst is behind us, we will realize that connecting via these kinds of virtual events will have drawn us closer. We’re creating a new model for our future and doing so successfully. That gives us hope, something else we all need right now in ample supply.
More Wineries (And Some Breweries) Offering Virtual Events!
We’ve curated a list of wineries and breweries that we know are hosting virtual events. It’s not an all-inclusive list so please feel free to recommend an event in the comment section below with the event information. Download the free list by clicking this link (a Dropbox account is not needed).