HOW TO: GET THE BEST OUT OF A VIRTUAL WINE TASTING
As we adapt to the changing landscape across the world, the wine community has also faced some challenges. With no way of travelling and hosting keen wine-lovers, how best do we judge this year’s harvest?
One answer to this problem has become one of the most popular innovations in the wine world in recent times: the virtual wine tasting. From London’s 67 Pall Mall’s ‘67 at Home’ series to big hitters in the Napa Valley and Sonoma working with Priority Wine Pass, winemakers and distributors have started streaming from their homes to a worldwide audience, aiming to show what makes their wine worth the effort.
However, if you’re about to experience your first virtual tasting, you may wonder what to expect from the experience. And, perhaps more importantly, how can you ensure that more time glued to your screen is time well spent?
Well, to help you in your virtual quest we’ve put together a short guide on how to get the best out of a virtual wine tasting. Read our guide before logging-in to your tasting, and you’ll be much more confident in how to get the best out of your new wine experience. Enjoy!
There’s nothing worse than missing the tasting or not getting the most of it because of technical difficulties, so ensure your computer and internet connection are set-up with plenty of time to spare. Don’t forget to test your headphones and microphone so you can ask those all-important questions.
Some tastings require you to purchase wine before the event, which could be small samplers or full bottles. Get all you’d need to open and enjoy the wine ready before the call starts. But do make sure your wine is going to be at the right temperature when the tasting begins. No-one’s going to enjoy warm white wine, so have an ice bucket at hand if possible.
If your wine is delivered a few days before the day of the tasting and you’re wondering how to keep it at peak condition, check out our wine article on storing wine in Singapore here.
It’s not just about the wine
The relationships you build with winegrowers, importers and distributors are meant to be long-standing. A good seller, for example, will take time to understand your palate and craft recommendations around that. So take time during the tasting to understand what drives the host in creating (or selling) their wines. You can then gauge if that aligns with your beliefs.
It is a good idea to get comfortable asking about the host’s beliefs about wine. If you’re looking to get great wine recommendations, you’ll want to know you’re both on the same page to start with.
For instance, if you prefer organic food, you’ll want to be sure that your winemaker is as committed to sustainability as you are. Check what practices they use in the vineyard, if they use chemicals, and if they are certified as a sustainable wine producer. If the virtual tasting is being conducted by a wine seller, you could ask them how they source their wine, whether they have met the winemakers and if they check for certification.
Look for the unique
Believe us, almost anyone can grab a bottle of wine and start talking about it. For an exemplary virtual wine experience, you should be looking for something that goes above and beyond the norm.
If you’re in discussion with a winemaker, for example, it might be good to know if they are going to be sitting in their vineyard. If they are, they’ll be able to show and not just tell you more about the winemaking process.
Any bonus elements to the experience will certainly enliven the standard format. For instance, if you’re interested in seeing where the wine is made but the internet connection isn’t strong down in their cellars, feel free to ask the winemaker to send you some pictures when the tasting ends. Again, our point is, you shouldn’t be afraid to clarify absolutely any queries you have!
If you’re talking with a wine seller, find out what makes them different. It will be good to know why the wines they have chosen are important to them, and why are they best placed to pick wines for you. Look for tastings that explore the core of the company, not just the wines themselves. If you hear something interesting and unique, it will make the virtual wine experience much more enjoyable.
Join us for a virtual cheers
If this article has piqued your interest, why not join us for a virtual wine tasting with a difference? Brown Bag Wines founder Aivonne Chong will introduce you to the length and breadth of minimal intervention wines, from organic winemaking practices to our natural wine producers. She will also explain to you how our sustainable vision guides all of our wine choices. You can find out more and register your interest here.