We’ve had a couple of comments recently from followers who haven’t yet made the leap into virtual wine tasting. So, we thought we’d explain a little more about what to expect in a virtual wine tasting.
First of all, search GetTasting.com for an event that you think sounds interesting. It might be a tasting from a particular area of the world you’ve visited. It might be that you’ve never understood the differences between sparkling wines. Or perhaps you’re just after a fun drink-along with like-minded wine lovers.
Whichever it is, have a search using the filters and check out all the details for the tasting. We’re regularly updating the tasting tags for virtual events and our event listings grow. Some of the recent tags we’ve added have been for specific natural wine and biodynamic wine tastings.
Some of the events will show links to the social feeds of the hosts. Check these out and you’ll get an idea of the kind of tastings they’ve run previously. Also give them a follow and support what they’re doing. So many wine educators aren’t able to run their usual events at the moment and we know they’ll appreciate the support.
Once you’ve chosen an event there’s a button on the event page to add the event to your calendar. If you’ve signed up for an account you can also bookmark future events you’re thinking about attending.
For some virtual tastings the host will supply the wines, for others you’ll need to go out and buy them.
67 Pall Mall, for example, provide the wines for most of their wine tasting events. They’ll send these out in small glass containers with a sample of each of the wines in the tasting. Other hosts will have full bottles you can buy.
When choosing an event, if you want to taste along, make sure you’ve left yourself enough time to purchase or acquire the wines.
It’s also perfectly fine to just watch with either no wine, or a completely different wine you just enjoy drinking.
Most virtual tasting events are hosted on Zoom, Instagram or Facebook. But you’ll also find some that are hosted on the host’s website, streamed via Youtube or any other streaming platform.
It’s important to know in advance where you’ll be watching it as you may need to download some software. If you’re watching on your phone you also want to make sure you’ve got enough battery. There’s nothing worse than going through a blind virtual tasting and then your phone battery dies just as the host reveals the wines.
For most of the listings on Get Tasting there will be an icon that shows which platform the tasting is happening on. For those that don’t, you’ll usually get these details once you’ve registered.
Most virtual tasting events are hosted on Zoom, Instagram or Facebook.
Set up Your Tasting Room
Depending on the type of tasting, you’ll want to set up your tasting room accordingly. As a start, good lighting is going to help you to see the colour of the wines you’re tasting. Good lighting is also important if you’re on a gallery style Zoom tasting, where everyone can see each other.
If you’re tasting a wide range of wines you might be better at your dining table or desk. This will allow you to have all your wines in front of you. You might also want to take notes about each of the wines.
If it’s a casual tasting or you’re just watching the tasting, the sofa is always a comfy option.
Like a normal wine tasting, you’ll ideally have a glass for each different wine. This just means that you’re not mixing the flavours and each wine you taste is from a clean glass.
It’s also handy to have a placeholder/placemat with places for each of the wine. This is so you know which wine is which, and you put the right wine back in the right place.
When you’re tasting 6 red wines that all look the same, it can be easy to pick up the wrong one, or put it back in the wrong spot.
The Drinks Coach, Joe Wadsack, has an interesting Youtube video on glassware that’s worth a watch if you’d like to understand how your wine glass affects your experience of drinking wine.
If you’re looking for a great universal wine glass we can highly recommend Gabriel Glas Universal Wine Glass.
You could also grab a spittoon or bucket if you don’t intend on consuming all the wines.
Snacks and Food Pairing
We all know that experiencing wine is enhanced by food. Some tastings will discuss pairings with food, showing you how flavours are accentuated with different foods. If this is the case make sure you’ve got all your food ready in advance.
Some tasting packages we’ve seen even come with paired cheeses or meats.
Make sure you’re all set and ready to go 5 minutes before the virtual tasting starts. That way the host can get going straight away and you won’t miss anything.
Finally, make sure you get involved and ask questions. In most cases the wine tasting won’t be any different to a tasting in real life and hosts generally love to answer questions.
If the host is looking for aromas or characteristics don’t be afraid to throw what you think into the mix, after all, everyone’s approach to wine is different. The key is to challenge our brains and tastebuds and you will learn best when you’re involved in the process.
Remember, this wine tasting process is about learning. Never be afraid to ask a question, no matter how ‘silly’ you think it is. Chances are someone else was thinking the same thing.