For wine lovers, wine tasting is tons of fun, and yes, there’s more to it than just the drinking. Tasting wine is about exploring this complex and sophisticated drink with your senses. And with a little curiosity you might uncover its deepest secrets.
If you’ve attended any wine tastings in the past there’s a method to it; you assess the wine’s colour, its aroma and texture to determine its quality, best food pairings and, with practice, even its provenance.
But perhaps the most important thing about wine tasting, though, is determining if you like the wine or not. And knowing your wine can mean you’ll find more pleasure than ever in every glass.
You don’t need to go anywhere specific to go wine tasting. Actually, wine tasting at home is a great learning exercise and an exciting activity to undertake with your friends and family. You heard that right — a wine tasting party is a great way to share your passion for such intricate fermented drink.
Wine tasting during lockdown has proven to be one of the few ways to stay sane over the last year. It is easier than ever, too.
Experience wine without going out and let it take you on a journey around the world and back with every sip. Here’s our thought on going wine tasting at home.
If you can’t leave your home, or just don’t want to, then why not bring the wine experiences to you? How? With a virtual wine event.
A virtual wine event can be anything from a wine lecture to a guided wine tasting, a wine lesson, or a virtual get-together with like-minded wine lovers.
Virtual wine events might include a chat with winemakers, while others are conducted by professional sommeliers. Some wine events focus on a single country or region, while others cover wine in a broader sense.
The best way of finding the right wine event for you is using the search tool right here on Get Tasting. Over the last year we’ve listed literally thousands of events.
Wine tasting at home is easier than ever, and with such a wide variety of experiences, there’s no reason not to make the most of them.
If you’ve exhausted Get Tasting, or perhaps just want to, you can host your own wine tasting. You’ll also find it can be incredibly rewarding experience to put together your own tasting.
Hosting will first depend on how confident you are leading your friends or family through the wine they’ve got in front of them. You don’t need to be an MW (Master of Wine) or have a diploma, you only need to know a little more than your guests. And that can be easily done with some online research. But take your guests into consideration when deciding this.
If your guests are all staying in their own homes, you could post or deliver the wines yourself. Alternatively you could ask your guests to buy specific wines from the same place, perhaps Majestic or another online retailer. If postage is looking expensive, another option is to ask your guests to buy their favourite wine and let you know what it is. At least that way you know they’ll enjoy the wine.
Spend some time preparing. Research the vineyard, the grape or the region. There are loads of resources on Get Tasting to give you some thoughts about how to conduct your wine tasting at home. Maybe watch a video about the region the wine is from to pick up some interesting facts.
If you’ve got a tough crowd or want to dig a little deeper you can get a sommelier to help you.
Using a site like LocalSomm.com you can find sommeliers who love helping people experience wine and will help you put together a great wine tasting at home. They can source suitable wines and post them directly to your guests. Then they’ll prepare a tasting which gives just the right level of knowledge.
It’s good to let your sommelier know what the wine experience is like in your group so they can deliver it at the right level.
If you’re having friends over for your wine tasting, that’s even easier.
As with virtual events it’s always good to choose a theme. Perhaps you can line up wines from different regions to taste side by side, or you can focus on a single region and its wine styles. Or think about wines from places you’ve each been on holidays to, or that reflect your heritage. How’s that for a wine tasting party?
If you’re feeling generous you could buy all the wines yourself or alternatively tell your guests which bottles to bring — sharing the cost of buying different bottles of wine.
There are many video resources on GetTasting.com to give you some help in putting together your wine tasting at home. You could even try tasting along to an MW presentation. Now that’d be a great wine experience.
Just like a virtual wine tasting at home, if you want a professional sommelier to orchestrate everything for you, you can find one near you at LocalSomm.com.
We’re living the golden era of online, distant wine education. There are more alternatives than ever, and you can easily find one to suit your needs. Here are some of our favourites.
The Wine List
The Wine List is a subscription wine box which focusses on learning while you taste. Each month you receive wines all produced by small independent vineyards.
By tasting your way through the wine with the accompanying taste cards – Wine Roots – you’ll learn a bit more about the wine while you’re drinking it. It’ll improve your senses, help you understand grape varieties and more.
As a special bonus they’ve also passed on a discount to get 30% off your first box. Just use the code ‘LOCKDOWN30’.
Online Wine Tasting Club
Picture this, you’ll get five incredible wines through your mail every month, and your delivery comes with a wine tasting video and material.
The wine comes in environmentally friendly packaging with innovative miniature Bag-in-Box technology, and the professionals directing the wine tastings are incredibly approachable. You’ll find individual tastings as well; in case you want to try out the subscription before committing.
The virtual experiences from Waitrose & Partners are as easy as choosing your wine lesson, receiving your wine at home and enjoying a live two-hour testing with a pro.
Each tasting includes six wines, and they have a gin tasting too! They’ll also continue with their in-person Wine Tasting at Home experiences once it’s safe to go outside.
The knowledgeable folks at Thirty Fifty host a series of virtual wine tastings via Zoom, and they’re as fun as they’re educational. Their Introductory Wine Tasting Evening is a best-seller, and it gets booked fast.
They’ll send you three whites, four reds and a dessert wine, bottled in 50ml samples, and the experience includes quiz rounds and wine tasting games.
If you’re hosting your wine tasting at home or virtually, the cost is as much as what you spend on the bottles. Just make sure you have enough stemmed wine glasses for everyone if they’re coming over! Nobody wants to drink wine out of a plastic tumbler.
For guided tastings with wine, they start as low as £25 and can head into the hundreds of pounds.
If you want to hire your own sommelier through LocalSomm this will depend on the number of people, the qualifications of the sommelier and the wines. But you can expect virtual tastings to start around £45 per household if there are a group of around 6 of you.
When you have a professional guiding you through the selection of wines, whether in a Zoom group or privately, remember that you’re not just paying for the wine. You’re paying for experience, knowledge and guidance of someone who has likely dedicated many hours to studying wine and how to communicate it. Wine is incredibly complex and to skilfully communicate the right things really does take practice.
There are many ways of enjoying wine at home, and there are enough distinct types of wine to keep you entertained while learning something throughout the year. Make tasting wine a habit, it’s enriching, especially when you share it with those close to you, even if it’s through a screen.