Jon’s extensive travels through many of the world’s wine regions, along with decades of tasting wines, have given him a broad palate.
If you enjoyed wine tasting before the pandemic, you can still enjoy it now through a virtual tasting party.
All you need is a few wines, some wine glasses, your phone/computer, and a few friends or significant other.
Adding a candle or two and some background music will make you feel as if you are sitting in the heart of a luxurious Napa Valley winery.
Here are some tips for getting the logistics right and hosting a memorable virtual wine tasting party.
Set a Date
As the life of the party is always the people, your first task is to invite several friends and set up a date that works for everyone.
This is perhaps the most difficult logistical aspect of hosting a virtual wine tasting party. Rather than texting everyone back and forth to figure out when they are free, use an app like Pick. Everyone fills out their Google calendar with times they aren’t available, and the app shows the times when everyone is available.
You can then select a date and time that works for everyone.
Select the Wines
The wine selection process will be tricky. In a typical wine tasting party, everyone would try the same wines and compare them. However, if you ask everyone what wines they want to try, there will likely be some disagreement.
Therefore, consider having everyone send a list of their top five wine selections and then select the most popular wines. In fact, you can even order the wines online for everyone and then have them reimburse you.
You should also include food pairings with each of the wines. Consider various cheeses, crackers, and bread that are versatile with a variety of wines.
Finally, as a host, you should do a little research on each of the wines. In a formal wine tasting, the host would be able to tell you a little about the history of each wine, what it’s made of, and why it’s a popular wine.
While this isn’t meant to be a lecture, having a few fun stories behind each wine is a great way to keep it interesting and steer the conversation.
Test Your Technology
The next thing you’ll have to figure out is technology. Keep in mind that some of your friends might not be technologically savvy, so be sure to help anyone that is lost or frustrated.
If you’re not sure if everyone has a laptop with a camera, be sure to use an application that is also mobile (like Facetime or Messenger).
Before the call, test your camera and sound. If you’re using software like Zoom, you can do a test call to make sure the technology is working smoothly.
Enjoy the Party
Once everyone is on the call, test each wine as a group. In a professional setting, you would take notes on each wine and compare them, so tell your friends to bring a pad of paper to the call.
Most importantly, remember that it is a party and meant to be fun! So don’t be discouraged by any logistics, and be sure to enjoy your friends' company.