Virtual wine tasting

Friends on the screen; wine to hand

Virtual wine tastings are all the rage – so how do you organise one?

It’s easy – Guests, Wine, Location (virtual/garden), Agenda – here’s our guide to making it successful!

Who’s invited?
The people you invite and their level of interest in wine should set the agenda.
• For an informal occasion – either hire a wine guide to lead a fun, factual tasting or, if you’re on a budget, get one of our video wine guides or find a friend or family member who can present a few facts about the wine and suggest what the people should look for in colour, bouquet and flavour
• For those who want to go a little further or add something special to the evening – hire a wine guide to lead your tasting and help you explore the grape, region or wines you have chosen, advise on food pairing and answer any questions
• For serious wine buffs – hire a wine guide to delve into the topic of choice, whether it is grape, region, producer or all of the above, your guide can walk you through these, along with the viticulture and winery processes that are impacting the wine’s flavour, intensity and price.

For more information about hiring a wine guide or to download the video wine guide and the tasting notes please see below.

What Wine?
Decide on a theme that interests you. halfwine’s tasting packs are one source of ideas. The best themes are comparisons. There are typically four dimensions that you could use:
• Cultivar (grape or blend)
• Vintage
• Region
• Price (as a proxy for quality)
For example, select wines from around the world: Cabernet Sauvignon from Bordeaux, South Africa, the USA and Chile (same cultivar, similar vintage, similar price but different regions).
When looking to assess quality, a good theme is same cultivar, same vintage, same region but different prices. Another popular, but difficult to arrange, theme is called a ‘vertical’; same wine from the same producer but different vintages.

How much Wine?
Home delivery is quite expensive and, per bottle, the more you buy the less it costs. In one evening two, or maybe four, wines are all one can handle without waste – either wasted wine or wasted participants.
You could opt to hold three or four sessions over a few weeks and buy 12 bottles, with free delivery from halfwine. Consider whether each participant (person or couple) buys their own or does one person buy the lot and get halfwine to sort out the logistics of home delivery?

Which Location?
Thinking Virtual? Which video app to use? Zoom seems to have taken the world by storm for this (Houseparty also has its devotees) but Facebook Messenger Rooms, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams all have features (restricted in the free version) to enable a virtual tasting. If you are holding the tasting for a company your normal video conferencing software should be fine.
Alternatively, now that we can, organise a garden or street party – 6 people, appropriately spaced, enjoying a wine tasting is the perfect way to re-connect with friends and family. You can still hire a virtual wine guide for the event, or depending on location, hire a wine guide to come to you.

What’s the Agenda?
How do you spend the time? How formal do you want it to be? How do you prevent the tumbleweed moments? In any setting, along with a few facts, a quiz goes down well, keep other activities to hand in case the chat flags. One fun thing is to invite one person to randomly choose a wine, taste and describe it to the others, and see if people can work out which wine is being described. Also useful is to ask each participant to get some nibbles, perhaps a hard and a soft cheese or some nuts to accompany the wines (your guide, if you have one, can advise on pairings in advance).

Below is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek agenda for a social gathering. “Agenda for this eve:
1. Where are we in our house?
2. Updates: cute creatures we live with (children/cats/dogs) 
3. Wine chat - what are we drinking 
4. Rant 1: This weeks failings at the childrens' school 
5. Q&A (All asking questions about the virus and expecting at least one of us to know the definitive answers)
6. Rant 2: Global handling of the Coronavirus 
7. Trashy TV shows screened this week 
8. Obsessive exercising update (running/cycling)
9. Rant 3: Something totally non-PC and fuelled by wine 
10. AOB.
Feel free to amend 😂”

Wine Guide
The notes about each wine on the halfwine website provides an ‘inhouse’ guide to the aromas and flavours of the wines. Others have found it useful to print the tasting notes before the tasting rather than trying to find them and read them online during the tasting.

If you’re looking to add something special to the evening or you’re after the next level of information, consider hiring a wine guide.

halfwine works with Kay, an industry qualified and experienced wine guide, who has pulled together a number of discovery tasting packages for us.
• Level 1 – for each of our four, half bottle tasting packs - a simple, 10 or so minute video outlining the wines, flavours and some grape characteristics. Available at £5 per download.
• Level 2 – for our four, half bottle tasting packs - a live, virtual walk through of the wines, their grape characteristics and regions and a QA (~30mins) at a suitable time for you. Available at £30 for up to 6 tasting guests (1 guest = a couple or individual in one chat window) plus your selected tasting pack sent to Kay.
• Level 3 – for your selection of up to 6 half bottles – a live, virtual walk through of the detailed grape characteristics for each wine, their region, the wine producer and general viticulture and production methods lasting up to an hour at a suitable time for you. Available at £60 for up to 10 tasting guests (1 guest = a couple or individual in one chat window), plus your wine selection sent to Kay.

And, for those looking for the extra special or more of a journey of discovery, to accompany halfwine’s Taste Your Way Around The World, a series of 6 private tasting sessions of up to 60 minutes each. Available at £120 plus some of the wines, as agreed with Kay, to be sent to her.

To order these packages please click here.

Should you wish to arrange something bespoke please contact Kay directly – click here
Tasting Packs

Try out our wine tasting packs and experience the fun and variety in wine comparisons...