Monday Musings: Will Virtual Tastings Continue As World Reopens?

This used to be my idea of a seminar room. Now it’s my small screen on my iPad with many faces in their own space and people looking out from the comforters of their own homes. Often people are poised in front of a bookshelf to show how many books they own it seems or in the wine business, with bottles and fancy glasses at hand.

I am musing about whether or not this will continue when more bars and places open for outdoor dining. I certainly think they will as the world is not reopening at the same pace or in the same way. I know myself that last week I was able to attend more wine seminars than at an annual wine conference. It was incredible, Bordeaux, Oregon, and so many others on one day – The Wine Origin Alliance Day – June 17th but others as well. New Zealand has been doing a great job with webinars too. There are also industry discussions to be had about the fate of the business and a myriad of individual Instagram Live tastings and series on topics ranging from racism in the industry to indigenous grape varieties from Italy to Moms in wine, etc. Amber Burke of SpitBucket has created a website to host all of these events called Virtual Wine Events. Reading through the list of possible outlets just for one day is amazing.

While the educational aspect is easy to understand and enjoy, it also needs to be translated into sales. I see Master Sommeliers doing blind tasting classes offering kits to buy to participate and I know someone has created a way to make tasting kits for tasting wines blind for those studying for exams as well. Lifetime Vintage I believe is the name of the company.

The challenge is to tie the virtual tastings into educational programs for consumers and trade or to sales to consumers to make it worthwhile for producers to participate and for consumers to watch. At the moment, there is so much concentration in the delivery side of the industry with just a few names able to provide wines that it seems once needs to be linked in with them.

The evolution of the industry has been fast and furious and there is no way that it is going to go away. I do miss seeing friends at seminars and the annual conferences but I also like this new access as a student, a presenter, a journalist, a blogger, an educator.

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