Want to go wine tasting without leaving the house? Want to learn the basics of wine or how to describe what you are tasting? Now you can learn about wine in the comfort of your own home.
Many winemakers are offering virtual wine tasting experiences online. Buy some of their wines and then join them as they discuss the wines, how they were made and more. This is better than going to the tasting room as you do not always get to meet the winemaker but now you can.
The folks at the Priority Wine Pass have organized a number of virtual tastings with local wineries. This is a nice option if you want a curated list of wineries.
Click Here to see their list.
Inman Family Wines
Located in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley, Inman Family Wines practices sensitive farming and natural winemaking at the beautiful estate Olivet Grange Vineyard. With the tasting room closed, owner and winemaker Kathleen Inman will be hosting a series of “Meet the Maker” Happy Hours online. And, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Meals on Wheels which provides elderly Americans with meals as well as assistance with errands.
Offer: Pick one or more of their 3-packs of wine and 5% of your purchase will go straight to Meals on Wheels and shipping is included on all packages. Once you have purchased your 3-pack(s) of wine, you will be invited to join Kathleen for any of her free online Meet the Maker Happy Hours on Facebook Video Chat where she will tell you about the wines and you can ask any questions.
“Meet the Maker” Happy Hour online schedule. Times are Pacific Standard Time
Wednesday, April 1: 4:00pm Rosés | 4:30pm Pinots | 5:00pm Bubbles | 5:30pm Variety Pack
Thursday, April 2: 5:00pm Variety Pack | 5:30pm Bubbles | 6:00pm Pinots | 6:30pm Rosés
Friday, April 3: 6:00pm Bubbles | 6:30pm Pinots | 7:00pm Rosés | 7:30pm Variety Pack
Wednesday, April 8: 4:00pm Rosés | 4:30pm Pinots | 5:00pm Bubbles | 5:30pm Variety Pack
Thursday, April 9: 5:00pm Variety Pack | 5:30pm Bubbles | 6:00pm Pinots | 6:30pm Rosés
Friday, April 10: 6:00pm Bubbles | 6:30pm Pinots | 7:00pm Rosés | 7:30pm Variety Pack
Join winemaker Larry Schaffer of Tercero Wines for an online “tasting” of his wines. Order the following wines (remember, you will get 20% off and free shipping on orders of 6 bottles or more): 2015 Verbiage Blanc, 2013 Syrah – Larner Vineyard, 2013 Grenache – Larner Vineyard, 2018 Mourvedre Rose, 2019 Mourvedre Rose or 2019 Cinsault Rose. Specific details on the virtual tastings will be sent out shortly but this is a fun way for Larry to communicate with customers old and new.
Smith Story Wine Cellars
Founded by Alison Smith and Eric Story, Smith Story Wine Cellars is based in the Russian River Valley AVA and has a second tasting room in the Anderson Valley AVA. Smith Story Wines are made with respect for the land, kindness for the grower and love from the winemaker. Working with family-owned vineyards, they produce wines of restraint and balance from places that are special to Alison and Eric.
Offer: Join Eric and Alison Story for Smith Story Saturday Night LIVE, a virtual tasting on Saturday nights at 5 pm PST. Sign up for a free ZOOM profile. Sign up on their mailing list for more information. Episode 1 is Saturday, March 22 at 5 pm PST and will feature the 2018 Sauvignon Blanc. Join them, open a bottle of Smith Story Wines and have fun with Alison and Eric.
Located in the Rutherford growing region in the heart of Napa Valley, St. Supéry Estate Vineyards and Winery produces 100% estate-grown, certified Napa Green wines, focusing on sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, and additional red Bordeaux varietals. With the tasting room closed, St. Supéry Estate Vineyards and Winery will hold a virtual wine tasting every Thursday afternoon for the next six weeks in an effort to connect with wine lovers. To make this experience easy for customers, the winery created a 6-pack Injoy @ Home Tasting Kit that contains the wines to be discussed for the next six weeks with promotional pricing and shipping included. And each wine will come with suggested recipes so you can enjoy the wine for dinner.
Offer: One of the St. Supéry winemakers will host the chat on Zoom each Thursday, from March 19 to April 23, and recordings will be made available if you can’t join in. Facebook Live will also be an option for wine lovers looking to tune in at either 3:00 PM or 5:30 PM PDT. Email email@example.com for a dedicated link to the Zoom hang out or if you are interested in learning more; winery staff remains available via email and phone (+1 866-612-2582) to discuss all things wine-related.
The calendar for scheduled tastings is:
March 19: 2018 Dollarhide Estate Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, 92 Points, Wine Spectator
March 26: 2015 Rutherford Estate Vineyard Merlot, 93 Points, The Tasting Panel
April 2: 2017 Napa Valley Estate Virtú, 90 Points, Wine & Spirits Magazine
April 9: 2016 Napa Valley Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 92 Points, James Suckling
April 16: 2018 Napa Valley Estate Oak Free Chardonnay, *Final Vintage - Very Limited*
April 23: 2014 Dollarhide Elevation, 93 Points, James Suckling
Comstock Wines was inspired by the fundamental passion to grow and source only the best Sonoma County grapes and transform them into wines that are as delicious as they are memorable. Bob and Sandy Comstock began growing grapes in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley in 2002. A 17-acre vineyard in Dry Creek Valley was purchased in 2012 and the winery opened its doors in August 2015, featuring Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Chardonnay.
Offer: S.I.P. Comstock – each week, a new flight of wines will be tasted along with fun Facebook Live Tastings at 4 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the team at Comstock Wines! Order the wines and pay $1 shipping for wines in the Virtual Tastings. Questions, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 707-721-3011
Napa Valley and Park City, Utah come together for this wine that pays homage to skiing and the first tracks left after the first run down the ski slopes. Bordeaux born and trained winemaker Philippe Melka has been making wine at Parallel Wines for 21 years. He carefully selects the fruit source vineyards to produce the best possible Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley and Chardonnay from the Russian River.
While a visit to Parallel Wines is not possible at this time, Parallel Wines can come to your home. Parallel Wines is offering a private online tasting experience. This is an opportunity to foster friendship, education and community at a time when many are voluntarily or mandated to be home during #COVID19.
Offer: General Manager Adrienne Capps brings the beautiful Napa Valley tasting room into your home, where a group of 8 guests or less can enjoy a guided wine tasting including 3 wines: Russian River Chardonnay, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and “Black Diamond” Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Included in the packet will be sample wines, food pairing suggestions for advanced planning, wine order forms and background materials. Groups will need to have internet access, a tablet, laptop or smart TV (no cell phones), familiarity with FaceTime, Skype or Zoom. Tastings will be 90 minutes pending Q & A. Cost is $95 per person and is complimentary for up to 4 people with Wine Club Membership. Appointments are available by contacting email@example.com or 707-486-1100.
Want to learn more about wine in the privacy of your own home? You finally have time to take a class or a course and imagine impressing your friends with your wine knowledge when we are back out in public and socializing.
Virtual Wine Tasting with Brianne
Wine blogger, certified sommelier and educator Brianne Cohen is Diploma Certified by the Wine & Spirits Education Trust who offers classes, tastings, and team-building exercises using wine education as the base. She is taking her education online offering a FREE Wine 101 Virtual Tasting on Thursday, March 19th from 6 pm-7 pm PST and will continue to offer virtual tastings the same time every Thursday while we are stuck at home. While everything around us is so serious, take an hour, grab a glass, and laugh together while enjoying a glass of vino. The Wine 101 Virtual Tasting will be light and fun and will include an "Ask Brianne" segment where she will answer your burning wine questions! No question is too dumb!
San Francisco Wine School
Based in San Francisco, the San Francisco Wine School, led by Master Sommelier David Glancy, provides world-class wine education and experiences for professionals and enthusiasts. Between March 1st and May 31st, 2020, the San Francisco Wine School has shifted all of their classes online. 100 different workshops, as well as credentialed programs, will be conducted in a webinar format and students will receive pdf handouts, suggested wine lists, and a calendar invitation to attend the webinar with login details. No live tastings will be conducted during these sessions however all webinar participants are invited to attend a future 2020 session of the same class to participate in the live tasting and refresh their knowledge. A full list of available classes is available here.
Wine Scholar Guild
Wine Scholar Guild has been offering online wine education for years. Their distance-learning platform includes hundreds of educational webinars, interactive e-learning modules, online flashcards, pronunciation exercises, and learning games. If you already have already been studying wine and want to delve a little deeper, they offer online certification programs on the wines of France, Italy, and Spain.
If you'd rather educate yourself, here is a great list of wine books to dig into.
Allison Levine is the owner of Please The Palate, a boutique marketing and event-planning agency. Allison is Level 3 WSET Certified from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, so she knows about way more than just wine tasting Santa Barbara. Allison is certified as an Italian Wine Specialist from the North American Sommelier Association and has a Master's Degree in International Communications with a focus on cross-cultural training from the American University School of International Service. As a freelance writer, she contributes to numerous publications while eating and drinking her way around the world.
Allison also writes for the Napa Valley Register and other outlets, in addition to her blog at Please The Palate; Twitter and Instagram @plsthepalate; Facebook: Please The Palate