How to Organize a Virtual Wine Tasting with Friends or Family in Quarantine
One of the things my family started doing to stay connected during quarantine and spend some QT (quality time/quarantine time) together has been organizing virtual wine tastings together over Zoom. My mom started it at first as a way to celebrate our would-be wedding date after Kenny and I had to postpone our April wedding – she sent me a few of the best wines I’ve ever had, easily delivered to my doorstep with wine.com and she had them deliver the same ones to her and my dad!
My family LOVES wine – I grew up only an hour away from Napa and Sonoma, and one of our favorite things to do together when we’re not on lockdown is to go wine tasting in California wine country! So once we realized how fun it was to all be drinking the same wines together virtually, we got my brother and his girlfriend involved, and I started doing the same thing with groups of friends as well.
Virtual wine tasting, whether you do it through a winery or you organize it yourself, is a great cross-generational family quarantine activity or quarantine date night idea for couples. And what better time than now to learn a little more about wine, and find a few new favorite wines – that you can easily order online!
Do a professional wine tasting virtually
The easiest way to do a wine tasting with friends online is to leave it to the pros! This week, I’m doing a virtual wine tasting with Priority Wine Pass, which is a great site to find small producer wineries with VERY high quality wines who are offering virtual tastings! We did the Prime Solum and Expression 38 tasting – an amazing family-run small production winery – and chose their most popular tasting – option 2 – of chardonnay, pinots and a cabernet sauvignon! It was SOOO good, highly recommend. You get 4 bottles of wine, so we had plenty of the wine leftover for the next night, as well.
Priority Wine Pass’s tastings are a great way to help support small-production wineries that normally rely on their tasting rooms to stay in business, and to have some very good wine, and learn something about wine and Napa Valley while you do it.
How to organize your own virtual wine tasting over Zoom or Google Hangouts
One of the things we’ve been doing lately as a fun date activity during quarantine is organizing a double date with friends or a triple date with my parents and my brother and his girlfriend over zoom where we all taste the same wines and talk about them and what we taste! We talk about tasting notes on the wines, which ones we like, how much we think they cost, etc.
It may seem intimidating to set up your own wine tasting but all you have to do is. 1) Pick a few wines – you can either 2) Make sure everyone orders the same wines on Wine.com, or have everyone order them on Drizly (which delivers in under an hour, making it super easy, especially for your first tasting, but note they don’t have the selection that wine.com has), 3) Have one person be the master of ceremonies and have them know the tasting notes and info on each wine, 4) set up a zoom or google hangout, and a time that works for everyone 5) Have everyone pour the wines side by side 6) enjoy! and discuss all the wines!
What wines should we taste in a virtual wine tasting?
If you don’t know much about wine to begin with, I highly recommend going with one of the Priority Wine Pass tastings – we did the Prime Solum, Expression 38° & Tetra tasting of chardonnay, pinot, and cabernet sauvignon which was AMAZING.
If you DO know a little something about wine, think about tasting one varietal from 3 different areas, that are all rated about the same on Wine Spectator or Robert Parker (You can find these easily on each wine’s description as a # under RP or WS listed under each wine on Wine.com), in general, an over 90 point wine is a very good wine. I recommend doing 3-4 wines ( you may not finish all of those bottles, hah! But you can save them for the next couple nights (especially if you have a Coravin, the patented wine system that allows you to pour a glass of wine without removing the cork!! Easily one of the best things we asked for on our wedding registry this year)
Since you can’t make it a fully ‘blind’ tasting when you do a virtual wine tasting, it helps to pick wines that not everyone has heard of – so I like to do small producers. They tend to be better quality wines – Plus they’re the ones that really need your support right now!
Here are some of my wine tasting at home ideas you could use:
Feel free to order all of them, and use your Coravin to make sure no wine goes to waste, or just order ~ 3 of the options I give to make things easier!
The Best of the Best Pinot & Merlot Tasting
If you’re looking for a new favorite splurge red wine, but aren’t feeling Cabernet (or the price tag of a nice Cab), comparing these showstopping merlots and pinot noirs side by side is a really fun tasting. And they’re all the same exact rating! These are some of my absolute favorite wines in the world (from some of my favorite Napa and Sonoma wineries) Highly recommend this tasting.
White Wines Around the World
White wines taste so different all over the world – which do you like best? Compare different regions and varietals of whites, and take a trip around the world to some of the warmest, most lust-worthy wine destinations while you do it.
Burgundy from France – William Fevre Chablis – 91 points WS
Sancerre from the South of France – Henri Bourgois, 90 points WS
Chardonnay from California – Rombauer (my absolute favorite wine), 90 points WS or Sonoma Cutrer, a little less expensive but similar taste profile and 90 points
The Best Under $30 Red Wines
Comparing under $30 wines can be really fun – and you’ll likely decide what should be your new go-to ‘house’ wine.
Cabernet Sauvignon showdown – The Best of the Best
Everyone loves a good cabernet sauvignon – and no one does them better than Napa Valley. For these heavy hitters, given the price tag, you could compare just 2 of these 4 and still have a great virtual tasting, or go all out and do 3 or 4.
All of these cabs are available on Drizly.com – meaning you can get them delivered in under an hour!
Cabernet Sauvignon showdown under $50
Cabernets are always a favorite, but are they REALLY worth that price tag? This is for anyone who wants to find a new favorite, really high-quality Cab under $50. All of these are over 92 points rated, and really good.
Comparing Pinot Noirs
This one’s for the pinot lover. Pinot is always a go-to wine for me, and I’d say it’s one of the hottest wines of 2020. So how do some of the best pinots compare when they’re side by side?
Walter Hansel, Russian River Valley, 93 points (Note that this one DEFINITELY has to open up, I’d pour it at least a few hours before you drink it)
Comparing Pinot Noirs from Southern California versus Northern California versus Oregon
Oregon – Rex Hill Pinot Noir, 91 Points
Russian River Valley – En Route Les Pommier Pinot Noir, 92 points
The Best Red Wine Varietals Around the World
Sip each wine, one at a time, get a feel for the wine, give each wine a ranking from 1-10, and write it down then all of you say your rankings for each wine. Talk to each other about what tasting notes you taste. G One person in your group should have the correct tasting notes and wine info so after everyone has guessed, they can reveal what the experts say. After you’ve tasted all of the wines and discussed them, ask everyone in the group to guess the price of each wine.
You guys. I am OBSESSED with good quality wine glasses – and if you haven’t checked out my post on all the best wine glasses, and why wine glasses matter, head on over there next! In fact, another fun wine tasting idea would be to taste the SAME wine out of different wine glasses, and see what taste differences you notice.
Check out these other blog posts
Jetset Christina’s Best Wines to Drink in Quarantine