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Virtual wine tastings at home to beat the pandemic blues

Virtual wine tastings at home to beat the pandemic blues

Earlier this year, I was planning a five-day trip to Abruzzo to wine taste with my husband and a group of friends from our local Golf Club. The tour had been organised by Unique Wine Safaris and had been recommended to us by a work colleague who had had a fantastic trip the year before. We were counting down the days - that is, until the coronavirus hit. Our travel plans rapidly changed, and our week away in Wine Country was out of the picture completely. Flash forward a couple weeks, and now I am social distancing at home with my husband and three kids. I get an e- mail from John at the wine company apologising for the cancellation of our trip but inviting us to join a virtual wine tasting evening which we could host at home with some friends and family. At first, I was perplexed at how something like this would work, but I was already hooked when I saw the word “wine.”

The invitation noted that John was going to guide participants through the tasting notes of three elegant wines that he personally selected as well as share stories about the vineyard in Abruzzo, and answer questions during a live Q&A session. John would also be educating us on food pairing and even offered to send some excellent local cheeses and Charcuterie. Both My husband and I both have a have a passion for fine wine, together with some friends who we invited along as well ( eight of us in all ).I knew this opportunity was one I could not pass up. Besides, who would want to miss out on a happy hour?

What Do You Do in a Virtual Wine Tasting?
To fully partake, having the bottles that will be tasted are a must. For the tasting, there were three specific bottles featured. Before I signed on for the Zoom live event, I set up shop in our Kitchen and opened all three bottles which had arrived in the post the previous day together with the cheeses and charcuterie and a lovely glass serving mat. Having the wines on hand made it easy for us to follow along — as well as have a great evening.

What Else Do I Need?
The only things you need are the wines being tasted, wine glasses, and a bottle opener. I had a cup of water nearby to rinse out our glasses in between tastings and to wash down each wine before we tried the next bottle. Feel free to pair the wines with cheeses, meats, and desserts if you want to bring the tasting to the next level. Reaching out to the winery or staff beforehand is the best way to find out what foods pair well with each bottle. We had enough

wine and food for our party of eight and had a real fun evening.

What Do You Learn in a Virtual Wine Tasting?
Over the course of the tasting we took part in, the winery owner described the history of this vineyard, the basics of how wine is made, and what we should be looking for as we try each kind. He went over how to identify the alcohol content in a glass by looking at the legs, how to taste for tannins, and how to tell if the wine was bottled recently or had time to age We were also given instruction on wine/food paring and we also also learnt a lot about the vineyard in Abruzzo which wetted our appetite to re book our wine tasting trip once we have the clearance to go. In addition, we were offered some great wines direct from the Vineyard at Special discounted prices

About the Wine
The wines which we sampled in the virtual tasting were from:

The Vineyard Paride’s Abruzzo - 
1) Montepulciano d’Abruzzo red -
2) Pecorino white -
3) Cerasuolo Rose
The Rose was voted voted the best Rose in Italy in 2017, the other three Wines all won silver medals in Los Angeles. So we are talking to top quality

How Much Does It Cost?
The cost was very reasonable at only £45.00 per head together with the cheese and charcuterie, I brought some extra grapes grapes, nibbles and desert £50.00, cheaper than going out to a restaurant having to queue and wear face masks and what a great evening. Just be careful not to buy anything too spicy or hot otherwise you will lose the taste of the wine.

Final Thoughts
While nothing compares to being on the grounds of a vineyard, virtual tastings are a close second. Being able to connect with the owner of a winery, ask questions and get live answers, and learn about what goes into making each bottle so special creates a truly enjoyable experience. Until wineries open again, I’ll be taking part in as many virtual wine tastings as I can. Cheers to that!

Once travel restrictions have been lifted we will be looking forward to going on a Unique Wine Safari Tour in order to visit the vineyard in Abruzzo where I can taste some more award winning wines, have some great local Cuisine and stay in 4 star accommodation complete with English speaking tour guide and transportation

For tickets and further information

Please contact
Bill Stillman
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