5 Top-Notch Wine Tasting Events You Can Attend From Your Couch This Month
They're all free, save for the price of the bottles.
If you’ve been getting creative with your evening social plans during quarantine, you’re not alone. People all over the world are hosting virtual happy hours, catchups, workouts, meditation sessions, concerts, and more. And while having a drink with my friends over video conference certainly hasn’t gotten old yet, if I’m going to be drinking at home, I might as well learn something along the way. Enter: virtual wine tasting.
For wine lovers around the world, or even just 'wine likers' who would like to know more about what they’re quaffing, the coronavirus lockdown does not have to get in the way of sipping, learning, and enjoying a glass (or few) of your favorite varietal. “We wanted an opportunity to stay connected with our clients and friends to maintain some sort of normalcy," says John Kapon, chairman of Acker Wines. "We’re all still drinking great wines, and we’re all still here, so why not share a glass of wine together? The virtual tastings are meant to bring our friends and clients together to share a bottle of wine, discuss what’s in the glass, learn a little bit, and have a few laughs. It’s what wine is all about.”
Read on to learn about all the different ways you can digitally connect and learn from some of the best wineries around the country while you imbibe from home this month.
1 Sunday Night Virtual Tastings with Kendall-Jackson Winery
Explore popular varietals like Pinot Noir, Rose, and Chardonnay with popular winery Kendall-Jackson’s Winemaster Randy Ullom. Check out their Facebook page for the full topic line up and a 20 percent off coupon so you can pre-order and sip along. Learn about the intricacies of how terroir and elevation affect the taste of your wine all from the comfort of your couch.
When: 4 p.m. PT on Sundays through May 3.
2 Frog’s Leap Interactive Tasting Experiences
Frog’s Leap is one of the OG vineyards in Napa making great wines using sustainable methods. Now you can taste along with Frog’s Leap owner, founder, and winemaker John Williams and his viticulturist and winemaker (and son) Rory Williams, and hear the stories behind each of the wines they feature. You can also put in a request to have the winery customize, coordinate, and lead a virtual wine experience for you and up to 10 friends.
When: Every Saturday at 3 p.m. PT / 6 p.m. ET.
Cost: Free. For private tastings, no fee for tasting itself, but tasters must purchase the wines in advance (all shipping for taster is a flat rate of $5).
How to Access: View on Zoom and Instagram Live (register ahead of time to get the Zoom link). The sessions will be recorded and posted to Instagram and YouTube if you can’t make the live stream. Visit the website for a full schedule of events and to schedule private tastings.
3 Chateau Montelena Virtual Tasting Experience and Tour
Chateau Montelena is an iconic Napa Valley winery, with a history going back to 1882 and wines that played a big part in putting California at the forefront of the wine world. The live tasting sessions will cover everything from winery operations, Q&As, and tastings with winemaker Matt Crafton. Topics like “The Ageability of Wine” will be interesting to all, even if you don’t have a bottle of the esteemed vineyard on hand. Not available for a live session? Check out their virtual tour of the winery and vineyards, starting at the ivy-covered chateau and going through the underground wine caves into the gorgeous vineyards. This is one online experience I would jump at the chance to join, quarantine or not.
When: Live tastings will occur weekly with varied dates and times. Follow the winery on Instagram to get advance notice on timing of the next session.
4 Acker Wines Live Tastings
Throughout the month of April, Acker Wines (American’s oldest wine shop, celebrating 200 years) is hosting digital “BYOB” happy hours two to three times a week. Join Acker Chairman, John Kapon, for 30-40 minute sessions exploring everything from ‘Austria’s Great Grape’ to ‘Sauvignon Blanc Around the World.’ They’ll be announcing what they’re drinking ahead of time so that you can share the experience, if you so choose, or drink whatever bottles you have on hand. If you’re in Manhattan or the Hamptons, Acker is also offering free delivery to help you stock up.
When: Mondays and Wednesdays (8 p.m. on Zoom, 9 p.m. on Instagram) through the end of April. Check the Facebook Page for the full schedule and theme details.
5 Big Cork Vineyards Virtual Tasting
Maryland-based winery Big Cork Vineyards’ master winemaker, Dave Collins, will be hosting weekly virtual tastings featuring their unique varietals and award-winning wines including Cabernet France, Nebbiola, and Russian Kiss.
When: Tasting will take place at 7:30 p.m. ET on Wednesdays, starting April 8.