Let’s just admit, we are all indulging of our vices a bit more these days. Given the weight of our recycling bin, it is safe to say that one of my vices involves wine…plenty of wine. Yet I still miss that experience of chatting with the sommelier at a restaurant and choosing a wine to perfectly complement my meal.
For me a glass of wine is not merely a means to an end. It is something to be sipped and savored and appreciated. My tastes vary with my mood, as much as my food selection, and I love to go wine tasting to experience new wineries, try different varietals and learn more about the winemaker.
Luckily many wineries have stepped up to fill in the gaps while we are all staying home with virtual wine tasting opportunities. Let’s face it, it is like having an excuse to drink, so be sure to do your research ladies!
These virtual wine tasting experiences range from wine talks to live tastings paired with wine shipments. Wineries have gotten very creative with mystery bottles, themed tastings, tastings paired with musical entertainment, and virtual vineyard tours. Just reading through all the options has encouraged me to fill my calendar with more than just night after night of Netflix.
So grab your partner or find a friend for a virtual “girls night” and sign up for one of these virtual wine tasting experiences together. Hopefully you will find some new favorite wines to enjoy!
Virtual Wine Tasting Experiences
Kendall-Jackson and winemaster Randy Ullom are hosting At Home with Kendall-Jackson – Virtual Wine Tastings & More. These offerings provide wine lovers with the opportunity to participate in engaging educational virtual wine tastings, even during the quarantine. This series is offered on the @kjwines Facebook and Instagram channels. Followers can tune in on Sunday evenings at 4:00 p.m. PST/7:00 p.m. EST for short virtual wine tasting videos that showcase a variety of rotating themes like the Spectrum of Chardonnay, Best Bottles to Re-Stock your Cellar, Springtime Favorites, Virtual Yoga: Vino & Vinyasa and Zoom Cooking Classes + Wine Pairings with the Kendall-Jackson culinary team.
Also, kicking off on April 22nd, wine club members can take interactive live cooking classes from home with Chef Justin Wangler and Tracey Shepos. Spanish Tortilla paired with Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay and Orecchiette Pasta with Peas & Pancetta paired with Kendall-Jackson Fulton Ranch Chardonnay are on the schedule docket.
Benziger Family Winery (California)
Join winemaker Chris Benziger, from Benziger Winery in Santa Rosa, CA for Wine Wednesdays on Instagram Live from 4:00-4:30 pm PDT. Chris tackles new topics each week from Earth Day biodynamic wines to Mother’s Day picks. You can order wines online in advance and get two-day shipping for $1 using code IGLIVE. We visited this family-friendly winery a few years ago and recently interviewed Chris on the Vacation Mavens podcast.
Gérard Bertrand & Jon Bon Jovi (France)
Gérard Bertrand, one of the largest wine makers in the Languedoc region of France, and one that I visited last summer, has partnered with rock icon Jon Bon Jovi and his son Jesse for a virtual wine tasting. Bertrand is the owner of 15 wine-growing estates and a pioneer in biodynamic viticulture in pursuit of excellence.
This rocking wine tasting will be hosted via Zoom on April 28th on Wine.com, this event is free to the public and you can even order the wine, Hampton Water Rosé, for $19.99 (usually $25.) This event will be held on Tuesday, April 28 at 4:00 – 4:30 p.m. PST, 7:00 – 7:30 p.m. EST. You can also register for this and future events on Wine.com.
Chateau Montelena (California)
Chateau Montelena is one of the most storied wineries in California’s Napa Valley after Chateau Montelena won the infamous Judgement of Paris tasting in 1976, solidifying California’s place in the world of fine wine. You can explore the estate online with a virtual tour of the gardens, wine caves, and vineyards. Additionally, the winery is offering a virtual, Chateau Montelena tasting experience for guests to enjoy from the comforts of home. Just open a bottle of Chateau Montelena (purchased form the site or otherwise) and connect with one of Montelena’s live, virtual hosts for an appointment tailored to your personal wine preferences. To reserve an appointment, email [email protected] with the desired date, time and the wine(s) you plan to enjoy.
Also, anyone can tune into their series of weekly Instagram Lives with winemaker Matt Crafton, where viewers can expect tastings, live Q&As, bottling line tours, and more.
Drink Champagne Like a Parisian (France)
Tour company LivTours has rolled out a series of virtual tours, classes, and interactive talks called LivTalks. Join tour guide Michelle as she leads a 45-minute live webinar on “How to Drink Champagne Like a Parisian” on April 25th at 7:15pm Paris time for 15 euro per attendee. This webinar series is held over Zoom and will give you a comprehensive overview of the ins and outs of champagne.
Michelle will go over the differences between sparkling Wine, Prosecco, Cava and champagne. Michelle will walk you through how to read a champagne label and identify terms like vintage and non vintage bottles, regions and producers – and more importantly, why this matters when choosing your champagne! You will also get an overview of the types of champagnes available, their flavor profiles and sugar levels (ex Blanc de Blanc Extra Brut). You can register online or sign up to learn about future talks.
Inner Sanctum Cellars (California)
Located in the golden foothills of Tuolumne County, California, Inner Sanctum Cellars’ limited wines are processed with old world passion and new world innovation. Now they are innovating even more to offer wine tastings and virtual concerts via Facebook Live. Pop open some bubbly and join in the fun. Check the Inner Sanctum Facebook Page for the upcoming schedule or previous events.
Santa Barbara Vintners (California)
Many Santa Barbara winemakers are offering virtual wine tastings on Mondays and Thursdays at 6pm PDT via Instagram Live through at least the end of May. The winemakers and wine lineup can be found online and wines can be ordered in advance from the winemaker’s website. Upcoming winemakers include Kitá Wines and Sweetzer Cellars, with more to be announced soon.
Jamie Slone Wines (California)
Jamie Slone Wines, in Santa Barbara, California, has introduced “The JSW Show”, which runs live on Fridays at 5 pm PST on Facebook. Jamie was a former racecar driver, and with his wife Kym, films their entertaining virtual tastings, which also include live music, from their lovely tasting room in the historic Presidio Neighborhood in downtown Santa Barbara, which is part of Santa Barbara’s Urban Wine Trail. They have also recently introduced private virtual tastings at a very good price point.
Sunshine Mill (Oregon)
If you are in Oregon, you are in luck! Located in the Dalles, Sunshine Mill has recently launched a new way to bring wine tasting to your home with at-home wine tasting kits. The kits are available online from $2-24 and include 2-ounce pours of up to 12 different varietals. The tasting room manager has also provided a video that walks guests through the tasting process, and is adding new live tasting videos weekly. The kits are only available to ship statewide in Oregon and you can place your order online, or call into the tasting room.
Raptor Ridge Winery (Oregon)
Also located in Oregon in Tualatin Valley, Raptor Ridge Winery is offering both a virtual tour of their vineyards with an online video series, as well as $99 wine bundles with a trio of bottles (note these cannot be shipped to every state.) Learn more about four AVAs and the region’s famous Pinot Noirs or order one of these bundles on the Raptor Ridge Winery website.
Sokol Blosser Winery (Oregon)
Sokol Blosser Winery in Willamette Valley, Oregon, is hosting weekly happy hours on Wednesdays at 4pm PDT from the Sokol Blosser Estate via Instagram Live. You can pour yourself a glass of your favorite wine, or you can order the wine the hosts will be enjoying and toast with them. Winemakers Alex and Alison will be talking about the wines, sharing winery stories, and trying to decide if geese or sheep provide the best fertilizer!
Red Mountain AVA (Washington)
The Red Mountain AVA Alliance, in Washington, have teamed up to offer an educational “Red Mountain Revealed” Facebook Live series that airs each Thursday in April at 4pm, and is expected to be continued into May and June. The series features tours, tips, tricks and tastings, including which wines to pair with takeout meals and why Red Mountain is a top growing region for Cabernet Sauvignon. The involved wineries are also offering shipping specials and curbside pick-up for locals.
Frichette Winery (Washington)
Frichette Winery in Benton City, Washington has gotten very creative in its virtual wine tasting options. In addition to taking part in virtual happy hours at 6pm daily (except Mondays) with local vintners, the winery is offering a Mystery Wine Challenge. Guests purchase the Mystery wine (the label is covered) and on the specified date, they will meet you on Zoom and take you through a blind tasting format before you need to guess the wine. Currently Frichette can ship to WA, OR, ID, CA, MT, MO, WI, NC, and FL.
Blanchard Family Wines (Colorado & California)
Located in Denver, Colorado, Blanchard Family Wines offers limited production, hand-crafted, artisan wines, sourced from the top vineyards in the Sonoma Valley. They showcase the world-class appellations of Russian River, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek and Alexander Valley. The brothers have recently rolled out virtual wine tastings. In conjunction with partners they are shipping three bottles of wine, along with registration information for a virtual wine tasting over Zoom.
Sip. Taste. Share. (France)
Viktorika Torodovska is a wine and food tour guide in Nice, France. She has recently posted a series of short videos on wine topics that she typically teaches in her classes, with everything from why you shouldn’t chill white wine in the freezer, to the common mistakes to enjoy when choosing wine. If you want to up your wine game in simple, easy-to-digest snippets, follow Sip Taste Share on Instagram.
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Ok, diligent wine students, today we have an important lesson on quickly chilling wine. I know you can use this advice this weekend! Watch, learn, and share! • • • • • #wine #winestagram #winelover #winelovers #winelovers? #wineloversunite #wineclass #winetasting #winetasting? #winetastings #ilovewine #ilovewine? #whitewine #whitewinelover #sparklingwine #sparklingwines #vino #vinoitaliano #vins #vinfrancais #wineadvice
Luxe Adventure Traveler (France)
Travel blogger and wine aficionado, Jennifer Dombrowski, is hosting virtual wine tastings with French winemakers over Zoom. These 40-minute virtual wine tasting experiences bring in local winemakers so that you can learn about the château, its history, and what is happening in the vineyard right now. Asking questions is encouraged and the group will be tasting a few wines together virtually, as well as covering food pairing recommendations and expert tips on how to store, decant, and serve wine. Attendees also receive exclusive special offers from the winemakers.
Wine, Dine, Caroline (France)
Wine educator Caroline Conner, based in Lyon, France, is offering free virtual wine classes as well as private virtual wine tastings. Learn about wine, wine tasting techniques, and details on your individual wines in an entertaining online session.
Lamoreaux Landing (New York)
Lamoreaux Landing in the Finger Lakes of New York usually hosts tastings in view of Seneca Lake, by which visitors can picnic afterwards on the winery grounds. Now, Lamoreaux is offering personal virtual tastings with the purchase of 6, 12, or 15 bottles as well as Social Media Happy Hours on Facebook Live and Instagram Live every Thursday at 5pm Eastern.
RG|NY (New York)
RGNY on the North Fork of Long Island is offering not only virtual tastings on Instagram every Friday night, they also offer other packages like Quarantine Kits that lead you through fun activities like At Home Blending, At Home Wine Tasting, and Keep Calm & Color On – a soothing coloring book for wine enthusiasts illustrated by artist Merjin Hos.
Buttonwood Grove Winery (New York)
Buttonwood Grove Winery is making sure wine-lovers can still enjoy their tasting room whilst social distancing. Bringing their tasting room directly to homes every Friday for a 4 pm “Virtual Happy Hour” on Facebook Live, every episode features guided tastings of different Buttonwood Grove wines. The winery is encouraging viewers to taste-along by offering a 10 percent off discount on flat rate shipping for six or more bottles.
Zugibe Vineyards (New York)
Zugibe Vineyards just launched its Wine of the Week (WOW) vlog, which pairs local fare with a different wine of the week. Episodes air every Wednesday at 6:00 pm ET on the vineyard’s YouTube channel. The featured WOW vintages are offered at 20% off for the next seven days until the next episode of WOW airs.
Tolosa Winery (California)
Tolosa Winery launched virtual tastings via social media and on their website. They are selling tasting kits including wine, tasting notes and tech sheets. From the comfort of your own home, tune in for Tasting Tuesdays and Technical Thursdays. Both sessions are led by Tolosa Winemaker Frederic Delivert and Estate Hosts, and will touch on a new wine or process each week. The weekly wines will be posted on social media and the website, so you can order the wine ahead of time to use while learning with Fred.
Europa Village (California)
Nestled on more than 45 acres of rolling hills in the Temecula Wine Country, Europa Village features world-class wine tasting, regularly-scheduled entertainment, as well as an online shop for the general community. While its tasting room is temporarily closed, Europa Village invites guests to come together and sip at home through its virtual tastings.
Tune in to Europa Village’s IGTV each week and embark on a journey into the wonderful world of wine with Matt Rice, the director of tasting rooms. His expertise will guide you through the nuances of their estate-grown wine – from insight on the origins of grapes (I.e. Primitivo; Zinfandel) and various wine pairings to fun and interesting facts about regions, and wisdom on the winemaking process, you’ll get a taste of Europa Village from the comfort of your home.
Road 13 Vineyards (Okanagan)
Voted the best winery in Canada in 2018, Road 13 Vineyards‘ General Manager, Joe Luckhurst, hosts Tireside Tastings beside the winery’s iconic red tractor, every Thursday at 4.30pm on Instagram Live (@Road13Vineyards). In recent sessions, Road 13 has showcased the newly released 2018 Riesling and the 2017 Syrah Malbec.
Kismet Estate Winery (Okanagan)
Kismet Estate Winery has announced the Sunday Live Series, every Sunday at 12noon PST on Facebook and Instagram, where the team will discuss various wine topics, wine pairing suggestions as well as a guided tasting from their portfolio. The Kismet team is also offering personalized, virtual guided tastings, complimentary on purchase of three bottles. Customers have the opportunity to schedule a virtual meeting at a time that suits them and a member of the team will host for up to 45mins. The link can be shared so that family and friends and join in the fun.
Seven Birches Winery (New Hampshire)
Seven Birches Winery, out of Lincoln, NH is offering virtual wine tastings from the comfort of your couch. For $25, you can pick between the white or red wine flight and it will be shipped for free, right to your home. Flights come with a tasting card to jot down your thoughts and you can tune in to one of the Winemaker’s Live Virtual Tasting Events.
Granada Hotel (California)
The Granada Hotel & Bistro (which is temporarily closed due to COVID-19) is hosting “Drinks With…” a virtual wine tasting series featuring local winemakers and personalities. Each week, a local winemaker, chef or hospitality worker will hop on the hotel’s social media to host a virtual tasting with their three favorite wines from the hotel’s wine list. These picks are sold as a discounted bundle on the hotel’s website, so viewers can order their own and try “Drinks With…” at home. The first virtual tasting was held last week with actor and winemaker Jeff Fisher.
After the tasting is hosted on social media, the hotel posts a Q&A with that week’s host on their website, so followers can revisit the tasting when their bottles arrive.
JaM Cellars (California)
Napa-based JaM Cellars has introduced Virtual JaMHappyHours. Every day, JaM Cellars hosts a unique virtual happy hour at 4 pm with a JaM Host, JaMbassadors from around the country, and live musical guests. Happy hours are open to the public via Zoom and each event features a new theme and a live-streamed acoustic performance from a favorite JaMSession artist at home. Access links and event specifics are available on Facebook,
Doe Bay Wine Company (Washington)
Doe Bay Wine Company, on tiny Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands of Washington State, is currently holding weekly interactive wine tastings on Instagram Live on Thursdays at 5pm PST, with Mondays coming soon. A different winemaker or wine personality is featured weekly and a majority of those are friends of owner Cole Sisson from his previous roles as a sommelier at the Bellagio Resort and working for Bodegas Ontañon in Rioja, Spain.
These tastings correspond with The Doe Bay Wine Club shipments. Doe Bay Wine currently ships to customers in Washington, Oregon and California although anyone can follow along and likely find the wines in their respective markets.
Walsh Family Wines (Virginia)
Loudoun County winemakers Nate and Sarah Walsh of Walsh Family Wines have launched a virtual blind tasting, “Drinkwell”, via Facebook Live on Fridays at 5pm. The Walsh’s invite prominent guests on to talk about four blind wines they have selected, and an informative and entertaining party ensues, with viewers able to weigh in. The wines to be tasted are list online and can be ordered in advance for those looking to join in the fun.
Ingleside Plantation Winery (Virginia)
Virginia’s Ingleside Plantation Winery, a member of the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail, is hosting a series of free, weekly Virtual Tastings with the Winemaker on the winery’s Facebook Live site, on Wednesdays at 6:30 pm EST. The series will continue indefinitely, at least until stay at home orders in Virginia are lifted (presently June 10.)
The series is separated into blocks of six (6) tastings each, with two wines per segment tasted (12 per series.) Viewers are able to ask questions and engage with the winemaker, Mark Misch. The 12 featured wines are available in specially-priced cases with discounts of up to 25%, if purchased separately. The winery is currently open for carry-out, curbside pickup, local delivery, and UPS shipping to over 35 states. Orders can be placed at the winery’s Online Store, click on “Collections.” Tasting segment examples include Ingleside’s stainless steel chardonnay versus its oaked chardonnay; or a vintage comparison of the winery’s viogniers.
William Chris Vineyard (Texas)
Texas winery, William Chris Vineyards, is hosting weekly virtual wine tastings on their Facebook page at 4pm CT. Each week they taste four wines from their expansive collection. William Chris Vineyards focuses on producing responsibly farmed, 100% Texas-grown wine. Since 2008, winegrowers William “Bill” Blackmon and Chris Brundrett have expanded the estate vineyards and partnered with family-owned farms to source only the highest quality fruit.
Kenefick Ranch (California)
Kenefick Ranch, a small, family-owned winery and vineyard in Calistoga, recently introduced a new virtual wine tasting series called “Weekly Sip with Kenefick Ranch.” The seminars take place on Facebook each Friday at 3 p.m. (PDT) / 6 p.m. (EST). Participants are invited to join Chris Kenefick, VP of Sales, for an in-depth tasting of 2-3 wines from the winery’s portfolio – exploring the winemaking process, climate, grape varietals, pairing suggestions and more. The tastings are free to attend. Simply sign up on the Events tab of the Kenefick Ranch Facebook page. Participants can ask questions in real time.
Gary Farrell Winery (California)
Gary Farrell Winery has a series of virtual tasting experiences featuring their estate sommelier with three new virtual tasting experiences. The Russian River Valley neighborhoods and virtual tasting package leads guests through a virtual tasting of six-single vineyard wines from the vineyard neighborhoods of the Russian River Valley through a virtual, happy hour-style Zoom tasting experience hosted by the two sommeliers. Customers also receive a Dropbox link with a printable tasting mat, tasting notes on each wine and a Russian River Valley neighborhoods map. The cost is $380.
The second experience is called Beyond the Russian River Valley & Virtual Tasting Package, and it celebrates wines from other regions of Sonoma County outside of Russian River Valley, includes four wines and costs $270. Finally, the winery is offering the Cellar Party Virtual Tasting Experience (#openthatbottle), which is a casual, happy hour-style virtual tasting hosted by estate sommeliers Kuhn and Patterson, with a special guest, winemaker Theresa Heredia on Sundays and Tuesdays at 4pm (Pacific). For this tasting, guests are invited to open a bottle of Gary Farrell wine from their collection (or order wine in advance). There is no charge for the Cellar Party Virtual Tasting, although reservations are required.
Tarpon Cellars (California)
Napa-based wine label, Tarpon Cellars has launched an Instagram Live Series “If I Had a Song to Sing.” Each event will take place on Tarpon Cellars’ Instagram page at 3pm PT/6pm ET and will feature a wine tasting with Tarpon Cellar’s founder and winemaker, Jeremy Carter and a guest musician followed by an acoustic set. The upcoming schedule is (with additional dates being added):
- Thursday, April 23: Carter King from the Futurebirds and Tarpon Cellars’ Cambaro Rosé
- Sunday, April 26: Justin Osborne from SUSTO and Tarpon Cellars’ Cambaro Red
- Tuesday, April 28: Erika Wennerstrom from Heartless Bastards and Tarpon Cellars Cambaro White
- Thursday, April 30: Jeff Gorman from Illiterate Light and Tarpon Cellars Cambaro Skin Contact
For people interested in joining in on the tastings, Tarpon Cellars is offering a combo pack of the four wines, use discount code “ARTIST-SERIES” to receive free shipping.
Virtual Wine & Food Experiences
Wine Wise Events (Maine)
If you live in the Greater Portland, Maine area, then you are in luck. Wine Wise Events, which typically hosts wine walks and wine cruises in and around Portland have now teamed up with local restauranteurs to offer wine dinners and virtual tastings. I’ve always loved the Portland food scene and I wish I lived close enough to do these. You will receive dinner for two shipped to your home and ready to reheat, as well as log in instructions for a virtual wine tasting via Zoom.
LDV Winery (Arizona)
LDV Winery based in Scottsdale, Arizona, is offering virtual wine and food experiences for home cooks and wine afficiandos. LDV focuses on sustainability, with an intentionally-conscious grape-growing and winemaking process. They have hosted virtual wine tasting and happy hour via Zoom, and recently unveiled their LDV Winery Vineyard Kitchen series on Facebook Live. Scheduled throughout April and May 2020, at 4pm (MST) each Thursday, guests can log onto the LDV Winery Facebook page and join the winery owners in the kitchen as they prepare dinner made with items they currently have in their pantry as they shelter in place at the vineyard.
Cook along with the winemakers-turned-amateur chefs, who will also offer wine tips and pairing suggestions for each meal. Cook along or simply enjoy some virtual socialization. Menu themes on tap include: flatbreads three ways paired with a 2013 Sky island Petite Sirah, grilled ribeye steak with firecracker onions and roasted potatoes paired with a 2014 Signature Petite Sirah, and pork tenderloin with fire-roasted peppers and Mexican corn paired with 2015 Decade Red Wine blend. To learn more visit LDV Winery.
Sushi & Sake Date Night (Colorado)
If you live in Denver, Colorado, you can do a sushi and sake virtual livestream with Colorado Sake Company. Your ticket includes the ingredients to make six sushi rolls, two bottles of sake, and a livestream masterclass in sushi rolling.
Clif Family Winery Apertivo Night (California)
Clif Family Winery in St. Helena, California is offering a virtual aperitivo food and wine tasting experience for a virtual visit to Napa Valley. This experience features a flight of white and red wines, hosted by a Clif Family Wine Educator, all from the comfort of home. The wine tasting encompasses a lively discussion of all things Clif Family, introducing viewers to a line-up of small production wines and hand-crafted food products. These tastings are offered daily at 2:00 PM PST and 5:00 PM PST in a group Zoom.
The tasting kit sells for $100 ($75 for wine club members) and includes complimentary shipping or scheduled curbside pickup. The package includes 2018 RTE Blanc Sauvignon Blanc paired with Clif Family organic maple curried cashews and peanuts; 2017 Mendocino Grenache paired with Clif Family milk chocolate cacao nib and sea salt bar; and 2017 Bici Red Wine Blend paired with Clif Family organic smoked Spanish Pimenton almonds.
Where to go Wine Tasting Later
When we do get the chance to travel again, there are so many great wine regions to visit. Here are some you may want to start planning today:
Do you have another virtual wine tasting experience to recommend? Leave a comment below.