20 virtual wine tastings hosted by vineyards, experts, and winemakers from around the world

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  • Although states have begun phased reopenings following lockdowns due to the novel coronavirus, some states are experiencing an uptick in cases now and many people are still turning to online experiences for socializing.
  • Wineries, winemakers, and wine connoisseurs are bringing the vineyards and tasting rooms straight to living rooms with virtual wine tastings.
  • Many of the virtual tastings are free to join, and some ship wine right to your door as part of the package.

Although states have begun phased reopenings and outdoor dining is an option in many places, most people still aren't gathering in groups. And with an uptick in cases happening in several states, many people still aren't comfortable or allowed to travel to vineyards or sit inside tasting rooms. But that doesn't mean you can't virtually gather with family, friends, or coworkers and enjoy uncorking a favorite bottle of wine.

While in-person tasting rooms may not be an option for everyone right now, many places are bringing tastings, classes, and events directly to living rooms instead. 

Virtual wine tastings are a fun way to connect, learn something new, and discover new wines. It's also an ideal way to take your tastebuds on a mini-vacation without putting on real pants. Sip a fruity Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand or relish a Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley — you might even get some inspiration for your next post-COVID trip.

Many of the tastings are free to join, and some will send wine directly to your door as part of the package. For those that require buying your own bottles, it's easier than ever to order wines directly from vineyards or from a local alcohol delivery service.    

I recently tried a virtual wine tasting myself on Coursehorse. I'm no stranger to in-person tastings thanks to my background as a travel editor, and I remember the days of drinking Chianti in Tuscany, throwing back cava in Catalonia, and sipping Chardonnay in Sonoma. I was hesitant at first about doing a virtual class since wine tastings are such sensorial experiences. A huge part of the fun for me has always been looking out at a stunning vineyard view, chatting with whoever is pouring the wine, and sometimes even getting a chance to tour the cellars and learn about the winemaking process.

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However, when a couple of friends from college I haven't been able to see in person for months suggested taking a Wine Tasting 101 class, it sounded like a fun way to reconnect with them. Plus, I was also eager to take a break from my usual quarantine activities of bread baking and puzzles to try something new.

We ordered our wines on Drizly and joined the class via Zoom. While the particular class we did was geared towards beginners, I still picked up quite a bit of new wine knowledge. My fiancé, who's typically more of a craft brew guy than a gentleman of fine wines, also enjoyed the introductory level and the interactive aspect to the class since he was able to ask questions as we went. 

We opted for a group class so we didn't know who was joining in. If you really want the experience of having it just be your group, I suggest booking a private tasting, which many of the below options offer. We chose to connect more privately after instead, hopping on our own Zoom call over the last glass of our favorite wine from the class to discuss the tidbits we'd picked up.

Despite my initial misgivings, it ended up making for a fun evening and I discovered a new favorite Sauvignon Blanc I'll definitely be drinking again in the future.      

Here are 18 virtual wine tastings to try at home:

Wine Tasting: Sensory Techniques for Wine Analysis on Coursera

For those who want to seriously up their wine tasting skills while quarantining, Coursera offers a free class from UC Davis to turn beginner sippers into pro sommeliers. The class takes roughly 14 hours to complete. Throughout the class, students build sensory vocabulary to describe wine, learn to identify various faults in different varietals, discover classic wine types of the world, delve into food pairings, and more. The course culminates in a peer review project using all the knowledge developed throughout the course to assess a specific wine.

Starting price: Free

Wine included? No. Students will need to purchase the necessary wines on their own. Coursera anticipates that the total cost of the wines through the class is $150 to $250. 

How to join: Sign up on Coursera here.

Enriquez Estate Wines

Owned by award-winning Latina winemaker Cecilia Enriquez, Enriquez Estate Wines is a family-operated winery in Sonoma, California. With the holidays quickly approaching, the winery realizes that spending time with family may be virtual for many this year and they're aiming to help make that time special still.

Enriquez Estate Wines' Virtual Holiday Party Pack is an excellent way to virtually celebrate and safely reconnect with family, friends, or colleagues this season. Cecilia will lead a private guided virtual tasting experience as tasters enjoy a two-pack of premium Brisa and Tempranillo wines and a Cheese & Charcuterie Nosh Box. 

Starting price: $125 plus shipping

Wine included? Yes. 

How to join: To book the virtual tasting, contact [email protected]

Wine.com

The popular wine website is tapping winemakers, wine critics, and other pros for a series of free virtual wine and spirit tastings. Join Invivo X creators Sarah Jessica Parker, Rob Cameron, and Tim Lightbourne for a tasting of their inaugural New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Provencal Rosé, or get to know the trailblazers of the Oregon wine scene as they share stories about winemaking, artistry, and entrepreneurship.  

Starting price: Free

Wine included? No. Each event includes specific wines or spirits that go along with the tastings that can be purchased directly from Wine.com when signing up.

How to join: Register for virtual tastings here. A Zoom link is sent out ahead of time.

Virtual Wine Tasting 101 on Coursehorse

Virtual Wine Tasting 101 is ideal for beginner tasters interested in learning basic wine terms, how to properly taste wine, and trying different varieties to decide what wines most appeal to your palette. The two-hour, interactive class begins with a brief introduction to how wine is made and teaches wine newbies to speak confidently about acidity, legs, body, and more fundamentals through five different wines. It can be booked as part of a regular group lesson or as a private event.

Starting price: $25 per person

Wine included? No. Participants will need to buy the specific wines themselves ahead of time, but all of the wines are easily accessible at most wine shops and through alcohol delivery services.

How to join: Sign up on Coursehorse here. A Zoom link and PowerPoint will be emailed out just before the tasting begins.

Bottles Nation

Started by sommelier Michael Bottigliero, Bottles Nation has transitioned their usual in-person tasting events to online offerings due to COVID-19. Bottles Nation is not associated with any specific wineries so the sommeliers don't push specific brands and instead focus on sharing their true favorite bottles.

The company runs tastings for individuals, as well as accommodating events and parties and multiple people can join in from up to six different locations for the same starting flat fee. 

For those in the mood for something other than wine, Bottles Nation also has beer and mixology tasting options. 

Starting price: $150 for one hour 

Wine included? No. You can purchase wines yourself or order directly from Bottles Nation when you sign up.

How to join: Sign up on Bottles Nation here. After signing up, they will contact you directly to set up a time for a Zoom call.

Chandon

For wine drinkers interested in joining a wine club and participating in ongoing tastings of bubbly, Club Chandon was the first Napa Valley wine club and has been sharing bottles for decades.

Chandon's wine club allows members to explore Chandon's wine collection, get discounted, prices, and gain access to virtual tastings led by head winemaker Pauline Lhote. While the winery is known for its sparkling wines, there are options to join the Sparkling Wine Club or the Sparkling & Still Wine Club. Both options are shipped six times a year and are fully customizable. 

For those who just want to explore, previous tastings are available online here and the Virtual Tasting I wines that go with it can be purchased here. 

Starting price: ~$130 per shipment

Wine included? Yes. 

How to join: Virtual tastings have been confirmed for August, October, and December. Sign up for the Chandon newsletters to be notified for the next virtual tasting here.

Corkbuzz

Corkbuzz is offering a series of virtual one-hour wine classes taught by varying experts and broken down by region. Taste your way through Napa Valley or learn the basics of Burgundy. Classes discuss everything from the geography and soil to the winemaking techniques and popular varietals of each specific region. The classes are fairly informal and participants are encouraged to sip along with any theme-relevant bottle.

Starting price: $10 per person 

Wine included? No. You can buy any wine from that region to enjoy while following along.

How to join: Sign up on Corkbuzz here. Zoom links are sent the morning of the class and follow-up notes are sent the next day.

Bouchaine Vineyards

A personal favorite winery in Napa, Bouchaine is offering customized 50-minute virtual tastings to bring California wine country right to your couch. Select from three different options depending on your knowledge and experience: Winemaker 101, 201, or 301.

Predictably, 101 is best for casual wine sippers who want to learn basics like how wine gets its color and how the same grapes can be made into completely different wines. Meanwhile, Winemaker 301 focuses on clones (different grape vines that are grafted together) and delves into topics like differences in aroma and flavor in Pinot Noir clones. Every class is with a live host overlooking the stunning estate vineyards. Once you purchase your wines, you'll be able to set up a private time that works with your schedule for the wine tasting.   

Starting price: $59

Wine included? Yes. Classes include two, three, or four wines from the vineyard depending on the level and are shipped directly to your door. 

How to join: Select your experience here. Once you've purchased, you can schedule a private tasting session via phone or email.

Matthiason

You definitely want a taste of Matthiason, a six-time James Beard Award nominee and Winemaker of the Year according to "Food & Wine Magazine." Luckily for wine enthusiasts everywhere, the winemaker is offering complimentary private tastings online to everyone who purchases a Tasting Pack or a Wine Club Membership.

Get an inside look at the stories behind the wines and all your wine questions answered. If you do decide to join the wine club, you'll also enjoy priority access to member-only and limited production wines, as well as 15% savings on all wine purchases.  

Starting price: Free with purchase of a Tasting Pack or Wine Club Membership. Tasting Packs start at $249 for 6 bottles. Wine Club Membership starts at $315 for 6 bottles. 

Wine included? Wine must be purchased to participate in a tasting.

How to join: After purchasing, reserve your spot in a private tasting via Zoom here.

Stony Hill Vineyard

Stony Hill Vineyard features three different virtual experiences. Sign up for a virtual Zoom tasting, join a Stony Hill Social Hour on Instagram Live, or take it to the next level and enjoy  Club Member-Exclusive virtual meetups after becoming a member.

To enjoy a 45-minute Zoom tasting, purchase a Virtual Tasting Pack to be delivered to your door, then sign up for a time slot that works for you online. An employee will guide you through each of the wines and give an update of what's happening at the ranch. If you want the tasting to be a private event for just you and friends, call ahead of time to arrange it.    

Starting price: Virtual Tasting Packs start at $124. Tune in to Social Hour on Instagram for free.

Wine included? Yes. You must buy the wines first to sign up for a virtual tasting.

How to join: Purchase a tasting pack and sign up for a time slot online here. Follow Stony Hill on Instagram to watch the Lives.

Lyon Wine Tastings

These fun and free tastings are hosted by Caroline, a British-American sommelier living in France. She typically hosts small group wine workshops in her gorgeous loft apartment in Lyon's Croix-Rousse, but has moved her tasting experiences online. Join others from around the world for a free virtual happy hour via Zoom. If you'd like something a little more structured, you can also sign up for a private wine tasting either for yourself or a group. 

Starting price: Free to join the virtual happy hour. Private tastings start at €150, or around $164.

Wine included? No. Buy whatever wine suits you ahead of time and email the host what you'll be drinking so she can answer any questions you might have about it.

How to join: Sign up for a free virtual happy hour or private tasting experience here.

The United Sommeliers Foundation

The United Sommeliers Foundation has teamed up with Benchmark Wine Group for weekly virtual wine tastings. Every Thursday, wine lovers are invited to take part in exclusive virtual tastings guided by celebrity sommeliers. Participants can buy bottles from Benchmark for the event, or just crack open a bottle of whatever is handy. If you want to support the foundation, you can donate to participate on-screen and ask questions throughout. Alternatively, you can register and watch without participating for free.   

Starting price: Free to register and watch. A $50 minimum donation to The United Sommeliers Foundation is required to participate on-screen.

Wine included? No. It's BYOB.

How to join: Register for free or donate to participate here.

Acker Wines

Join America's oldest wine shop for your next virtual cheers. Every Wednesday Acker Wines offers virtual vintage tastings and every Friday is lunch in the vineyards, both via Zoom. Both events have a different expert host each week, from distributors to acclaimed columnists. Participants can see which wines will be featured before signing up and order them online.  

Starting price: Free to register.

Wine included? No. Attendees can see which wines will be featured to order them ahead of time.

How to join: Register for virtual tastings and lunch in the vineyards online here.

The Supper Share

The Supper Share was created in March 2020 specifically to help sommeliers, chefs, and restaurant professionals find new opportunities to share their expertise and talent while many people continue to shelter in place due to the novel coronavirus. Fill out a simple form, choose a wine theme, and they take care of the rest. Within 48 hours, they'll connect you with a sommelier, provide a retail link to order your wines, send a custom invite for everyone in the group to use to connect virtually. You can also set up customized virtual dinner parties, cocktail classes, and more.

Starting price: Packages start at $75 per person. 

Wine included? Yes. Participants will receive a link to order wines after signing up. The package price includes the cost of two to three wines.

How to join: Fill out a simple form with your date, party size, price range, and other details here.

Willamette Valley Wine

Willamette Valley Wine regularly adds and curates new virtual wine tastings, happy hours, and events with vineyards and winemakers across the region. Every tasting is a little different, but past events have ranged from blind tastings of Pinot noirs to a chardonnay tasting that included a mini cooking lesson.     

Starting price: Free

Wine included? No. Buy wines from the specific winery or sip along with whatever you have on your bar cart. 

How to join: Depends on the event. Many are held on the vineyards' individual Facebook pages or via Instagram live. You can see all the upcoming events and how to join here.

Ponzi Vineyards

Book a Guided Virtual Group Tasting at Ponzi Vineyards and virtually connect with friends, family, or work colleagues over a bottle. After placing an order, a Ponzi team member will gather each participant's delivery address and send a package to each person. Packages can be entirely and you can even get custom Ponzi wine glasses included.

Each experience is led by an experienced Ponzi Wine Ambassador who will walk your group through the wines.

Starting price: $200 for four people

Wine included? Yes. Bottles are sent directly to every participant. 

How to join: Sign up here.

Chateau Montelena

Every week, catch winemaker Matt Crafton host Instagram Live sessions, where he'll lead viewers through virtual tastings, cellar tours, vineyard visits, and more. For those wanting a one-on-one tasting, the winery has introduced virtual, Chateau Montelena tastings for guests to get the Napa experience from the comforts of home. Guests can connect with one of Montelena's live, virtual hosts for an appointment tailored to personal wine preferences.

Starting price: Free to watch on Instagram.

Wine included? No. You can order wines directly from the winery. 

How to join: Follow Montelena on Instagram. For a virtual appointment, email [email protected]com.

Kosherwine.com

Kosherwine.com has teamed up with the Israeli Wine Producers Association for a weekly virtual wine series. Novices and oenophiles alike can enjoy the free live-streamed events now through July 5. Each event focuses on a different Israeli wine producer whose notable products are widely distributed across the US and beyond.

Participants are encouraged to submit questions for the expert prior to these sessions, and one lucky winner will receive a free bottle of wine and a VIP winery tour for each live event.

Starting price: Free to live stream

Wine included? No. Viewers can purchase Sampler Sets from each winery at a discounted price to taste along with the experts or enjoy afterward. 

How to join: Visit Kosherwine.com/experiences for a full schedule, to register, and to catch up on past episodes.

 

Kendall-Jackson

Kendall-Jackson recently launched a new series called At Home with Kendall-Jackson, a virtual cooking series featuring weekly hands-on demonstrations hosted by the winery's culinary team on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. ET. Viewers can learn firsthand how to cook wine country fare and how to wine pair from the comfort of their homes.

Starting price: Free to join on Zoom

Wine included? No. BYOB your favorite Kendall-Jackson wine or whatever you have handy.

How to join: Wine lovers can join this link for the Zoom Webinar with password KJCULINARY.

 

A la Francaise Champagne

Champagne lovers can enjoy learning about the iconic bubbles from the source. Discover the Champagne region in France via a virtual experience with A la Francaise Champagne.

Guests can join a one-hour virtual Zoom tour with a local expert and pop their open bottle of Champagne to enjoy during the experience. The tour is available to join every day of the week at four different times to best accommodate a range of time zones. 

For a more intimate and immersive experience, you can also arrange for a private tour with Champagne sent to your doorstep ahead of time. 

Starting price: ~$17.50 (€15) for the standard tour; ~$116 (€100) for a private tour 

Wine included? No, but it can be arranged for private tours. 

How to join: Sign up for a virtual Zoom tour here.

 

 

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