How can you celebrate the holidays with friends when parties and large gatherings are cancelled? Our next guest suggests that we host our own virtual wine tasting.
Here with her tips and sips is Natalie MacLean, who hosts Canada’s most popular online wine classes at nataliemaclean.com.
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Why would we want to host an online wine tasting?
– It’s a way to connect with friends and family that’s safe and socially distanced
– Corporate groups are also hosting their staff parties this way this year
– It’s way more fun than most Zoom or Skype meetings because there’s wine
– It’s easy for everyone to participate since you don’t have to cook dinner: just uncork your fave bottle like this one from called Relax Pinot Noir in a festive red bottle, it’s just $14.95 so it’ll please even the wine Scrooges in your family who take after my own cheapskate heart
Relax Pinot Noir 2019
How do these virtual tastings work? Does everyone have the same wine?
– Online tastings are so flexible: you can decide that yourself
– If your friends and family are all in Quebec, then everyone can order online from the SAQ or another liquor store and have the wines delivered like these two from California:
Frei Brothers Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
Orin Swift Eight Years in the Desert 2018
California, United States
– Even better, you can support local businesses, wineries, by ordering directly from them like these sparklers
Domaine de Lavoie Blanc Mousseux
Monteregie, Quebec, Canada
La Cidrerie du Village Sparkling Cider
Montérégie, Rougemont, Quebec, Canada
– If you’re more dispersed or can agree on the same wines, then everyone can bring their own to the party like this one Wayne Gretzky Estates Founder’s Series Riesling, which may trigger memories of holiday hockey matches and ice rinks
Wayne Gretzky Estates No. 99 Riesling 2019
Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A.
Wine helps, but how can we make these virtual tastings more fun?
– If you’re bringing your own wine to the party, you can share why you choose that bottle: perhaps it’s a story from a trip you took or is the same vintage as the year you got married
– You could also share your fave holiday memory from years past or a fave gift and why
– You can also decide on a theme for your tasting like a particular region or wines that pair well with holiday dishes and treats like this Emiliana Coyam 2017, that would be perfect for roast turkey.
Emiliana Coyam 2017
Rapel Valley, Chile
– You can also do fun things like have an ugly Christmas sweater contest or wear your fave holiday ornaments
– You can also host these gatherings in the new year, like a book club, with seasonal themes such as wines for Valentine’s Day or the first day of spring
How would the tasting itself work?
– You don’t have to be a wine expert
– You can all taste your wines and vote thumbs up or down if you’d buy it again like this, Montecillo Rioja Reserva Tempranillo
Montecillo Rioja Reserva Tempranillo 2013
Rioja DOC, Spain
– You can offer a food pairing or share family recipes
– If there’s a wine savvy person in the group, that person can lead a guided tasting
– You can also hire an expert to guide your tasting – someone who will keep it fun, yet still educational
– I know someone who does that
Any other tips?
– Encourage everyone to have a glass of water and crackers
– Even though you’re not drinking and driving, you still don’t want the conversation to devolve to into Uncle Bert squealing on Aunt Sally about the year she did this or that
– Have fun, relax and connect
– This may become a way to stay more connected with loved ones even after the lockdown is over
Posted with permission of CTV.