In Support and Defense of Virtual Wine Tastings

I support all virtual wine tastings!


There is no reason to not support these tastings.

A Recent Virtual Tasting on my tasting table

When it comes to the subject of wine there are naysayers for any subject in the wine universe.  But I usually pass on reading any articles that are talking poorly about virtual wine tasting as they are just rants.

Recently, I saw in the daily emails from Wine Business and they highlighted an article from SpitbucketHow Can We Make Virtual Wine Tastings Less Sucky?’ Just the title spoke volumes so perhaps from the writer’s point-of-view tastings will always be “sucky” but less so?  I would never use this language and I find it to be offensive.  The article went on to say that “Most of these events are boring as hell.”  I did stop reading half way through as I do have many more books and articles that are in my reading pile and there was no value in reading a rant–I just have too much to do.

My take away (I don’t always have a bottle per topic or from the producer presenting–I do join in if it is video format more often than not and I do join the Twitter tastings) is that it may not always be for me and am I bummed out if it not tailored for me?

No absolutely not. 

The taller and compelling reason is publicize, market and communicate about a producer’s wine.  If I find the content compelling I’ll take note of wine and seek it later.  I may also discover a story or enjoy a personality or take away a new fact.  The Twitter format I do enjoy–I get a lot of information from being on that virtual tasting and, of course, love video format.

Wine business of all sizes need to voice who they are in whatever format they find compelling.  In this Coronavirus era, many people are in lockdown and if a brand wants to set up an activity than by all means they should do so; we all need something other than watching/reading doom broadcasting/media.

Also, in our age of data mining and analytics is that there is a notion that all marketers have figured it out.  The current mindset is that all brands have a vast data warehouse and those that “know” their customer make significant gains.  We are exactly where we were without big data – back in the day it was known as business intelligence and no matter what “it” is called no one can be certain their marketing programme is the one and only and right way of doing it.  As long as we are marketing to people in a competitive world we will have to contend with the dynamical world of being and that marketing is ongoing and not just an end task of an algorithm.

Back to wine.  When a brand is promoting themselves it is not just for one person but often brands have people who help create the product.  Also, all enterprises have suppliers and they are people behind that as well.  Bottomline is to be aware that promotion is for a community of people (be it a small or large business)–I prefer to support a business versus detract away from it.

There are mixed signals when it comes to wine sales in this crisis–“record sales” “wine sales rise” and yet there is distress from small producers who are urgently selling what they have and to deliver themselves to their customers.  We will not know the reality of what is really occurring right now with wine, beer and spirits until some time later.  But it is truly within the scope of a producer to take action versus no action in whatever marketing/distribution manner they are selecting.

Wine Producer Virtual Tasting Program Checklist

Before starting out here are some consideration for creating your virtual wine tasting program.

✔ Create a written plan (doesn’t have to be a large plan)

    • What are your objectives?
    • What does success look like?
    • Who is your audience?
    • What format – Twitter, Facebook, Zoom, etc.?

✔ Create a Hashtag and share it when you announce your tasting – rinse and repeat (i.e. repeat your hashtag often before, during and after event)

✔ If you are completing in video format – have a co-host format (winemaker and owner, etc) – and have someone who is getting questions to read to to the hosts

✔ Answer all questions–in a Twitter format is easier to see if there are outstanding question that need answer after virtual tasting is over

✔ Plan your show – latest vintages, new wines, growing season, wine maker perspectives, food & wine pairings, etc.f

✔ Plan for potential questions and have answer readily available

✔ If you are sending sample bottles out include tech sheets in shipment and via email

✔ Plan for fun and have fun – often audience will engage and also have questions or stories to read in case of a lull.  I brought popcorn to mine–it was a late afternoon session and I needed a snack–it was a conversation point which I did not expect (and I was not the host)

✔ Collect analytics and in Twitter it easy to see each Tweet and the analytic it generated per your initiated Tweets

And if you are not a producer there are many more virtual wine events than ever before check them out.  Here is an ongoing virtual tasting from Wine Studio–each Tuesday evening 9:00 pm ET/6:00 pm PT just use #WineStudio to join in on Tuesday or see past events.

Wishing that all producers weather this terrible storm–I know so many wonderful producers personally and I hope each and everyone of them shines ongoing!

Thank you,


James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2020 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, drawings, art work, graphs, photographs, logo, brand name, rating, rating, taxonomy, graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.  James the Wine Guy is also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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About James Melendez

II love wine and business. I am obsessed with the subject, the art, the history, the sciences, organization management, and making things less complex I have been a former national wine marketing manager for a large off-premise food and wine retailer (280+ retail locations in 30 US States); the love for wine taught me the good practice of using the best methodologies to right side a business which unto itself is complex. Further complexity is wine. Wine simple to enjoy and yet profoundly complex because of many factors: Many grape varieties States of wine: sparkling, still and fortified wines Vintage Blends Regions/AVAs/DOCs etc. Many producer styles Many producers Limited supply Limited and often restricted distribution My experience is still a lot of intimidation with respect to wine. Wine means many things to many people; status, fear, success, ‘you’ve arrived’, enjoyment, good times, tradition and even ceremony. I have consulted with wine producers and association. I have spoken on Wine and Social Media, Wine and Video and The Business of Wine in conferences in the United States and Europe. Beer and spirits do have the same dynamics–there are many producers but compared to wine there is no other consumer product like it. I have been writing about since November 2006 on my site and I have over 2,890 wine videos on my YouTube channel talking about general wine subject matter as well as specific educational topics on wine and reviews. I have been a wine judge and have traveled to many wine countries in the new and old world. Wine has taken me to great places. Life is tough for most of us and it is nice to celebrate life with those near and even far. What wine is really about is sitting around a table with family and friends raising your wine glass and saying—to life! I love to write about travel, food, technology and business–please subscribe! Salute, *** A plethora of wine reviews from wines regions around the world. Read more of my wine © 2020, 2018, 2017, 2010 James P. Melendez – All Rights Reserved.
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1 Response to In Support and Defense of Virtual Wine Tastings

  1. Hi, James.

    Virtual tasting is a movement that has been forced upon us by unfortunate reasons. However in the world of tech, and how the world and new consumer generations were going, it was bound to catch on for many good reasons too. Like increasing wine club member loyalty and expanding program visibility to their neighbors and friends, effortlessly.

    Critically though, using the right platform to collect personal taste profile data, these virtual events would solve a key business problem too. One that has lingered for too long. Extending DTC membership lifetime. This kind of sensory data is virtually impossible to gather unless the experience of the wine tasting itself, is digitized as well. It is also the most basic foundational data needed for business intelligence and brand teams to work with, as opposed to social media and purchase data. Because it is very centered around the taster and product, and it is pre-emptive.

    The benefits of a digitized wine experience go even beyond collecting critical taste profile data.

    Consumers today are very passive in virtual tastings. When they actually want to be more hands on. They like to share more with friends online, if they could. They like to tweet great looking tasting notes that they create, if they could. They’d like to learn about their personal tastes in wine, rather than mostly get pitched, as well. And so on.

    May I suggest a quick demo of the QUINI SOMM virtual and visual wine tasting platform later today or tomorrow?



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