2020: The year of virtual wine tastings
Brought to you by Woolworths WCellar
2020 may have been an all-round challenging year, but it did result in some trends we will forever be thankful for – virtual wine tastings being one of them.
Few things are as enjoyable as a wine tasting, and it’s not just about the wine. It’s about spending a day exploring new flavours and relaxing with family and friends. While COVID may have meant we couldn’t do the former for a few months, it didn’t mean we had to say goodbye to the entire wine tasting experience. In fact, wine estates and others in the industry soon realised that nothing would prevent us from enjoying a glass or two of vino with our loved ones – and where there’s a will, there is most certainly a way! The way this time? Virtual wine tastings.
What is a virtual wine tasting?
A virtual wine tasting is when you connect with a wine expert and your friends via Zoom, Google Hangouts or another video-calling app. Of course, with South Africa also under an alcohol ban for a few months, there was no way to ensure that all attendees would be drinking the same wine or that they would be able to taste multiple wines, as is customary when wine tasting at an estate. So rather than focusing on a specific wine, hosts shared their knowledge about wine.
The WCellar virtual experience
The Woolworths community of wine lovers, which launched last year, has been doing this particularly well. Their Zoom-hosted events consist of informal wine conversations with winemakers, wine writers and bloggers, judges, chefs, sommeliers and Woolworths’ own food experts. Previous guests include Reuben Riffel, Marble’s David Higgs, Restaurant Mosaic head sommelier Moses Magwaza, Test Kitchen sommelier Tinashe Nyamudoka and Michelin-starred chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen. They are hosted by the WCellar team at Woolworths: Specialist Wine Buyers Rebecca Constable and Rob Gower, who are often joined by Cape Wine Master and Woolworths Wine Selector Allan Mullins. Virtual tastings include surprise giveaways, such as Woolworths gift cards, to randomly picked attendees.
The WCellar events have been doing so well that the team has continued with them (usually held on the last Thursday of the month), even though South Africa is now in Level 1 of lockdown. In fact, on 29 October, Diemersdal winemaker Thys Louw will be showing WCellar members how to pair seafood with wine and, on 26 November, Woolworths will run a bubbly special. WCellar members will be able to buy special tasting packs of mini bottles in advance and will receive tasting notes.
Did you know it’s free to be a WCellar wine club member?
All you have to do is sign up here. New members will get a voucher for 20% off their next wine purchase and, if you sign up before 22 November 2020, you stand a chance to win a year’s supply of wine! Click here to find out more about this special promotion.