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A world of wine – in your home

Dear fellow wine lovers. Many of us have more time on our hands at the moment and might be looking for ideas to keep occupied and entertained. Learning about the wonderful world of wine in the comfort of your home surely fits the bill, so welcome to my tips to hosting your own Virtual Wine Tasting (party) over the internet …

What you’ll need

2 wine glasses
per person

Wines to taste
in pairs

A spittoon
(highly recommended even if it’s just a large mug)

Tasting sheet for each taster
(and don’t forget a pen or pencil)

Water, to keep the palate fresh and stay hydrated

Dry biscuits, crackers or bread to cleanse the palate

Themes to explore

Choose a wine theme you’re enthusiastic about as it will pep up your tasting. Do your research too. Learning is fun, especially when your subject is wine! Here are some ideas:

Grape variety

Choose a ‘New World’ and ‘Old World’ example of your favourite variety. Sauvignons from New Zealand and the Loire Valley perhaps? Keep the price and vintage the same/similar.

Region or country

Pick wines from different producers in the same region.

Your favourite wines

Maybe something you’ve tasted on holiday.

Season or style

Spring is in the air, so some of us are moving to lighter, fresher wines … or stick with Big Reds if they’re your favourites.

Food & Wine

Foods can be sweet, salty, acidic, spicy, creamy or fatty. How do these change the wine? Or choose something that complements the wine. Cheddar with oaked Chardonnay, for example.

David v Goliath

Line up a pricy wine against a more affordable choice. The results may surprise you.

Preparation tips

A little preparation will make sure your tasting goes smoothly …
  • Plan ahead. This gives everyone the chance to get wines delivered and prepare.
  • Do some research, download tasting notes (visit our website and click ‘Print Wine File’ on your favourite products), visit producer's websites, google regions and grape variety and use a few images - a picture paints a thousand words!
  • Watch our short ‘Host your own Virtual Wine Party’ video. This will help you and your friends to get more from the wines you’re tasting.
  • Check out our handy guide to tasting. It’s a handy framework for assessing wines and helps you pick out different flavours and aromas.
  • Open only a couple of bottles at a time and consider getting a wine saver.
  • Take wines out of the fridge just before you start. Don’t chill red wines so much – only an hour the fridge, if recommended on the label.

The tasting itself

When your wine-loving friends and family are logged on with their tasting glasses at the ready …
  • Welcome your guests and introduce your theme. People love stories and a good anecdote will add to the occasion.
  • Taste wines in order from lightest to heaviest, white before red, and dry before sweet.
  • Allow a few minutes for everyone to talk about and score the wine. Remember there are no rights or wrongs and try to make sure everyone chips in.
  • Be honest and enthusiastic – it will make your tasting much more memorable and fun.
  • Above all, enjoy your wines.

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