So….who misses wine festivals???
For me, in addition to the normal activities, summers are made for discovering new wines, visiting local wineries, and going to wine festivals. I love visiting wineries and attending wine festivals. With the exception of beaches, cookouts, and vacations, it’s what I live for during the summer.
When it comes to wine festivals, I usually start working on plans during the winter. I brainstorm with my usual festival crew, find ticket deals and figure out lodging options if necessary. Then once summer kicks off, we are all set for wine festival season.
As far as visiting wineries, any day or weekend throughout the summer could lead me to a local winery. I’m lucky that I live in Maryland, which has an awesome plethora of wineries and trails. And I live close to Virginia, which has wonderful wine trails as well. So no matter what my mood or what direction I want to travel in, there’s a good chance I can pass several really good winery options. It’s so easy to build a weekend, a staycation, or a hookie day around visiting a winery nearby, no matter the season. But summers really are made for winery visits.
Covid has wrecked all plans for wine-related activities this year with the exception of purchasing a bottle and drinking it in the house. And that makes me oh, so sad. Like…really really sad.
Times are different now. And unfortunately Covid is our current reality. For me, I am still primarily still sticking to quarantine procedures. I stay in my home or I go out in open spaces, like parks. When I visit family members, we always remain outside and we stay six feet apart. And no hugging…which really really sucks.
I am not visiting restaurants except for curbside pick-up. I do quick grocery store runs. And when it comes to Target, it’s a quick twirl through the store to gather items, or I put in pick-up orders through the app. Everything else for me is off the table. And unfortunately, for now, that includes visiting wineries and attending festivals.
So since I miss girl time with my friends, and I miss wineries, my besties and I decided to try out doing a virtual wine tasting. Sooooo not the same, but satisfied our interest in finding new yummy wines, as well as our craving for social activities with each other.
So here’s what we did.
1) Select wines:
We didn’t have strict requirements for this because, without ample planning and a cushion time for delivery, we are kinda limited to the wines in our local liquor store. or wines that we already have on-hand.
2) Research facts:
When you go wine tasting, typically the host or hostess will tell you some fun facts about the vineyard or its owners, and then add some facts about the wine itself. What notes to expect, what smells and tastes will be experienced, what grapes it was made with, and how best to serve and enjoy the wine. So we looked up tidbits of information about the wines we chose.
3) Set up the Zoom/Hangouts call:
Everyone is all about zoom these days! Where has this app been all our lives?? Unless someone has an unlimited account, the max time for the free account is 40 minutes. So…plan accordingly! Luckily, bestie had an unlimited account and we were able to do our tastings, and chat while drinking more wine…without worrying about time restrictions. Find your meeting app, and set up your time.
4) Sample your wine:
We made sure we did our sampling during the video, so that we could observe initial reactions and subsequent flavor processing. I guess that helped us feel like the tasting was similar to the experience we’d have if we were together at a winery, sampling the wine for the first time. Wines change as they aerate, and sometimes that changed our perceptions of the wines during the tasting.
5) Have a rating system:
We went with the typical scale of 1 to 10 for the first meeting. Maybe we will get creative for the next round and use wine bottles or grape vines or something fancy. But 1-10 got the job done this time. Included in our rating system was our initial thoughts, whether things changes after first, second and third sips, whether we’d purchase the wine again, and why or why not.
Here are the wines we sampled for our first Wine Down Wednesday:
Liebe Winemaker’s Collection Riesling – Wegman’s $7.99
Menage Trois Luscious Pinot Noir – Local wine shop $15.99
Von Hovel Riesling – Local wine shop $25
It was completely by accident that we wound up sampling various price points but it was definitely great to have that as a factor of consideration, along with where the bottle was purchased. Ie., “if you’re in Wegman’s and want to grab an inexpensive bottle of wine to go with dinner, try the Liebe Riesling!”
The funnest part of the whole evening may have been drinking and chatting afterwards. We truly miss the in-person shenannigans that we’re accustomed to, so this was really a fun way to connect, learn about new wines, and catch up.
How have you been keeping up with your friends and loved ones? Socializing is so different these days. In addition to various zoom gatherings, I do find myself picking up the phone more often to ask questions and do check-ins. What have you been doing?