Can a virtual wine tasting be as good as a live one? - French Wine School

Can a virtual wine tasting be as good as a live one?


We think yes! Although an odd idea for some to do a virtual wine tasting,  it’s a good practice with social distancing still the norm.

Whatever your reason, tuning into a virtual experience is a great way to learn about wine and gather with a few (socially distanced) nearest & dearest, or even do on your own.

You can be part of a bigger group virtually, say from 10-50+ people, without feeling overwhelmed, and ideally guided by wine experts. If you have good teachers, you will learn at least as much as you would at a live event. For the wine part, you can either order online, or be given a list to buy.

PROS:  You don’t have to dress up or travel! You can focus on the speaker and learning without the distraction of others. You are at home, and if you’ve got friends with you, you can keep it fun (don’t forget to mute yourselves in the background)  You can ask all sorts of questions on the chat-line & live if you want. You also don’t have to ask questions, just learn from the experts.

CONS:  If you spend time on zoom with work, you may have attitude with more screen time. You also don’t get the ambience or spontaneous wine discussion when tasting with a group of people, unless you are doing it with  friends.

Verdict? Overall, the virtual tasting is a great way to learn about wine and still have fun.

You have the benefit of semi structured training (depending on level), have the option of asking questions with experts without feeling overwhelmed by enthusiastic wine buffs, be comfortable at home not in a formal environment, and can make it more fun by having a few friends join in.

10 tips to get the most from your next virtual tasting:

1. Brush up on the wines you will be tasting.
If that’s not possible, know which region the wines are from. Is it a cool climate? What kind of grapes are grown? Start to get an understanding before you go online to the tasting.

2. Get your tasting space ready.

  • Wines opened and glasses pristine for tasting.
  • Small jug or vessel for spitting/tipping out wine and lots of water for drinking.
  • Wine tasting list and notebook ready & any questions you have.

3. Small group of one, two or three people tasting? Invest in wine savers.
Usually about six wines are tasted at an event, so not ideal with a smaller group however with wine savers now available that absorb oxygen in bottles, wines can stay fresh for weeks!

Or – just open 2-3 bottles & listen to wine tips for the ones you don’t open. Your house, your rules:)

4. Smell.
Always smell the wine before you sip. It’s a big part of tasting and often it’s what you smell, not taste where you identify the most flavours. Another important note is not to wear perfume as it interferes with your smell.

5. Remember to spit or tip out.
(If you’re tasting a lot of wines.) Not everyone likes to spit or waste wine but those tastings add up and you’ll want to pace yourself. All the pros do it – save yourself a headache and bonus is you remember what you drank!

6. Taste wine first before you eat a big meal as taste buds are at their best before eating.
Sip during tasting and enjoy a glass with dinner after.

7. Eat well.
Since you’re at home, you’ve got the luxury of preparing your perfect meal to enjoy after the tasting. In any case, you can’t go wrong with a simple cheese or charcuterie during.

8. Ask questions.
Don’t be shy. No matter what your wine knowledge the wine experts love to answer your questions and easy to be anonymous on a chat line if you prefer.

 9. Download French Wine School wine tasting guide (its free!) and be ready for any tasting.

10. Ready to try one? Check our Events page for the next Virtual Tastings in 2021. 

We keep tastings informal, suitable for all levels & guide you through benchmark wines of the region. All guided tastings include a downloadable region guide & wine map. Guided by Brigid Kennedy at French Wine School & special guests.