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Homemade tastings

Hello all,

I wish you all a happy Saturday and hope this message finds you in good health. I had a question I was hoping the community could help with. Myself and a friend were looking at a wine tasting at a local retailer recently, it was a virtual tasting and was priced at £95 for what we worked out to be £70 of wine (if you were to buy retail from the same shop) and a introduction from someone at the producer. I can understand that sort of markup if we were sitting at the local store and using their facilities but to sit at home it seemed a bit rich.

So to get to the point we were thinking of just doing our own and finding some online videos talking through producers or regions to accompany it. Does anyone know of any good resources (paid or unpaid) that may help with this. As I say we are more than happy to source our own wine.

Thanks in advance,
Mike

The Wine Society Youtube channel would be a good place to start.

Or any of the forthcoming online tastings.

I was just going through the paper version of the society’s new “value with values” brochure, and am loving the idea they’ve had on p.26 - “a few pounds more” - where they put pairs of the same style of wine at two different price points. I am just about to put an order in for all four pairs and will do a home tasting with some friends - so that might be a good value suggestion that you may attach to.
The only trick I think the society is missing here is that it would have been great for them to have sold these four pairs in a case, and included a tasting note comparison for them, so those less confident could feel empowered to take on a home tasting amongst friends.
Still, this few pounds more idea in the brochure is quite inspiring in its clarity of vision

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A while ago, in the before times, I was considering running wine tastings as a side hustle. I even got as far as a few practise runs. The one that was by far the most popular was the “where does my money go” tasting, where I got wines from the same region across several price points.

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Echoing and extending @CCouzens idea. If you have specific wine makers you want an intro by, youtube is full of them. There’s been a lot of online wine tastings over the past couple of years and enough places put them youtube afterwards. Pick a wine maker and search!

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I did a few tutored tastings pre COVID, mainly as a fund raiser for charity or sports club. I didn’t take any money for it, and for the charity ones put a good bottle in from my own cellar.

I almost always did a comparison at different price points, not always from the same regions, but usually same varietal or blend. Also popular was getting people out of their comfort zone, of NZ SB, Chilean Merlot etc.

Many people were shocked how little the value of the wine was in a £6 bottle…they will be even more shocked now!

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Glad you mentioned this as I had given up on the brochure after a few pages and am now having another look. The chardonnay, at over 3 times the price, seems a bit of a stretch on a few pounds more, but interesting idea.

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Our U3A wine tasting group this month featured 6 red Southern French wines from TWS, and was accompanied by this video explaining the Languedoc region and its different appellations - (55) The Languedoc in six bottles - YouTube.

Description of the individual wines in the video was a bit short, but there is TWS’s’ description with the wines online. We had a good tasting, we started with 2 whites so had eight wines in all.

We had a lot of Zoom tastings during 2020, most memorable I think was Katie Jones showing us her vineyards and vines, walking through them and talking about the wines, and the sommelier from Waddesdon Manor talking about Rothschild wines and conducting a tasting. The first was a commercial event which involved buying wines from the organiser a local independent, second was organised by another wine club abd we bought wines from Waddesdon at a good discount.

But Zoom doesn’t appeal as much as real face to face tastings.

Katie Jones has some videos of her vineyards on her site, and her wines are widely available, including one currently at TWS

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One of the best ways to enjoy a wine tasting is at home with friends and some nicely cooked food (hopefully which doesn’t mean someone has got to spend all night in the kitchen.) and several bottles of wine.
We find it a great idea if each person bringing wine researches their bottle/region/producer/ vintage etc and presents their wine to the other guests tasted blind initially and then discussed fully following everyone’s comments.
Just have fun with it. Zoom is very clumsy!

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I have no direct answer to your question about suitable videos, but I think I’d enforce (Edit: not really the word I was looking for!) what others were sort-of hinting at. If you take the effort to get together with friends to taste wine, I think it is a bit of a waste to watch videos together when you could be interacting with each other. (I presume you are now planning on non-virtual tastings, but even if you are zooming, the same applies really IMO.)

You can make it as formal as you like, and focus on the wines as much as you like. You could for example nominate someone to talk a bit about the wines, or all do a bit of research in advance (video, reading, books or online). Or you could just wing it and enjoy the wine, with or without food. A format I know works is to taste the wines first in turn, and then bring on some easily prepared food, often stuff bought from a deli, to eat while polishing off the bottles.

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Paid: SommTV (from the creators of the Somm films) has a series called Tasting Notes which are short 10-15 minute clips exploring and tasting wine. I find this is useful if you want to know about a country, or a region, or a grape, or a specific producer as they move around a lot.

Free: Wine Library TV on YouTube with Gary Vaynerchuck had a sort of energy about it, perhaps a bit too loud at times, but far from the dull snobbery that can be associated with tastings. He doesn’t do many now but there are over 1,000 episodes available all about 15 minutes also.

Tasting: The above merely offers ideas for approach, I’ve seen 67 Pall Mall offer virtual tastings where they will send you a (decent) sample sized bottled of the wine to taste as an expert was talking about the wine all live and direct.

Just some thoughts :+1: