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TWS Winemaker virtual tastings and chat

Hi Everyone,
I thought it would be useful to all community members to put the link here to register for the upcoming wine maker tastings/interviews. Once you register you will receive instructions on how to join for the meetings. There are some really exciting ones coming up.

List of Past Events

Virtual Winemaker Events

Muga, La Rioja Alta SA and CVNE with Pierre Mansour

‘Italy Day’ with Federica Mascheroni of Volpaia

Michael Brajkovich MW (Kumeu River) for International Chardonnay Day

Christina Wess of Rainer Wess, Austria

Alfred Gratien with Sarah Knowles MW

Severine Schlumberger of Domaines Schlumberger, Alsace

Ridgeview Masterclass with Brandon Barnham

Joel Peterson from Once and Future masterclass - recording

Joel Peterson from Once and Future - bonus Q&As

Mac Forbes virtual tasting - recording and Q&A

Gaston Hochar of Chateau Musar event recording and Q&A I - 6pm

Gaston Hochar of Chateau Musar Q&A II - 8pm

Francoise Antech of Maison Antech, Limoux

Florent Roques of Boizel, Champagne

Mini Masterclasses

Tim Sykes on The Future of Bordeaux’s Grape Varieties

Buyer Interviews

A Glass Half Full: Sarah Knowles MW on Sparkling

A Glass Half Full: Jo Locke MW on the Douro

A Glass Half Full: Tim Sykes on Blending Society Favourites (Claret and White Burgundy)

Workshop Series

Weekly Workshop: How to Taste Wine with Anna Spooner

Weekly Workshop: Fortified Wine with Catherine Housden

Weekly Workshop: Sparkling Wine with Emma Briffett

Weekly Workshop:Bordeaux vs The New World with Gil Riggans

Buyer Content

Sarah Knowles MW Journey to MW

Sarah Knowles MW VinItaly episode 1

Sarah Knowles MW Drink VinItaly episode 2

Sarah Knowles MW Drink VinItaly episode 3

A glass with Marcel , Summer Muscat

A glass with Marcel, Weissburgunder

A glass with Marcel, Riesling


Thanks for doing this, Leah! :smiley:

There’s been a couple listed here by @Tim_S/@annaspooner already and I think it would be nice to keep it all in one place so everyone can keep up (there’s lots planned!), so I’ll move some of the existing conversations here so people can see recordings for previous events all in one place. :slight_smile:

The Mac Forbes one was ace!!! What a guy! :heart_eyes:

I believe they will be available to watch back post-zoom for those not able to participate as well. I have already popped his premium bottles on my wishlist for the second we can reorder mixed cases.


The Society’s next Winemaker Live Zoom event is occurring this Saturday (25th April) at 10am.

Saturday is Anzac Day, an important day in the diary where Australia and New Zealand commemorate those who have served their country in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.

To mark this day, we are hosting Australian winemaker Mac Forbes in a special Live Zoom Tasting.

Mac is one of the genuine nice guys of the wine trade and has kindly offered to spend time with us sharing his journey with wine that has seen him work around the world. Not only does Mac make brilliant wines focusing on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir under his own label, but he is also responsible for our exclusive Blind Spot range where he seeks out interesting and exciting parcels of grapes all over Australia.

He will no doubt give insights into his current range of wines and will take any questions you may have. Whether that be on his views on the cork vs screwcap debate, how he and his friends have been affected by the devastating bushfires and how the Australian wine industry might respond to the Covid 19 pandemic.

The virtual tasting is part of our Winemaker Virtual Events series where we bring some of the finest winemakers in the world to your loungeroom, garden or home office. Whether you have a glass of wine from the producer or not, we encourage you to log on and be part of the conversation.

This virtual tasting will commence at 10am on Saturday 25th April. This early start is due to the time difference between us here in the UK and Mac in Victoria, Australia but if you happen to have a bottle of one of Mac’s off dry Rieslings, I can confirm these are brilliant breakfast wines.

If you are unable to join live, a recording will be made available to view at your own pleasure.

To view this event and others please click here, noting to ignore the out of stock notification, as registration is open and available despite the warning.

We will be adding lots more producers in the coming days and weeks so do keep your eyes on the site and if there are any producers you would particularly like to meet, do let us know.


Here is a link to the chat we had on Saturday morning with Mac Forbes.

Thanks to all those that joined. Please do let us know what you think of these sessions and what you would like to see in the future.

Below are a few of the questions that went unanswered which Mac has since kindly responded to.

Mike B

We heard from Joel Peterson this week that he advocated full corks but a couple of years ago at a tasting in London Vanya Cullen she advocated screw caps and I was wondering what your thoughts were.

Ha this is still one of the most devisive discussion points going around. However what I will say is that

  1. Every closure has an impact on the final wine. It is astonishing just how much.

  2. Through our own trials with our own wines, we prefer natural cork. The wines are more calm, settled and harmonious. They are also the bottles we drink first.

  3. Cork supply and quality is clearly a massive issue. We purchase the majority of our natural corks from France. And we also only use corks on single vineyard wines due to cost (over $2).


If you could pick another country to have a vineyard where would you choose to grow?

No particular country however making Madeira would be great fun. And I’d love to work with super old vines at elevation.

Is there anything you’ve got coming up we should look out for?

We will be launching laster this year our ‘Villages’ tier. This will sit between the Yarra range and the Single Vineyard range. We are incredibly excited.

Is there a wine making philosophy that you think separates Australia from the rest of the world - E.g. what is taught at universities etc?

Difficult as the world seems very small in terms of circles of conversation.

Keith C

What or who is “Hugh” in the name of the Yarra Valley cabernet sold by The Wine Society?

This wine is named after my father. It is the only wine I make with a nod to another wine/chapter - That being old school Victorian / Yarra Valley Claret. Low alcohol medium bodied cabernet blends that age forever. It was the wine that I first encountered that spoke of home.


This was such a pleasurable event - thanks for the recording link! Mac is a really charismatic speaker - in that nonchalant informal Aussie way :smiley:

Just booked the Christina Wess event on the 20th of May - and can’t wait! :clap:

Hello all,

Anna here from the Tastings and Events Team.

We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to get a jam-packed programme of tastings ready for you to join. We’ll be updating our old calendar in a couple of days to bring you our ‘virtual’ version.

In the meantime though, we would love to invite you to an online tasting with Sarah Knowles MW and Joel Peterson ‘The Godfather of Zinfandel’.

The tasting is on Wednesday 22nd April
6pm - 7pm
Will be hosted on Zoom

It will involve a mini-masterclass session from Joel followed by an opportunity for Members to ask questions.

If you’re interested, please request the link via the email below and you will be sent the private link:


We look forward to seeing some of you there, glass in hand - whether it’s Californian Zin or not!

And watch this space, we’ve got a few other Tastings going live in the next 10 days including Mac Forbes and Chateau Musar - so keep your eyes peeled




Who is Joel Peterson? Where does he make wine?

The “Godfather of Zinfandel” sounds uncomfortably hypey. I can think of at least one more very strong candidate!

He was at Ravenswood (founded it I think) than left. Now he is making wine under the label ‘Once and future’. I was at a dinner last year where his wines (old and new) were showcased (with him in attendance). His Zins from 1990s were a revelation.


Will there be a recording of this?

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Hello @suiko - @szaki1974 has got it spot on.

Joel founded Ravenswood before starting up his new venture Once and Future.

To read up on Ravenswood and Joel’s background, there is a producer profile here - https://www.thewinesociety.com/grower-profile-ravenswood-winery

As for Once and Future, Sarah shared a lovely account of her trip there last year - https://www.thewinesociety.com/tiw-article-peterson-silver-oak

Hope those are helpful and that you might be inclined to join us!


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This might also pique your interest - great conversation with Joel from Levi Dalton’s podcast.

I’d love to watch that! Timing for me is bad so I’ll miss otherwise.

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Ah ok, thanks! I have enjoyed the Ravenswood Zins, but not as much as Paul Draper’s.

Actually prefer primitivo to zinfandel in general, but sounds interesting!

Yes me too, I sadly won’t be able to make this one so a recording would be awesome…a Musar one, however, I will cancel all other prior engagements for :rofl:


Would love to but 6-7pm will be a tough time to make. If there is a recording, that would be fantastic.

This sounds great - but sadly sits right in the kids bath and bed time so I’ll have to miss it I’m afraid.

If TWS don’t provide this as a recording after the event (@annaspooner?), though I’m sure they likely will, I can probably record it and make it available like I did for the 67 Pall Mall Musar presentation.

(It’s very easy with the OBS Studio free app https://obsproject.com/)


Hello all,

Yes we’re going to be recording the tastings, so watch this space for where to download it from.

(Thanks very much for the offer though @MikeFranklin)




For anyone with kids 6pm is a terrible time for a “zoom” :see_no_evil::tired_face::tired_face::tired_face: