Anyone else desperately miss having drinks after work or on the weekends with the girls? We're pretty confident that it's not just a "us" thing, but we fully admit we might just miss the wine tasting experience a little more, seeing as we love wine so much we founded a company with sugar-free wine so we can drink more of it.
As wine lovers and winemakers, we have been to several virtual happy hours. And a year (!) into this pandemic, we're starting to feel incredibly bored by our happy hours. And trust us, writing that doesn't come easily. Part of the fun of sitting at the bar with our favorite people is dishing the latest gossip over pours of new wines. And in COVID, there is not a whole lot of gossip or drama to entertain us. Therefore, we are determined to bring the fun and happiness back into happy hours. We've put our happy hour loving heads together and thought of a few ideas to make your next virtual happy hour as fun as those nights you shared with your friends at bars.
Choose a Theme
Let's take a walk back to college: remember how much fun it was dressing up for a party or an event? From ABC (anything but clothes) to cliche toga parties, themed parties were a guaranteed good time. Literally, you could just put on your costume and then go to sleep and still have a blast.
Let's bring back that fun to your virtual wine tasting room. Love red wine? Make your wine club theme around it like, different wines with pricing under twenty dollars, sparkling wines with funny names, or red wines from wine country in Napa Valley, California. The truth is when it comes to coming up with a theme, the more creative, the better.
When coming up with a theme for virtual events and knowing you are inviting people who do not like wine, try to find a theme where they can also participate. For example, pick a food group and allow people to choose a beverage or beverages that taste deliciously with that food pairing. (If this intrigues you, here is a fun blog we wrote about pairing wine with food!)
Another tip: take advantage of the many wineries from Sonoma and Oregon to New York and St. Helena that are already offering private virtual tastings. Some ship a tasting pack of the bottles of wine directly to your door, then schedule a video call through a tasting with a sommelier or wine educator about the different varietals. Essentially it is a virtual tasting experience that is as close to the real thing as humanly possible but from the comfort of your own home. Other wineries curate video series that wine drinkers can watch on-demand, on Instagram live, or on Facebook live. There are so many options out there that you can use and share with friends to do all together while social distancing. The pros: it will definitely take a lot of pressure off of your back!
Choose the Wines
Alright, this is assuming you choose a theme that allows you to pick your guest's wine or drink selection instead of your own wine. First, we will unabashedly plug ourselves quickly. We're Bev; we're that wine you probably have seen on Instagram. We don't add anything to our wine except bubbles, of course! We're all juice with no additives and have no sugar because of our blending and fermentation process. Each of our cans is around 160 calories with only three carbs and eleven percent ABV.
Additionally, all of our cans are glass and a half of wine. Here's arguably one of the best parts about us: we come to YOU. In most states, your order will arrive in two to three days.
But okay, if you decide to go in a different direction than Bev, we get it. It hurts, but we'll move on. There's a wonderful world of wine for the picking. If you're choosing the wines, make sure you keep in mind not only your palate but also your pocketbook. For the tasting package, we suggest picking a tasting kit with no fewer than three wines and no more than five bottles.
Journey back to the days when you would go to restaurants fearlessly. Remember the wine list and remember the wines that excited you, from Bordeaux to Chardonnay, that you swore you would buy from the grocery store. If you need more inspiration for wine, talk to wine experts or do your research online.
Of course, remember your and your friends' pocketbooks. We suggest keeping your wine prices to twenty dollars or less per bottle.
How Many People Will there Be?
When it comes to hosting a virtual wine tasting event, we suggest keeping your guest list on the smaller side. If you have been on a Zoom with a ton of people, you can see why. Just imagine adding alcohol into the mix, and you can find yourself with an incredibly chaotic experience. Our suggestion: keep your list under six or so people. If you are inviting couples, then keep to three or four couples, assuming each pair will be sharing a screen. By keeping your guest list small, you ensure that every participant has an opportunity to talk, and each guest will enjoy quality time.
Finding and creating the right crowd is also incredibly important. Some people don’t feel comfortable over Zoom or video services and therefore, will not enjoy the experience. Try to pick people who you know will both love and participate in the experience.
Choose a Date
Before you pick a date for your tasting, you should reach out to your favorite people and friends and make sure there is a date that works for all of them. If you are technologically savvy, you can also send out a Google Form with a few dates and allow people to vote on the date. That way, you can save yourself some time texting everyone back and forth and instead, have all of your friends' availability in one clear and concise place.
Send Out Your Invites
Send out your invites on whatever platform floats your boat!
Have a Good Time!
Remember, wine tastings are supposed to be a good time!