In this time of social distancing, quarantining and sheltering in place, wine-lovers’ plans are getting a bit thin. We’re cooking at home, we’re dipping into our cellars for special bottles, and we’re grateful for clear ways to stay safe and healthy. And for those of us who find joy in the wine community — visiting tasting rooms, chatting with winemakers, touring vineyards and wineries — a number of wineries and wine purveyors, large and small, are pivoting quickly and gracefully to creative ways of giving us access to all those things. Here are four experiences to consider when planning your next wine tasting.
Sebastapol Hills (in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley) winery Halleck Vineyard makes the best domestic dry Gewurztraminer I’ve tried in ages, and the Halleck team has put together a virtual tasting experience for any budget or level of interest.
The Halleck Vineyard Wine Tasting, for 2-6 people, includes your choice of three wines, a wine opener, a downloadable wine aroma wheel (handy for coming up with accurate tasting notes), and a personal tasting video conference with Ross Halleck, owner-vintner, or Stephanie Cullen, certified sommelier. ($199)
Add to the above three cheeses from neighboring Valley Ford Cheese, personally selected by Halleck and VFC owner Karen Bianchi-Moreda for pairing with these specific wines. ($239)
If you’d like a Model Two Coravin to go with your tasting, you can go that route with the Halleck Vineyard Wine Tasting + Coravin for $349. The Coravin system allows you to pour a glass and re-seal the bottle without oxidizing the wine. It’s especially useful for preserving nice bottles that you’re not going to finish in one setting.
Lastly, the blowout “ultimate” selection includes all of the above for $389.
To order any of these tastings, click here. (Shipping is included with each order; additional wines are available at a 15% discount.)
Legendary Cabernet producer Quintessa invites guests to the first of ongoing weekly interactive vineyard and winery experiences with the estate’s general manager, Rodrigo Soto, and winemaker Rebekah Wineburg, starting on Wednesday, April 8 at 4pm PST.
Simply log into Instagram, find Quintessa here, and click on the icon to view the live feed, where Soto and Wineburg will talk about life in the vineyard, budbreak, and all the details of what’s happening right now at this biodynamic property. If you’ve had the good fortune of visiting this magical estate, you’ll be soothed by beautiful memories, and if you haven’t, plans will soon be laid.
Viewers will be able to ask questions and learn more about the following wines:
· 2018 Odette Reserve Chardonnay
· 2017 Adaptation Petite Sirah, Napa Valley
· 2017 Adaptation Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
· 2017 Odette Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District
· 2016 Odette Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District
Aaron Miller, winemaker at PlumpJack, will walk us through five wines via livestream on Facebook at 3pm PST on Friday, April 3.
And if you buy wine at the PlumpJack online shop, you can select special-edition tasting packs. Now through Friday, April 3, 10 percent of all sales are going directly to employees of the PlumpJack Group wineries who are temporarily unable to work in the tasting rooms due to the shelter-in-place ordinance. If you purchase any of these special-edition tasting packs, a PlumpJack Group team member will reach out to organize a one-on-one virtual tasting in case you can’t make Friday’s live stream.
If you’ve ever experienced a tasting with Kerrin Laz in her CIA Copia tasting room in Napa, you know that she has curated her collection down to the most minute detail, offering wines that are sometimes impossible to find elsewhere. Laz was the longtime buyer for Dean & Deluca, and she knows absolutely everyone in the wine industry — more importantly, she has great taste.
While we’re all hunkered in safely at home, she’s put together a number of private virtual tasting options that she’ll conduct by appointment, from wines that have scored 100 points ($1,035 for three) to three bottles of Pinot Noir from some of her favorite producers for $235.
If you have a special occasion to celebrate, spring for the very special 100-Points Virtual Private Wine Tasting Kit, which includes a bottle of 2016 Dalla Valle Maya Estate, a 2016 Spottswoode Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, and a 2016 Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon. Then email or call up to schedule your tasting, and take a deep dive into these world-class wines with one who knows them well. Get all the details here.
Meanwhile, I’ll see you at the winery or in the vineyard — online!