Bring your own glass. Open your bottle of Wild Thing Zinfandel. Then plop yourself in front of a video screen and tune in via Zoom to the Virtual Wild Thing Wine Tasting Fundraiser on Friday, Feb. 26.
“Every year around Valentine’s Day we hold a wine tasting fundraiser. It’s one of our best events and sells out. This year because of the pandemic, we knew we couldn’t hold a traditional wine tasting where you go from table to table trying different wines,” said Sarah English, enterprise coordinator at Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke.
“So, we had to think outside the box and figure out how we could still hold our popular fundraiser, which annually not only attracts regular visitors to Wistariahurst, but new faces as well, who come for the wine,” she added.
The result with the help of Wistariahurst Foundation Board member, Gordan Alexander, and longtime sponsor Liquors 44, was to bring the wine tasting experience into the home along with two bottles of wine provided with registration.
On the other side of the screen, the interactive evening of learning and tasting will be presented by award-winning winemaker, Carol Shelton, and moderated by Alexander, who owns Terroir Wines, an importer and distributor of fine wines.
“It’s going to be a different, but not lesser experience. Essentially you will be one-on-one in a room with Carol, the winemaker, talking about her wines and entertaining questions,” Alexander said, noting at a typical winetasting you usually only get to ask distributors about the wines they are presenting. “Otherwise, you would have to go to Napa Valley for that experience.”
Shelton is considered to be one of America’s most innovative and highly respected winemakers. With over 35 years making wines from some of California’s finest vineyard sites, she has been named Winemaker of the Year five times. She has countless gold medals for her wines and was named one of eight Pioneer Women Winemakers of Sonoma County in 2005. Shelton continues to win awards and accolades – her 2011 Wild Thing Zinfandel was included in the Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2014.
Alexander noted he met Shelton through his business partner.
“I’ve known Carol now for about six year. It’s through word-of-mouth in the industry that you learn about people like Carol. She is a really cool person and fun to hang out with, and she brings her knowledge and a lot of fun to events like ours,” he said.
“The two wines selected for our virtual wine tasting are Wild Thing Viognier and Wild Thing Zinvandel. They are really rich wines, big and juicy with great length to them…..just delicious,” Alexander added.
Following registration online, participants will pick up their wines at Liquors 44 on 44 Lincoln Street, Holyoke, through February 25. The wines will be bagged and ready for pick-up at the register with descriptions and further instructions for logging into Friday’s presentation.
Registration reserves your bottles of wine – Wild Thing Viognier and Wild Thing Zinfandel – and participation in the online program. Participants will pay their $60 registration fee at Liquors 44 when picking up their bottles.
Participants can share one registration for the program with a friend or family member with whom they would like to watch the program, as well as share their bottles of wine.
“Sales are going well and we are pleased with the response so far, but there are still spaces left to fill. The only problem was that the storms did hold up the delivery of the wines to Liquors 44,” English said.
The interactive evening of tasting and discussion will be presented virtually via Zoom from 7 to 8 p.m.
“Fundraisers like our wine tasting are critically important to maintaining Wistariahurst, which would not exist without private support,” Alexander said.
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