It may be years before I make it to California. With two kiddos under the age of five, my goal of visiting California’s wine growing regions is temporarily on pause. In the meantime, I was thrilled to be part of the Chalk & Tablet team as we built and launched our new eTasting Experience. This virtual wine tasting course captures some of the best traits of an in-person wine tasting: developing an appreciation for a particular brand, exploring different flavor profiles, learning about the winemaking process, and of course, tasting wine, all offered in a convenient, virtual, and on-demand format.
The Benefits of Chalk & Tablet’s Virtual Tasting Course
Wait, a virtual wine tasting?
At first glance, the phrase “virtual tasting” seems at odds with itself (kinda like earlier in the pandemic when I attended “virtual physical therapy”...) but in reality it offers a new way of connecting.
Benefits to the Producer
Offering a virtual tasting course with Chalk & Tablet’s eTasting Experience gives a wine producer more flexibility than does a hosted tasting. The producer can have as many concurrent tasters as they can sell. They can reach customers with scheduling conflicts or who would prefer not to have a live guide. And the producer can insert more content than can be covered in a 1-hour tasting and give the consumer a choice of topics, offering a valuable and personalized experience. Each producer can determine the best way to represent their brand and products.
Benefits to the Consumer (or Wine-Tasting Student)
Our virtual tasting course transports the consumer to the tasting room. From the comfort of their living room, students gain access to a wine expert who shares their knowledge about and passion for wine. As with other online courses, students benefit from learning directly from a subject matter expert who has authored or curated the material.
Unlike in an in-person tasting, students in our eTasting Experience can access the material whenever they want and as many times as they want. Students can also proceed at their own pace, pausing when needed and revisiting content as desired. It’s a flexible, informative, and rewarding experience.
Other Wine Industry Innovators
One of my favorite parts of building our eTasting Experience was learning how wineries, wine educators, and retailers have pivoted in recent years to offering virtual tastings when in-person tastings were limited or restricted.
I’d like to acknowledge five innovators in particular who helped us understand how the wine industry has creatively built new avenues to stay connected with their customers. Each takes a different approach to at-home wine tasting that helped us understand how we might offer value in a space already flooded with creativity.
J. Lohr offers a selection of their wines paired with a tasting video and a downloadable home tasting guide. Their beautiful styling conveys a warmth and passion that can be felt even on the other side of a screen.
First Batch Hospitality
Brooklyn Winery and District Winery (both part of First Batch Hospitality) offer private virtual wine tastings as well as virtual wine blending and wine games. What a great blend of style and substance!
Argaux, an online retailer featuring small production wines, offers a blind tasting kit as well as a food and wine pairing kit featuring Big Macs & Burgundy – Wine Pairings for the Real World. Improving my pairing skills seems like an excellent reason to open a bottle of wine. All in the name of learning, of course.
Bouchaine offers a guided tasting experience with a selection of tasting kits including a wine and cheese pairing as well as a wine and chocolate pairing. Wine, cheese, and chocolate? Yes please!
Five Senses Tastings
Five Senses Tastings lives up to their name and offers a “full-sensory tasting experience” with their private virtual events. They also offer monthly virtual tastings as part of their Music & Wine Tasting Club.
These innovative companies, as well as dozens of others, are doing awesome work in the world of virtual tastings. We’re a society that wants to be connected and to indulge in meaningful experiences. Virtual wine tastings are a new avenue for doing just that.
Are virtual tastings a replacement for in-person wine tasting? Absolutely not. Visiting California is still on my bucket list, and I think we can all agree that in-person interactions have a quality that cannot fully be replicated. But does a virtual experience have value, share knowledge, build connections, expand excitement, and get the word out? Absolutely.
I’m proud of the Chalk & Tablet team for crafting a stand-out idea that combines our love of wine and our course-building expertise via the power of eLearning materials. We invite you to check out our eTasting Experience today!