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Virtual Wine Tasting 101

virtual tastingWhat is virtual wine tasting? Is it pretend wine tasting? Do you need a computer to do it?

Word Origin & History of “Virtual”

late 14c., “influencing by physical virtues or capabilities,” from M.L. virtualis, from L. virtus “excellence, potency, efficacy,” lit. “manliness, manhood” (see virtue). The meaning of “being something in essence or fact, though not in name” is first recorded 1650s, probably via sense of “capable of producing a certain effect” (early 15c.). Computer sense of “not physically existing but made to appear by software” is attested from 1959.

Virtual Wine Tasting is Actual Wine Tasting 

If you have been wine tasting, then you should be familiar with visiting wineries or attending wine tasting events in person, possibly with a group. This involves driving and visiting physical locations. A fee to attend a wine tasting venue is frequently required. Wines and wine glasses are provided for you at the winery or event. Sometimes you have an amiable host guiding you through the wine tasting. The principle reason for visiting a wine country destination is to go wine tasting.

As much fun as it is to visit wineries. It’s not always practical to fly and drive to every wine country destination.

And not everyone is comfortable with or knowledgeable about the how to of wine tasting.

Wine Tasting Online

As social media tools have grown in popularity so to have social media events. The ubiquity of smart phones, tablets and portable computers means almost everyone is connected online. Social media tools have become the binder which keep people connected and informed.

Virtual wine tasting takes the social media phenomena a step further. The social interaction occurs online, typically in real time, often using the popular twitter application – but there is actual tasting of wine. You taste in the comfort of your home. You are free to participate as much or as little as you want. Ask questions or just lurk in the background. You choose how involved you want to be in the discussion of the wine.

In a virtual wine tasting the group agrees in advance which wine they are going to taste. The designated wine is purchased locally or online. On the date and time of the tasting they open their bottles of wine at the same time. Using a tool like twitter they share their thoughts about the wine. A designated host will guide the online, virtual tasting, fielding questions and answers. It is a terrific way to learn more about wine, gain confidence in ones palate and to enhance the appreciation of wine. It’s also a marvelous way to make friends with like-minded souls.

Where to Start?

Our friends over at Minstrel and Muse host a monthly wine show on internet radio. Their shows are recorded live as they taste through the wine of the month. If you miss their live show you can playback their recorded podcast wine show. On twitter they are tweeting with their audience, you can follow along using #winemuse – they are starting a Wine Muse World Tour on 3rd Thursdays.

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Tools You Need

You need a computing device with an internet connection and the twitter application. You also need at least one wine glass, a corkscrew and a real interest in wine. The people attending virtual wine tastings have a lot of fun, humor is frequent, but serious questions are expected. Don’t forget to find out which hashtag is being used for the virtual tasting. You can research some of the popular virtual tastings on twitter by searching on these: #winechat – #vawinechat – #bcwinechat – #winestudio – #flxwine – #winemuse

Happy virtual wine tasting!

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