With events all around the world cancelled for the time being, wine distributors are taking tastings online.
In the world of wine, the new normal is an interesting one. Once mostly relegated to tasting rooms, drawn-out dinners or sprawling trade fairs, wine tasting has gone digital and into homes. Distributors and retailers are decanting their wines – and exceptional bottles at that – into single servings and shipping them out for customers to enjoy at their own pace.
If you're looking to make informed purchases or be more prudent about how your ever-diminishing cellar space is used, diving into a flight of wines is the best way to make a decision. After all, the first rule of wine collecting is to buy those you like.
Many distributors, including Fine Wines Singapore (finewines.com.sg), started offering virtual tastings after the Circuit Breaker was announced.
With its focus on French wineries, Fine Wines offers oenophiles the rare chance to sample exceptional wines – like a 1981 Penfolds Grange – alongside a range that usually includes an entry-level wine in the same category. There are weekly guided tasting sessions with a packed calendar of masterclasses and blind tastings. Themes can include everything from Syrah blends to white Burgundies.
Others like Wine Clique (www.wine-clique.com) are organising tasting sessions built around specific producers that offer customers the chance to enjoy a tasting with winemakers. Two featured so far include Burgundian producers Domaine Ponsot and Domaine de l'Arlot.
For those looking for a little more interactivity, Inflorescence Asia's (www. inflorescenceasia.com) intriguing tasting flights – which come in full 125ml pours – give customers the chance of blind tasting, complete with an online quiz that tests their knowledge.
Home-based tastings are not just a matter of re-bottling wines and shipping them out. Some are highly-prized while others are finicky and distributors have to ensure the wine doesn't degrade – normally not an issue at on-site tastings – while on the journey to you.
Fine Wines, for instance, has a team of trained pourers who can fill 50 sample containers in under five minutes and ship them out immediately after that. Wine Clique tops its sample bottles with a layer of argon gas before closing them with a synthetic cork.
To get the most out of any tasting experience, give your wines the best chance to express themselves. Store the samples properly as soon as they arrive and taste them in proper glassware to give your vino the respect it deserves.