Did you know you can partake in a wine tasting from the comfort of your own living room couch? What if I told you that during this in-home tasting you would still get the personal touch of LIVE tasting notes from the vineyard and even a chance for you to interact, ask questions, and talk with other at home wine tasting participants?
For those of us wine enthusiasts with busy schedules or those who are not conveniently located near a vineyard this type of wine tasting might sound like a dream. But believe it or not these “virtual” tastings do exist and have become a smaller trend in the vineyard community. Old York Cellars located in Ringoes, NJ has started their own initiative called Virtual Vines which brings tastings to your computer screen.
The concept is simple, you sign up (and pay of course) in advance for the next session of Virtual Vines. The vineyard sends you your wines along with some tasting notes. On the night and given time of the tasting you simply login to their Livestream event from your computer and join in the fun. The guests of the evening will talk through each wine and the participant will sip right along at home. There is the ability to ask questions right in the Livestream chat room or you can take to social media to start a conversation (Old York uses the Twitter hashtag #virtualvines ).
Up until a few weeks ago I had only heard of virtual wine tasting through some internet articles. I was not aware that a New Jersey winery had started their very own. Last month’s Virtual Vines was a special charity broadcast that was in conjunction with What Exit Wines (also sold at Old York Cellars). Each of the wines in this 3 variety line up donates $1 of every sale to Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. If these generous donations weren’t enough the owner of Old York Wine Cellars, David Wolin, pledged to donate $1 for every tweet about the Virtual Vines broadcast (During the event). The proceeds would go to Hometown Heroes, an organization that has helped to rebuild local communities devastated by Sandy.
The winery reached out to enlist Behind the Plates participation to boost the reach of the event. I was very grateful for the wines they sent over to join in on the wine tasting fun. I’ve made it a personal goal to learn more about wine; so hearing the winemaker’s background on each bottle we tasted along with their personal tasting notes is always very interesting. What made it even more entertaining was taking to Twitter to discuss everyone else’s opinions, dinner pairings, etc. I personally had been testing out a new recipe that night for the blog, a spicy Thai dish, and it worked perfectly with two of the wines. I was not shy to share pictures and thoughts with my fellow tasters.
If you haven’t tried What Exit Wines their white, red, and rosé are all easy drinking table wines. The dry rosé was the big surprise of the evening for me. I’m not typically a rosé drinker but, I found myself pouring a second glass of this dry, slightly floral wine. The red was also a big winner for me. The influence of the Barbera in the blend brings out dark berry, prune, and hint of spice flavors.
The other really unique aspect of What Exit Wines is that all of their labels are customizable. They are very New Jersey centric and allow you to make them town or exit (NJ Parkway to be precise) specific. They will also make custom private event labels for weddings, retirement parties, company outings etc.
In the short 45 minute tasting time frame we were able to raise over $300 with our tweets for Hometown Heroes. I also was introduced to some outstanding New Jersey wines along with learning more about wine as a whole. Old York Cellars holds these Virtual Vines sessions on a frequent basis. If you haven’t tried one yet I would highly recommend grabbing some friends (They send you whole bottles…it’s a little ambitious, and lonely, to do the tasting all by yourself!), setting up a dinner night in and making a great evening out of it.
Take a look at the Old York Cellars for yourself: http://old-york-cellars.mybigcommerce.com/
Donate to Hometown Heroes: http://usahometownheroes.com/donate
Follow Old York Cellars/What Exit Wines on Instagram and Twitter: @OldYorkCellars & @WhatExitWines
…all for the love of the dish