Wine being poured into a glass on top of a wood table.

Impress Your Clients and Team With a Virtual Wine Tasting

Pop the cork and celebrate a successful year with your employees or loyal customers.

As we wind down 2021, uncertainty makes holiday event planning for clients and employees a little more challenging. But there is a delightful workaround that more and more people have been partaking in: the virtual wine tasting. Sampling wine and enjoying some snacks, as well as camaraderie, can end the year on a high note.

Set it up

The setup is relatively easy. First, a guest list with four to 10 people is ideal. Then, choose a day, time and your preferred platform, like Zoom or Google Hangout.

Choose a theme

According to master sommelier Lu Yang, “Have a theme in mind – you can make it a vertical tasting from the same producer, or a horizontal (same vintage) range from a certain region. A theme is also important to keep people focused. By the end of the tasting, your guests are more likely to have a sense of accomplishment if you’ve had thorough discussions around one topic.”

Make the selection

Select three or four bottles in your theme and send them to the invitees ahead of time, to arrive the same day so everyone will have them by the event date. Wine.com will actually deliver to your home and send duplicate orders to the clients or employees you are inviting. Wine-searcher.com is a comprehensive resource for selecting wines and compiling tasting notes.

Who’s the host?

Dazzle clients by bringing in an outside expert or sommelier to host — consider either handing off to an external company who organizes it all for you or partnering with a local restaurant. Supporting a local business where your company is located can add a feel-good vibe and give back to your community.

Tip: Choose visuals and backgrounds wisely for the event. Ensure all backgrounds and presentations include company name, logo and colors, and make fonts large for easy readability online.

If it’s an internal or employee event, consider asking multiple staff members to join in, perhaps to each “host” a wine. Each host can consult a resource like wine-searcher.com for information about “their” wine. Make a few notes or even a short PowerPoint deck with the history of each vintage and why you chose it. In advance of the tasting, consider sending palate-cleansing crackers or other snacks that pair well, as well as a suite of glassware that attendees can keep as a holiday gift.

Outsource the fun

To elevate the experience for clients, there are tons of options that will do it all for you. Napa-based wine club Priority Wine Pass offers knowledgeable hosts, world-class wines and a fun online format. They can help you choose a winery and specific wines, coordinate shipping, schedule your tasting, provide a Zoom link, and invite a knowledgeable winemaker or winery owner to emcee your event.

Next steps

  • Consider a guest list – will this be an employee or client holiday event?
  • Identify a budget and decide if you want to DIY or outsource the event.
  • Consider nonalcoholic options as well.

Sources: eventbrite.com; eventmanagerblog.com; forbes.com; forbes.com; voluptuarywine.com; wine-searcher.com; prioritywinepass.com; liquor.com; thespruceeats.com