With apologies to Orson Welles, it seems, “We shall sell no wine unless it’s online.” With the closure of wineries for all but production during the pandemic, wineries are embracing online technology to continue some semblance of the tasting-room experience.
Among them is Napa Valley’s St. Supéry Estate Vineyards, which will host a series of virtual wine tastings, online, every Thursday afternoon for the next several weeks. Naturally, it’s expected that you already have some St. Supéry in your glass (conveniently available in a 6-pack #Injoy At Home Tasting Kit from the winery—be sure to use coupon code: [email protected]) and an account with Zoom, the video conferencing app that’s become the de facto group encounter platform in the age of social distancing.
Participants will receive a timely login link, and one of the resident winemakers will guide them through a spread of St. Supéry wines. Gimmicky? A bit, but that’s part of the experience—nobody opens a Cracker Jack box just for the prize. There is, of course, the wine— and the Rutherford-based institution has earned its reputation with 100 percent estate-grown, sustainably farmed sauvignon blanc and red Bordeaux varieties that are often media darlings.
“With improvements in technology, we are able to engage more directly with our customers than in the past,” says St. Supéry Estate CEO Emma Swain, whose offering comes with promotional pricing and free shipping. “We feel Zoom is the best platform to facilitate a more interactive session.”
Those wishing to up the interact ante can also elect to make the St. Supéry selections part of their dinner on tasting evenings. The winery will facilitate this with suggested recipes to pair with each.
Those of us who came of age watching Capt. Picard bark, “Computer, tea, Earl Grey, hot,” may find virtual tastings a bit lacking in the tech department (really, how hard can it be to 3-D print an award-winning wine?) but they are a fantastic option until we arrive at 24th-century technology, and perhaps they are an idea worth repeating with friends. If you’re interested in a Bohemian-themed virtual wine tasting led by your humble editor (c’est moi!), sign up here: dhowl.com/bohowine.
Until then, the next two St. Supéry virtual tastings are slated as follows:
March 26: 2015 Rutherford Estate Vineyard Merlot, 93 Points, The Tasting Panel.
April 2: 2017 Napa Valley Estate Virtú, 90 Points, Wine & Spirits Magazine.