How To Host Virtual Wine Tastings

Claudia Castro
6 min readApr 3, 2021


Do you think virtual wine tastings are going away? Think again.

Virtual wine tastings are complimenting a workforce that has stayed home for over a year; a perfect time to experiment hosting a virtual mixer.

In college, I wrote a story on the rise of coffee shops. It was the early 90’s and it took me a long time to publish it because who would believe coffee shops were trending? I noticed it was a way for people to meet outside a diner or bar.

That story not only got printed but reprinted and even the neighbors told me they saw my story.

Now 30 years later, I’m wondering if virtual wine tastings will have the same impact as being in person doesn’t seem to compare. If you do it right, however, virtual wine tastings might be a way for professionals and peer groups to meet together online in a fun way.

With more people working virtually including the inability for some who cannot travel, it’s not so unimaginable.

Do you know exactly what you’re looking for or are you open to suggestions? When I told Jake at WineKey the region I was interested in, he gave me a winery within that region and we reviewed these options.

  • What was our wine preference? (Red, White, Californian, Italian, French?)
  • How many people will be at the party?
  • What day and time do we prefer?
  • Were we open to suggestions?
  • Did we need a food pairing? (I would suggest having food with the pairing but ask what kind of foods would go well with the wines chosen.)

Now, this is where I got tripped up.

After figuring out what kind of wine, what region, and what my budget was, I hadn’t realized what kind of wine tasting I was looking at.

When you set up a wine tasting, you have to know what kind of wine tasting it will be before asking yourself the above questions.

If a virtual wine tasting has been on your mind, I’ve put together a few questions to ask yourself before you even plan your next virtual wine tasting. Don’t make the mistake I did.

Question #1: Is your wine tasting going to be with friends, co-workers, your company, or clients? Are you trying to impress the group or make a good impression?

Question #2: What will the vibe be? Will it be fun, a team-building event, or a relationship builder (with a client)?

Question #3: Does your group want to learn about wine or just have fun? If it’s with family or friends, they may not want to learn but just have fun. Know this ahead of time because it will depend on where you’ll purchase your tasting.

You wouldn’t want to go to a sit-down, learning experience with a bachelorette party and the same rules apply virtually.

Healdsburg, CA

I had no idea how many options there were for scheduling a wine tasting. However, there is a growing number of websites to purchase your tasting depending on the occasion.

A. Fun event

B. Corporate

C. Client/Gift

D. Education


Direct With Wineries: For C, D Events

Many wineries are offering tastings and will schedule a zoom meeting with you. Call your favorite winery or look around their website for virtual tastings. Most come with purchasing the full bottles and just signing up with one of their servers over zoom.

Virtual Tasting Websites: For B, C, D Events

Another option is to contact a wine tasting website like Winekey that will coordinate a wine tasting for you. Their wines are domestic and offer great regions like Napa and Sonoma.

What caught my attention though, is that they have wineries that will ship small bottles to you. Currently, they’re working on making your option available through an online self-serve experience but if you call Jake at Winekey, he will work with you. I was impressed that he was able to work within my budget.

Sommelier Tasting Kits: For D, (and only for C if you know your client is into wine).

If you’re looking to learn about wine, I would do a virtual wine tasting through a sommelier website. There are a few and some have creative ways of tasting and learning about wine.

Richard and I did a wine tasting class with Tuanni Price, with ZWT Wine Tasting a few months ago. We invited our friends over for a class with Tuanni over zoom and found it not only fun but we took her class for the next several weeks. It was a fun learning experience. (Wouldn’t you know that our friends knew Tuanni? Small world!)

In each class, she asked everyone to choose a varietal and the online group would talk about that particular wine that evening. Richard enjoyed it too.

I also know of 2 sommeliers who have started their own tastings that take you through the process of learning and discovering new wines. If you like a wine, just text them a picture and they will ship the bottle to you. Their tastings come with a kit to mark down the color, the flavors, the smells, as well as a grading card. They offer wines from around the world.

Fun Wine Tastings: A

If you’re planning a fun tasting event for a birthday party, bachelorette, or just with a group of friends who just want to try wine for fun, you can host with the bottles you have.

We went with a Chateau St. Michelle, Paradigm, a Paso cab, and a Howell Mountain from TJ’s which, hands down, we all loved.

We just wrapped each bottle, numbered them according to which one should be tried in sequence (white being first), and went around to see which bottle was preferred.

After a few tastings, your party may look like a wine tasting room filled with wine drinkers, and really, who will be paying attention to the pourer?

It’s taken me a while to write about virtual wine tastings but I’ve found how costly it can be if you’re having a private or fun party event. However, wine tastings are having success with corporate mixers.

Jake mentioned that companies who are unable to take their clients out to dinner on a business trip can still schedule a sophisticated wine tasting after meeting over zoom.

This past New Year’s Eve, I got on a zoom with a good friend and a few other of her friends meeting them for the first time. Even though the thought of having to zoom was tough, how great would it be to continue this tradition when we wouldn’t even think of celebrating together?

Maybe having zoom calls will be another way we can all connect no matter where we are in the world now that we’ve had a year to get used to it. There will be no excuses not to connect.

What a silver lining that is.