Isolation no reason not to connect over wine

Image: 123RF/karandaev

Who would have thought watching other people drink wine could be so entertaining?

People sharing pics and thoughts on wine on social media have been around for a while, of course, as have online courses, wine tasting masterclasses and so on, but global lockdowns have sparked a whole lot of innovative thinking and opportunities to get social and interactive with winemakers and wine lovers from the safety of isolation.

So many, in fact, that the lockdown version of your social calendar could be filling up fast!

On Facebook, the very knowledgeable and informative Peter Hedley-Smith of Cape Wine Lovers’ Society has been presenting “Taste Live with Dr Peter” at 6pm every evening since lockdown started.

He picks a wine and shares lots of info on the cultivar, its history, different styles, what to expect, and then goes into tasting the wine itself and sharing the experience.

If you watch live, you can participate with comments and questions, and the videos are all there on the Facebook page to view if you come to the party late.

And there’s already a diary clash, because at 6pm you could also get on to Instagram to take part in the highly entertaining daily InstaLive Celebrity Deathmatch Blind Tasting with Cape Town’s Publik Wine Bar (@publikwine).

Proprietor David Cope pairs a mystery wine to a celebrity and tastes his way through it while sharing his comments (and this guy writes some of the wittiest wine lists around, so you can be sure it’s not going to be dull wine snob chat) — you participate in the comments by trying to guess the wine.

Macaulay Culkin earlier this week turned out to be Maanschijn Spin Cycle Verdelho from the Voor-Paardeberg — and if the point of this exercise is to sell wine after lockdown, it’s working because I’m so intrigued that I’m definitely placing an order for this one.

Fans of Stellenbosch luxury wine Vilafonte are already asking for a repeat of their live online wine tasting via Zoom chat earlier this week with the winery’s co-founder Mike Ratcliffe, Dan Nicholl of Dan Really Likes Wine, chef Bertus Basson and London-based Greg Sherwood MW.

You can see the video on Vilafonte’s Facebook (@vilafontewine) and let’s hope they do another one soon, as it was fascinating to be in the company of almost 200 wine lovers from Sydney to Chicago uncorking their favourite Series C or Series M and talking wine, live, in real-time on a laptop screen in a kitchen in Port Elizabeth!

Over on Twitter, go follow #SAWineLockdown — a great way to share what you’re enjoying, see what other wine lovers are drinking, and maybe learn some more and add to your post-lockdown shopping list.

There’s a daily topic, today is Cabernet Sauvignon — pick a bottle from your collection, taste it, photograph it, share your thoughts with the wine loving community.

There’s lots more from SA and especially internationally — Google virtual wine tasting, wine lockdown or similar, or search your favourite social media platform, or check out what your favourite winery is doing to keep connected with customers in these isolated times.

You could also, of course, video yourself tasting an interesting wine and share it with your wine lovers’ WhatsApp group and start a new way of connecting over wine.

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