ONLINE WINE-TASTING IN GENEVA
A GREAT WAY TO SPEND A NIGHT IN LOCKDOWN
by Alana Dunsmore
As we start seeing glimpses of ‘normal’ life in Switzerland after self-isolating for 8 weeks, many of us still feel apprehensive about second waves of the coronavirus.
We predict online events will continue to be popular for some time to come. Fortunately for wine lovers Maria from Geneva Wine Society has moved some events online in the form of cool online wine-tastings! We simply had to try this experience.
SHARING A LOVE FOR WINE ONLINE – WHY NOT?
Prior to the lockdown Geneva Wine Society was hosting three different types of wine tasting events:
- Meet in a bar. Together you would explore the wine menu of the bar. This event was free as you would pay for what you drink but enjoy the company of others and learn some tips from Maria.
- An organised wine tasting event. This would require pre-registration. Maria would organise the location and wine usually with some type of food. The event costs around CHF50, but would depend on location and wine selection.
- Private event. Whatever the occasion Maria would make the event special with wine, games, and snacks. Maria would organise everything so all you have to do is show up.
Luckily for wine lovers she was able to quickly adjust after lockdown to still be able to share her love, knowledge and stories of wine. She still guarantees a great evening and whether you are single, have roommates, or are parents like us, this is a great way to take a step up from your virtual cocktail evenings with friends.
Even after isolation ends these virtual events will be a great option for those of us who think twice about the CHF100 we have to spend on a babysitter before we walk out the door – that is wine money!
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING AN ONLINE WINE TASTING
Each event has its own theme and mostly includes food pairing.
We tested the Aromatic Spring Wines online wine tasting.
After we completed the registration, we received specific email instructions regarding this wine, delivery and the evening. Everything is organised so you can just sit back and enjoy the wine during the event.
Since our event was focused on aromatic wine – the instructions included various food items to have on hand to test smells (fruits, spices, etc.) most of which we had at home so no special trips to the grocery store were required. Maria also included notes and a ‘wine vocabulary’ that was particularly helpful for you to follow if you had questions.
We also had some extra snacks on hand (various cheeses, crackers, and fruit) to have something to nibble on between sips.
LEARNING ABOUT THE 5 S’S
All online events are done through zoom. You will receive the meeting code and password and all you have to do is log in.
There is no account necessary and it’s free to participate.
The event started with Maria talking about the more technical parts of wine tasting, including using all your senses.
She is very knowledgeable and guided us with clear instructions.Finally, it was time to taste the wine!
Maria walked us through the 5 S’s – as she calls them, see, swirl, smell, sip and spit/swallow.
You will notice immediately that Maria is she is not a stuffy sommelier full of airs. She creates a fun and friendly environment. She encourages everyone to share their thoughts on what they smell. You never feel silly for not smelling oak from the barrel or tasting a hint of pepper for example, meaning beginners are not put off.
Once we finished tasting wine from all three bottles Maria welcomed us to stay around to sip wine to continue our chat about wine – as we might if we’d been in a bar or café. This is not compulsory, but just a lovely continuation, if you’re up for it.
Perhaps it’s my love of wine, my reluctance to fork out a fortune for a babysitter or my love for staying on the couch in my sweatpants – lockdown or no lockdown – bu I would really recommend these online wine tasting events!
I give it two thumbs up!
The events vary in price. Also note that after lockdown the in-person events are typically cheaper as they don’t include delivery charges.
The Geneva Wine Society’s next virtual event is May 16 and is open for registration check Facebook for more information. Maria plans to continue the online events after lockdown ends. Hurray!
WHO IS MARIA?
Maria studied in London and met her diplomat husband during a stint back in her home country, Greece. Naturally, they spent a great deal of married life globe-trotting. It in Zagreb, Croatia when organising a dinner party for her husband’s colleagues that Maria first realised she had no clue about wine to pair with her food. In fact, she didn’t even like it.
Yes, that’s right, Maria, the wine sommelier didn’t like wine!
She says now it was just a matter of finding the type of wine she likes. She caught the bug and started studying to become a sommelier, before ending up in Geneva for her husband’s work.
She soon started looking for people to meet up to share the wine experiences with, which led to the creation of the Geneva Wine Society.