Only a few years ago if you had told me that sitting at my desk with a glass in hand watching a group of people taste the same wine as me, while being tutored on the wine by a convenor of this group - I would have thought you had been watching too many episodes of The Jetsons.
While as futuristic as virtual tastings may have sounded before a pandemic forced us back into our homes and away from the cellar doors, wineries, breweries and bars we love, they have become the trendy norm.
One of the main reasons we love to visit cellar doors and wineries, breweries and bars it to get away and see new places. But with the advent of advanced technology, online hangouts and digital conferencing, sitting in the comfort of my office, with a line up of stunning wines and chatting to some virtual (sic) strangers, is actually a whole lot of fun.
The idea behind these tastings, obviously sprung out of our first lockdown, is that a wine company or liquor business will send out a range of products to be tasted at the event. The wines sent out usually run to a theme or across the range of the producers menu. Small bottle format makes sense from a delivery point of view as well as making sure everyone stays semi-lucid during the event.
Ian Ratcliffe of Drinks With Dave, a rocketing on-line wine presentation business, is thrilled by the success of their tastings.
"During the most recent outbreaks and with lockdowns around Australia, we are seeing between 500-650 people each week joining us for our hosted group tastings. In addition our clients enjoy the ability to purchase a tasting experience and engage via our online platform 'Dave's Place'; which again increases the amount of people who are able to enjoy a Drink with Dave," Ian said.
"We have been blown away by the amount of new enquiries, partially due to the restrictions, but more so due to the amazing community of people who join us for a tasting and then recommend us to their mates."
In the Southern Highlands a few of our wineries offer virtual tastings or go online and find one that suits you.