For wine lovers around the globe, the fall is one of the most exciting times of the year, it’s a time when wineries are bustling about, harvesting grapes, hosting crush parties and releasing vintages from past years. For many of us, we partake in wine tasting events and special wine-maker dinners; however, this fall, wine tasting looks a little different. Wine Festival organizations around the world have had to re-think how they host events and how they help wineries celebrate harvest time. Many wine regions have developed wine tasting guides for wine lovers and connoisseurs to plan their own wine tours; however, without the camaraderie of others and a plethora of cheese awaiting us, it just doesn’t seem to be the same.
To help celebrate the Wine Festival season this year, here are a few ideas.
#1 Host a Wine Tasting Party
Invite a few of your close friends over, ideally those whom are already ‘in your circle’. Each person brings one bottle of wine, and one block of cheese. If you like, you can specify the varietal, maybe make it a Pinot Gris night or a Cabernet Franc night. As the host, you should have a few varieties of crackers and other charcuterie goodies to be shared. If guests are concerned about the buffet style of a typical charcuterie, you can easily prepare separate plates for each guest or couple, no different than a restaurant would. To add one more element, have each guest bring their bottle in a brown paper bag and do a blind tasting.
#2 Plan a Personal Wine Tour
For those of you who are lucky enough to live in the middle of wine country, this is easy, for those of you who may not, consider booking a hotel room for the night near some wineries. Choose 4-5 wineries that you would like to go to, route our your map and off you go. You should plan for about 30-45 min at each winery, but considering some wineries may be busier due to COVID regulations, you may want to plan for 45-60 min for each. Many wineries have what is called a picnic license. This means you can bring your own food, purchase a bottle of wine and enjoy it in their picnic area. Other wineries may have a bistro where you can purchase a small cheese plate or sandwich.
Here are a few Winery Guides to get you started. Okanagan Wine Festival Guide, Niagara Discovery Pass map and the Westside Wine Trail. There are hundreds, if not thousands of wineries throughout Canada, and wine regions and trails all over. Check your local tourist board for wineries and wine trails near you.
#3 Virtual Wine Tasting Party
By now, many of you have gotten the hang of video calls, virtual happy hours and team meetings wearing pajama bottoms and dress shirts, but have you considered the Friday night wine tasting? Gather a few of your remote friends, send them all to the liquor store to pick-up a bottle of your favourite wine. Host a wine tasting telling a story about your favourite wine and maybe go over the tasting notes. Each week, a different person chooses a favourite wine. To add a little bit more, send out your favourite recipe for dinner and turn it into a virtual dinner party.
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