Wine tasting is a sensory and personal experience. Winemakers often share their secrets of winemaking, as well as their passion for the process with their guests. The setting can also have a dramatic impact on how your mind interprets this experience.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, all industries worldwide have been heavily affected, and the wine market hasn’t been spared. Although you can’t travel to a wine country of your choice, you can still see it through a virtual experience. 

Wine merchants have managed to stay in touch with their customers creatively, by transitioning from in-person tasting events to online offerings. While every virtual wine tasting experience promises a good time and plenty of information, some like Geographical Digest is truly one-of-a-kind.

If you are a beginner at attending virtual wine events, know that there is a lot to choose from. Some virtual tastings are free, others send wine to your doorstep as a part of the paid package, and some require that you buy the wines yourself. 

They also range from tours and courses for beginners to those intended for pro sommeliers. Participants can learn about winemaking techniques, how unique landscapes and soils affect wine’s flavor, and popular varietals of each specific region.

A selection of wines from across the globe to try.
Wines that were sampled in the first virtual wine education webinar at Geographical Digest. Photo by Geographical Digest.

What is Geographical Digest?

Some organizers went even further like The SOMM Journal by arranging their free international wine tasting series called Geographical Digest, organized in association with National Geographic and SommCon. The planned events, hosted virtually by winemakers worldwide, broadcast live and are available on-demand.

SommCon’s on-demand streaming platform called SommGo is set to host these educational and compelling series for wine lovers all over the world. In addition, participants will be able to purchase a collection of some of the wines for each panel through the BottleTribe before each event.

It’s worth mentioning that the corona-virus pandemic was not the only reason behind this innovative approach. It was also the launch of the highly anticipated New Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia by National Geographic Books. This new comprehensive edition of Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia has been fully updated and revised for the first time since 2011.

This comprehensive guide consists of information on flavor notes, vineyard profiles, grape know-how, a taste chart that can help identify flavors, unusual food pairings, experts reflecting about the most recent trends in the world of wine, and more.

It definitely is the most up-to-date wine reference in the world, as well as a must-have for anyone who wants to become a wine expert. The fact that is has been sold in over 700,000 copies worldwide only confirms that fact.

Its author, Tom Stevenson, has been writing about wine for more than 40 years. In addition to writing, he has also judged significant wine competitions and has been the chair and founder of The Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championship (CSWWC) since 2014.

  • Virtually taste the Angrove Shiraz from 2017.
  • The Schloss Johannisberg Silberlack Grosses Gewaechs Bottle.
  • The Agricola Punica Barrua wine bottle.
  • The Black Stallion limited release bottle.
  • The Bouvet Brut Rosé bottle.

“Unique Regions of the World” – The First of Many Series

The first Geographical Digest webinar, “Unique Regions of the World,” held on September 24, 2020, offered an antidote for wanderlust: a virtual tour to seven countries across four continents and two hemispheres. Eight winemakers from different parts of the planet showed off wines that leave no doubt of their provenance.

Among them was Juliette Monmousseau, who presented a bottle-fermented sparkler made from 100% Cabernet Franc. She is the CEO of Bouvet-Ladubay in the fertile Loire Valley, France.

Estate Manager/Managing Director, Stefan Doktor of Schloss Johannisberg presented a classic dry Riesling. They come from the Rheingau, a wine-growing region in Germany, where only Riesling has been cultivated for over 300 years. Winemaking Consultant Giorgio Marone of Agricola Punica presented the unique Carignano, from the windswept sandy soils of Sardinia’s southern coast.

On the other side of the world, in Napa Valley, California, the Director of Winemaking, Ralf Holdenried, introduced Black Stallion Estate Winery. Also, winemaker & Joint Managing Director Richard Angove, of the Angove Family Winemakers in Australia’s McLaren Vale dived into the deep purple hues of a single vineyard Shiraz.

Jorge Rosas from The House of Ramos Pinto
Jorge Rosas from The House of Ramos Pinto. Photo by Geographical Digest.

How Can You Join the Series?

Although the series has already started, the best is yet to come. Panels will be held once a month, and the plan is that the series last till May 2021. Wine enthusiasts will have a chance to find out is the production or nature responsible for some excellent wines, learn about the exploration of renowned single vineyards, as well as about Bordeaux Blends.

As Ernest Hemingway said, wine “offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.” If there has ever been the moment you shouldn’t deprive yourself of small things that make you happy, it’s now.

Join the series for free here: https://www.sommjournal.com/wine-education-webinar-series/, pour the glass of wine and learn everything you want to know, “one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection.”

Besides, you can also purchase the wine that will be presented in the virtual wine tasting series here: https://www.bottletribe.com/geographical-digest/. That way, you can complete this unusual experience and sip unique wines while you virtually travel to different countries and listen to experts talk about their craft.

Author Bio: Marija Stojanovic Petkovski is a writer based in Serbia in Europe. Marija worked as a journalist but realized writing about the most beautiful places in the world is something that inspires her. She is sure that a pint of good craft beer perfectly accompanies a tasty home-made lasagne. In her spare time, she enjoys playing with her children and spending time outdoors with her family.

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