Not only has remote working become the norm for so many workers worldwide, but the virtual trend has also touched the wine industry, with virtual tasting rising in popularity. For wineries who do it well, it can expand their market reach while at the same time offering customers an opportunity to engage in tasting experiences they wouldn’t ordinarily have easy access to.
One winery in particular who operates an impactful virtual tasting program is Opolo Vineyards in Paso Robles, CA. For those lucky enough to live nearby or have the opportunity to visit the area, Opolo is one to put on the itinerary. The tasting room is bright and modern, and a large patio overlooking the vineyards is a great way to enjoy the wine and a piping hot pizza fresh from the oven.
However, if you are unable to visit the winery, you can still enjoy Opolo through a comfortable, cozy home tasting experience facilitated by a winery ambassador.
You have the option to order one of two tasting kit sizes. Both kits offer five varietals, and one is for either an individual or couple and provides five 187 ml bottles (equivalent to approximately 1/4 of a regular size bottle). The other includes five full size 750 ml bottles, ideal for a group tasting. There is actually a third option as well, which is the small kit, and it also includes a full size of the Reserve Zinfandel.
Because there was just three of us, I ordered the small kit with the full size bottle that we could enjoy later with dinner. I was delighted by the presentation of the wine. The box contained a row of five adorably small wine bottles with printed wine labels, along with tasting notes. I have done several virtual tastings where the wine is in simple glass bottles with either a hand-written label, or the name of the wine written directly on the bottle with a marker. So this was impressive in comparison.
We set up a laptop on my parents’ dining table, lined up the small bottles according to the tasting order, and had some crackers and water available. With tasting notes in hand, we clicked on the Zoom link we had received, and we were immediately connected to our winery ambassador, Heather.
Despite the laptop screen serving as a separation between us and Heather, it was quickly forgotten as she walked us through each of the wines, and artfully inserted stories and the history of the winery in between each wine. I particularly appreciated that the tasting was fully dedicated to the three of us and we could freely interact, ask questions, and have a personalized experience, just as though we had bellied up to a tasting bar. Heather’s personable, high energy presentation made her the perfect host for the event.
The small kit was ideal, with each of us getting a standard 2 oz pour of each wine, which is a typical tasting at most wineries. Our line-up consisted of the following:
Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I would recommend this activity for celebrating a special occasion with family or friends, adding a fun twist to entertaining, or simply enjoying a quiet evening at home.