California Wineries Bring Virtual Wine Experiences to Consumers
Details: [caption id="attachment_1470687" align="aligncenter" width="2560"] Virtual vineyard and winery tours, dinner-and-wine kits, video cooking demonstrations and more are being offered by California wineries. Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash.[/caption] SAN FRANCISCO — With winery tasting rooms temporarily closed due to California’s statewide shelter-in-place order, wine lovers are looking for new ways to connect with their favorite wineries without leaving home. Golden State winemakers have responded with a variety of fun, creative offerings to bring California wine country to consumers across the country. Along with putting innovative and educational twists on “virtual tastings,” many are now offering takeout dinners, meal kits, stay-at-home pantry boxes and more. Following are some of the unique offerings from California wineries across the state. To see all 80 virtual experiences, go to: Discover California Wines. Check back often as new experiences are being added daily. MEAL KITS, CARE PACKAGES & COOKING DEMOS On April 23, Stacey Combs, executive chef at Sonoma’s Ram’s Gate Winery, will lead a virtual cooking demonstration of Braised Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta. See here to register for the Zoom session and get an advance list of ingredients and wine pairing suggestions. On April 24, join Kendall-Jackson Winemaster Randy Ullom and Executive Chef Justin Wangler for an interactive virtual tasting (participants are invited to purchase the wines in advance) and cooking demonstration of recipes from the Sonoma County winery’s cookbook. Join Napa Valley’s Cakebread Cellars each week in April for live Cooking with Cakebread demonstrations on Facebook Live. Learn how to make comforting dishes like the winery chef’s Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Point Reyes Farmstead Toma Cheese, Pickled Golden Beet Slaw & Whole Grain Mustard. Clif Family Wines in the Napa Valley is offering Stay-at-Home-Pantry Kits featuring four different wines, plus Clif Family gourmet goodies including apple butter, barbecued nuts, porcini spice blend, and dark chocolate sea salt almonds. Tune in to Instagram Live and click on “Events” every Sunday for a live cooking demonstration with J Vineyards & Winery in Sonoma County, featuring the winery’s executive chef, Carl Shelton. Along with virtual tastings with cheese pairings each Wednesday via Zoom and Facebook Live, Le Vigne Winery in Paso Robles is shipping Shelter-in-Place Care Packages filled with wine, charcuterie, cheeses and crackers. Mendocino County’s Pennyroyal Farm is offering a Wine + Cheese Combo Pack for shipping across the U.S., featuring Pennyroyal’s own farmstead cheeses and wines. Join chefs Charlie Palmer and Scott Romano every Thursday on Instagram Live for the Pigs & Pinot Tutorial Series. Each week, the chefs host a live cooking demonstration with wine pairings from a rotating lineup of Sonoma County winemakers. Join Amelia and Dalia Ceja of Ceja Vineyards for Taco Tuesday, Vino y Más in Los Carneros in Napa, streaming on Facebook Live every Tuesday through May 12 at 6:30 p.m. PST to learn about classic and contemporary dishes and fun wine pairings. SEMINARS & VIRTUAL TASTINGS WITH A TWIST For virtual tastings that focus on specific wines, participants are invited to purchase the featured selections in advance so they can taste along. On April 21, Join Napa Valley’s Groth Vineyards & Winery for a Happy (Half) Hour Virtual Concert featuring Justin Diaz on Instagram Live. Sip wine while enjoying an uplifting 30-minute set of classic pop, rock, soul and blues. On April 24, join Napa Valley’s Alpha Omega for Final Final Friday on Instagram Live, when Winemaker Henrik Poulsen and Vineyard Manager Joel Antonio will recap the week in the cellar and vineyards. On April 24, Knights Bridge Winery in Calistoga will lead a Pairing Wines With Glassware session Facebook Live to show participants how a serving vessel’s shape and size can affect a wine’s taste. April 28, Merryvale Vineyards will host Tasty Tuesday, a virtual tour on Facebook Live of the winery’s Profile Estate Vineyard and a virtual tasting of the wines exclusively sourced from the vineyard site. On May 2, the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association is organizing a free Zoom seminar on the region’s history, terroir and wines. Moderated by local sommelier Corrina Strauss, the session will feature vintner Allan Green, wine writer Thom Elkjer and Evan Hufford, formerly of Single Thread Farm Restaurant. Ampelos Cellars in the Sta. Rita Hills is hosting educational virtual tastings on Zoom every Friday through April 24 that cover topics such as biodynamic farming, sustainable practices, vine anatomy, flowering, and harvest decisions. Belden Barns is hosting weekly Wine & Wishes virtual tastings that explore bottlings from the Sonoma County winery’s portfolio. Winemakers will explore how the wines’ flavors change when paired with random items from their pantry—from beans to peanut butter to boxed macaroni and cheese. Join DAOU Family Estates in Paso Robles for Instagram Live Happy Hour Fridays through April 25. Hosted by Katherine Daou, each virtual event features a particular wine and a special guest—such as DJ and music producer Morgan Page—announced the Monday before the session. El Dorado Wines presents El Dorado Edge virtual tastings each Monday evening on Facebook Live, with each episode taking an edgy dive into a different sub-region of the Sierra Foothills AVA (American Viticultural Area). Law Estate Wines in Paso Robles is offering interactive tastings on Facebook Live, Events, with winemaker Philip Pfunder every Friday through May 8. Each week he will provide a recipe to make at home and feature a local restaurant offering a take-out special that pairs perfectly with the featured wines. Each Wednesday via Instagram Live, Tablas Creek Vineyard provides an inside look into what is happening in the Paso Robles producer’s vineyard and winery through interviews with staff members and celebrities. Tolosa Winery in San Luis Obispo presents Technical Thursdays via Instagram Live or Facebook Live each week, where winemaker Frederic Delivert takes virtual guests to the vineyard and winery to explore their farming and production methods. Wednesdays through May 6, the winery will also host free Yoga Sessions with virtual vineyard views, finishing with a toast. Join Francis Ford Coppola Winery for its virtual tastings and educational series with winemaking, culinary and gardening experts every Friday at 5:30 pm PST through May 1. View on IGTV or Facebook. For updates on virtual events by region, see Anderson Valley Winegrowers, Mendocino Winegrowers, Sonoma Valley Wine, Sonoma Wine, Napa Valley Vintners, Visit Napa Valley, Lodi Wine, El Dorado Wines, Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association, Paso Robles Wine Country, San Luis Obispo Coast Wine, Santa Barbara Vintners and Temecula Wines. FOR LOCALS Ram’s Gate Winery in Los Carneros has launched Ram’s Gate in Your Kitchen, a food and wine pairing dinner kit delivery service for local delivery and pickup. Weekly-changing kits include a two-course menu featuring local produce and cheeses, with Ram’s Gate wines. Bricoleur Vineyards in Windsor, Sonoma County, is offering Quarantine Kitchen pasta kits with wine for pickup and local delivery, such as Black Pepper Strozzapreti Arrabiata with a bottle of Pinot Noir. Participants who pick up their wines for Broken Earth Winery's Inophile Virtual Tasting, weekly, through April, can also take home a grab-and-go meal prepared by the Paso Robles winery’s executive chef. Mendocino County’s Pennyroyal Farm is offering a Farm Box for pickup, filled with farmstead cheeses, free-range eggs, and fresh produce. Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the public policy advocacy group of 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses that initiates and advocates state, federal and international public policy to enhance the environment for the responsible production, consumption and enjoyment of wine. The organization works to enhance the economic and environmental vitality of the state through its leadership in sustainable winegrowing and a partnership with Visit California to showcase California’s wine and food offerings.