New Normal

Wineries have been offering guests wine tastings for decades as part of a marketing activity.

The marketing term: liquid to lips.

In a category where choice is elaborate and quality cues are misleading, consumers do tend to purchase wines with greater ease of mind post a wine tasting . But even this, (a wine tasting) can be misleading.  Consumers engaging in wine tastings at the brands’ home are often overwhelmed by the romantics of the winelands, the stylish beauty of taste rooms, the emotional connect with their company, and prestige setting with designer wine glasses and wines served at just the right temperature.

A bit like the dating game.

It is only reasonable that a winery would go to every extent possible to present their product to a consumer in the best possible way.

Wine, much like art is open to personal preference and interpretation, and to be fair, no art gallery would ever present a piece of art in pour light or in a space unjust. Sadly the reality remains that the particular art piece may be beautiful on display in the gallery, not unfitting for a small residential dwelling with poor light.

Likewise many of the wineland-smitten consumers are faced with equal disappointment when opening a bottle of wine at home, without the romantics and theatrics.

Wine is a cognitive process, just like art.

The environment, the glasses used, ambiance, the company and stress levels all influence the tasting experience.

Consumers experience the full package,  purchase wine and are surprised when the wines “taste” different at a later occasion when the wine may be served too cold, or not cold enough. The wine glass used at home lacks the beneficial design a glass such as Riedel would give to a wine and the memory of the “taste” is tainted with travel withdrawal.

To many a wine opened at home without the company of friends and loved ones but rather back with pressure of daily routine, falls short in reality when compared to a memory.

Virtual wine tastings on the contrary removes all the emotion and theatrics from wine tastings. Consumers “zoom” into a virtual session, but taste the wines in the exact same setting as which they will be consuming it. The same glasses used for regular drinking are now tasting glasses. The “room” temperature is the same room in which the second bottle will be opened. The wine is tasted in a very small group if any group at all, reducing the effect of social connect.

During a virtual tasting, the wines are tasted in the exact same setting and ambience.

The national lockdown forced the hand of the wine industry to turn to technology to continue serving consumers and may have triggered a positive change, likely here to stay.