Cheers, to virtual wine tastings

NSW wineries offer virtual wine tastings amid COVID-19 restrictions

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Ed and Dave Swift, owners of Printhie Wines, are among the growing number of wineries who are offering virtual wine tasting sessions. Photo: Printhie Wines

Ed and Dave Swift, owners of Printhie Wines, are among the growing number of wineries who are offering virtual wine tasting sessions. Photo: Printhie Wines

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Wineries are now providing the cellar door tasting experience from the safety of people's homes through social media.

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Friday afternoon drinks is taking on a whole different meaning in self-isolation.

Wineries are now providing the cellar door tasting experience from the safety of people's homes through social media.

Wine connoisseurs can even ask questions about the terroir of the wine as if they are sitting on the other side of the tasting bench.

With drought, smoke taint from bushfires and COVID-19, NSW Wine Industry Association executive officer Angus Barnes said of the 380 cellar doors in NSW, only 50 per cent were physically opened for takeaways.

So he said NSW wineries had to be creative in how they sold their product and had spent the time upgrading websites and customer relationships management.

Many have taken to social media to do virtual wine tastings where consumers can pre-order the pack before the online cellar door experience while others have created hashtags with incentive.

"The direct consumer model will be legacy of this, we will get better with our correspondence, it will be the industries most profitable channel," Mr Barnes said.

He said many NSW wineries had even relocated wine resources into making hand sanitiser.

Other incentives include offering free freight or reducing the minimum purchase from a case to a bottle.

"There have also been collaborations with wineries and gin companies to make smoke tainted grape gin," he said.

"We should now start to plan for a massive resurgence in domestic wine tourism and visitations when the restrictions are eased as people will be desperate to get out and see the country.

"And where better than in our backyard supporting NSW tourism and the businesses that support it."

Printhie Wines

Printhie Wines at Molong, run by brothers Dave and Ed Swift, are among the growing number of wineries who are offering virtual wine tasting sessions in response to the COVID-19 restrictions.

They made the decision not to pick their grapes this year with the presence of smoke taint in their vineyards from the devastating bushfire season.

So to adapt to the changing world, they have started to host weekly virtual wine tasting sessions on their Facebook and Instagram accounts @printhiewines.

"For our business to remain viable we need to adapt to the evolving COVID-19 situation and find ways to reach our customers," owner Ed Swift said.

"You can't expect to keep operating in the same manner at a time like this, so we want to transfer our face to face cellar door experience to a 'safe' online experience."

Mr Swift said a schedule of wines that they are going to taste would be loaded onto their socials, which would then give customers an opportunity to order the wine in advance so they can watch the tasting and interact in real time.

"We're certainly not used to being in front of the camera but we're really keen to share our passion for wine and perhaps provide a distraction while social distancing at home," David Swift added.

Join Keith Tulloch in his series 'At home with Keith', a virtual wine tasting experience on social media every Friday. Photo: Keith Tulloch Wines

Join Keith Tulloch in his series 'At home with Keith', a virtual wine tasting experience on social media every Friday. Photo: Keith Tulloch Wines

Keith Tulloch Wine

Join Keith Tulloch in his series "At home with Keith', a virtual wine tasting experience that takes wine lovers through their latest releases every Friday afternoon.

"These videos are a great way for us to connect to all of our customers, safely, in the isolation and comfort of their own home," Mr Tulloch says.

Keith Tulloch Wines in the Hunter Valley is a small family owned and operated businesses who wanted to continue to be 'completely authentic in the way" that they interacted with customers.

"Given that tourism has taken such a hit from first the bushfires and now this current economic situation - it is so vital that we; like so many other small businesses, adapt and maintain our personal connection," Mr Tulloch said.

Brokenwood Wines have created the #brokenwoodbunkers to boost their profile. Pictured is senior winemaker Stuart Hordern. Photo: Brokenwood Wines

Brokenwood Wines have created the #brokenwoodbunkers to boost their profile. Pictured is senior winemaker Stuart Hordern. Photo: Brokenwood Wines

Brokenwood Wines

For a bit of fun online, Brokenwood Wines are pushing their audience to get creative and show them their #brokenwoodbunkers at home through posting photos on social media.

Each video or photo will receive $20 off their next online order.

They are also running virtual tastings every Wednesday night at 6pm where the tastings are uploaded to Brokenwood's Instagram and Facebook accounts as well as their website.

The story Cheers, to virtual wine tastings first appeared on The Land.

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