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Enjoying Wine and Beer in the Augusta GA area

Let’s Raise A Glass To Virtual Wine Tastings

Matt and Steve Sherwin conduct a virtual tasting.

Even as some businesses open and try to bring back some semblance of normal, it’s a safe bet that you won’t be able to attend live wine tastings for a long time.

Liquor stores and wine shops have remained open, and wine has always been available at grocery stores throughout the corona virus pandemic. But because of social distancing rules, no one has been able to organize an in-person wine tasting.

But wine lovers should not despair. There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy wine tastings online so you can observe safe social distancing.

Many wineries around the country are doing all sorts of online tastings, but such tastings are available locally, too.

At Cork & Flame, for instance they will organize a personalized tasting of 4-6 wines based on your preferences. Tell them what you like and they will put together the wine, tasting notes and pairing notes for you to take home. If you buy six bottles you get five percent off, and 10 percent off on 12 bottles.

Cork & Flame even will toss in a certificate good for a free wine tasting when the social distancing rules are lifted. Before the corona virus hit Cork & Flame had wine tastings every Friday and Saturday night. Call 706-922-9463.

At Bodega Ultima
creative proprietor Cary Goldsmith has been offering curbside service on breakfast, lunch and dinner. When you order you can ask for a bottle of wine to go with your meal. Now he is offering wine tastings and a Zoom wine dinner.

For the Le Morette Meet The Winemaker tasting you get three bottles of wine for $50 plus a link to a video interview with the wine maker. You also get a tasting sheet with information about the wines and the region. The winery is near Lake Garda in northern Italy.

Another wine tasting will be with Stephen James from Uva Imports and Phil Stice and Lara Whitely from Specialty Wines to learn about these three select Italian wines. This tasting also costs $50.

Goldsmith also hosted a wine dinner featuring three courses and three bottles of wine from Flanagan Wines for $125.

To get the wine tastings call 706-426-6661.

Matt Sherwin demonstrates how to open a bottle that has been dipped in wax.


Creative minds at many wineries are setting up all kinds of opportunities for you to try wine or just learn about the wine from the winemakers. As tasting rooms have closed, on site wine sales have shriveled up, and many wineries are looking for ways to replace those sales. Other wineries are just trying to stay in touch with potential customers.

You can find many great deals on wine shipped from wineries, including free or reduced shipping. Some are offering a more exclusive, curated experience and some are offering wines you can’t find in retail stores. If you don’t see your favorite wine on the following list, just go to their website and see if they are offering anything special. All times in the list below are EDT.

Cellar Pass offers links to 27 virtual tastings. By going to cellarpass.com you can make reservations for virtual tastings at all the listed wineries.

Kathleen Inman leads virtual tasting of Inman Family Wines.

Inman Family Wines offers a flexible schedule with its series of Zoom tastings called Meet the Maker Happy Hours. You pick one or more of their three-packs of wine (with five percent going to Meals on Wheels). The wines include various combinations of pinot noir, rosé, chardonnay and sparkling wines. You receive a follow-up email with dates to choose from and instructions about joining the free online tasting with owner and winemaker Kathleen Inman. Contact the winery at 707-293-9576

Hope Family Wines offers a free virtual tasting when you buy their wine. To arrange a tasting call them at 805-238-4112 and ask for Tara. She will discuss their wines, which include Austin Hope, Treana, Quest, Liberty School and Troublemaker, and take your order, usually 4-6 wines. Shipping is only one cent. She will schedule a Zoom tasting for you and any of your friends who want to order the same wines. They recently had 25 connections on a Zoom tasting.

Far Niente has a new, customizable “Hosted at Home” subscription club that includes all five brands owned by the winery: Far Niente, Nickel & Nickel, EnRoute, Bella Union and Dolce. The first shipment from the club includes a complimentary private virtual tasting. For every wine club sign-up Far Niente will donate $50, split between the Napa Valley Food Bank and the national Restaurant Workers Covid-Crisis Relief Fund.

The Prisoner Wine Company has crafted videos and recipes for wine lovers at home, which are being released weekly on their website, on Instagram and on Facebook, with each video being archived. The winery is known for non-traditional blends.

Virtual tastings allow wineries to show off their vineyards.


Robert Mondavi Winery is releasing videos on their website covering wine tastings, recipes and pairings.

Aperture Cellars has created a “Dining In” series, working with famous chefs. The current release is two dining kits in partnership with Chef Dustin Valette, which includes deluxe multi-course dinners and wine pairings shipped to your door. A portion of each dinner package payment will be donated to the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund.

Larkmead Vineyards is celebrating its 125th anniversary by offering virtual tastings for its members. You can become a member by signing up for one of their three levels, which deliver from 10 to 36 bottles of wine each year.

Hamel Family Wines offers virtual private tastings to members of the Badger Clan Wine Club, which has three membership options. Their estate vineyards are farmed organically and biodynamically.

Charles Krug, the oldest winery in Napa Valley, has a variety of membership levels that offer curated shipments of winery-only wines. Krug is currently donating to the United Sommeliers Foundation all the proceeds of its $50 limited edition historic redwood wine key.

Wine Spectator magazine is presenting “Straight Talk with Wine Spectator” on Instagram Live every Tuesday and Thursday at 7 p.m.

Merry Edwards Winery and Vineyards hosts Merry Hour, their version of happy hour, every other Friday at 7 p.m. The next event is May 29, dedicated to Merry Edwards library wines. Summer whites will be discussed June 5 and Klopp Ranch in the Russian River Valley will be the topic on June 19. To get the Zoom link for the event send an email to korina@merryedwards.com with the date of the event you are interested in.

Winesellers, which imports and markets imported wines in the United States, is presenting virtual wine tastings with their winemakers, owners and other winery notables on Facebook Live every Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m. From the winery’s Facebook page, each speaker will provide a brief overview of the winery, taste 2-4 wines and then field questions via the chat function.

Justin Winery has held several virtual tastings and they can create one for anyone. You go to their website and fill out the form under “visit.” Their sommelier Jim Gerakaris will create a tasting experience based on what you want. He can do a tasting with wines in your cellar, or select wines they will ship to you. Each tasting should take 30-45 minutes.

Willamette Valley Vineyards offers a free virtual tasting with a mixed case purchase, which also receives a 20 percent discount through May 31. The customer and the winery choose up to four of the wines which Wende Bennette-Kirkland, Senior Winery Ambassador, will discuss with you. You can make it a socially-distant party with friends by inviting them to purchase the wines and join the tasting as well.  They also have several cooking videos on their website, showing how to make some tasty dishes to pair with their wines. They also offer complimentary shipping on orders of more than $150.

Alexander Valley Vineyards: Katie Wetzel Murphy, wine ambassador and family partner, has been hosting virtual tastings on Facebook at 7 p.m. on Thursdays.  Each week features a different theme. 

Winderlea Vineyards and Winery is celebrating Oregon wine month by putting together a package of six wines for $169. Each package includes a complimentary tasting with a certified Winderlea Tasting Room Ambassador and one of their favorite recipes from the Winderlea Test Kitchen. After you buy the package the winery will call to schedule the virtual tasting.

From the Napa Valley Neighbors tasting, clockwise from upper left, Andrea Robinson, Cyril Chappellet, Rich Frank, Jim Regusci.

Frank Family Wines Vineyards broadcasts live tastings on Zoom every Saturday at 5 p.m. Members of the Frank Family team exchange stories, tasting tidbits and friendly banter as they talk about their wines. Frank Family joined Regusci Winery and Chappellet Vineyard to host a Zoom tasting that saw 400 people join.

The wineries are geographically close, so they called it a Napa Neighbors tasting. The owner of each winery talked about his wines in a discussion moderated by Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson.

The next Frank Family Tasting will be May 30 when Winemaker Todd Graff and director of hospitality Liam Gearity will discuss aged wine, including what makes a wine age-worthy and how to determine a wine’s optimal aging time. They will taste three vintages of Frank Family’s signature wine, Rutherford Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. They also will discuss the Coravin wine preservation system, which is an optional add on to the tasting package.

From the Napa Neighbors tastings, the principals with their spouses.


Chappellet Vineyard calls their virtual tastings Thursday Tastings With Cyril. The next one is 7:30 p.m. May 28 featuring CEO Cyril Chappellet and winemaker Phillip Corallo-Titus discussing how a wine will age. They will taste four vintages of their Signature Cabernet Sauvignon dating back to 2000. You can sign up for this and future tastings at their website.

The Boisset Collection offers happy hours with Jean-Charles Boisset every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9 p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m. You can watch live on Facebook Live or see previous shows on YouTube.

Customers can set up appointments with winemakers, tasting room managers and wine club managers from Raymond Vineyards, Buena Vista Winery, DeLoach Vineyards, JCB Collection and Wattle Creek Winery by calling 707-967-7667 for private virtual tastings.

Other broadcasts include Wine Styles with Jean-Charles Boisset every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at 7 p.m., Taste of History with the Count of Buena Vista Winery every Wednesday and Friday at 3 p.m., Meet Raymond Vineyards’ Winemakers every Wednesday at 4 p.m. and DeLoach Discussions every Thursday at 8 p.m.

The Hess Collection is offering Hess Happy Hour every other Thursday at 7 p.m. on Facebook Live. The topic May 28 is food and wine pairing at home. On June 11 it will be all things Napa Valley.

Stoller Vineyards offers tastings, cooking demos and live concerts on its Stoller Wine Group YouTube channel. Past shows are archived on YouTube.

Elk Cove Vineyards has been offering Wine Wednesday Happy Hour at 7 p.m. on Zoom. Contact the winery online to get the link for joining the Zoom meeting.

Another vineyard view from a virtual tasting.


Benziger Family Winery hosts Wine Wednesdays every Wednesday at 7 p.m. on Instagram Live with Chris Benziger and Jamie Benziger.

Lenné Estate has been hosting virtual tastings on Instagram Live at 8:30 p.m. Saturdays. Go to the Virtual Tastings article on their website for information on how to watch upcoming shows and see past shows on YouTube. Any order of $500 includes a private virtual tasting with their winemaker or lead wine educator. 

Tablas Creek Vineyard has offered broadcasts on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for several weeks. New content is added to all three channels every week. Check their website for topics and schedule. They also have two virtual tasting packs, one with four 750 ml bottles ($230) and one with four 375 ml bottles ($110) that include a virtual tasting. The packages include two Tablas Creek logo glasses.

Robert Biale Vineyards
presents Biale Happy Hour on weekly Facebook Live sessions at 6:30 on Fridays. They also offer virtual tastings Tuesday through Saturday at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. To schedule a tasting email tastingroom@biale.com.

Sans Liege has hosted several virtual tastings. The next one is Saturday, May 30 at 5 p.m. when they will taste 2019 Grenache Blanc, 2018 Grenache and 2018 Syrah from Groundwork. The wines can be ordered from their website, and if you order six bottles, shipping is half off.

Priest Ranch offers a couple of kits for private or group tastings. Each kit contains three bottles of wine. Check their website for details.

Papapietro Perry Winery has four virtual tastings in which winery hosts will lead you through a curated selection of wines, primarily focused on pinot noir. They also offer two broadcasts weekly on Facebook and YouTube. Winemaker Ben Papapietro and wine club manager taste wines from the cellar at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays. They return at 7 p.m. on Thursdays to share two current release wines.

Partially full bottles left after a weekend of virtual tastings.

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