This Experience Brings Wine and Faraway Friends Together

Looking for a way to connect with far-flung family and friends, to have fun with them just as you would if you were in the same room? There’s a new wine experience available to you that you might want to check out.

It’s called Sommsation, and it’s a virtual wine tasting with a private sommelier that is informative, fun, and inclusive of anyone with access to Zoom. I had the chance to try it out, and we all had a great Friday night together, without anyone leaving their home.

Here’s how it works

The process is fairly simple. As the host for my party, I visited the website and picked a set of three bottles of wine that intrigued me. There are literally hundreds to choose from, both red and white, of every varietal you can imagine, and the Sommsation team is available to help you narrow down your choices or answer questions about any of the wines. 

Then I invited my friends and family members. They were all excited about the prospect of drinking wine together from afar, and we settled on a date that worked for everyone. They provided their email addresses and actual addresses, so the wine could be shipped directly to their front doors. Each home would receive the three bottles I had selected, so we would all sample the same wines at our tasting. 

A week before our scheduled date, we all received emails telling us when our wine would arrive, and the excitement grew. Everyone shared their plans of charcuterie boards and appetizers for the big night. Some invited another couple to their house to join in the fun.

Two days before our tasting, we all received our Zoom invitations, detailed information about the wines we would be drinking, and chilling and pairing instructions. We also got information about our personal sommelier, Elyse, who would be leading our tasting.  Then the day finally arrived!

At the designated time, we all Zoomed in, and as each face filled the screen, we greeted each other with excitement. It was wonderful to see people we loved and hadn’t seen for a long time, all together on one screen. We showed off our food displays and jumped right in. Our sommelier was personable, highly knowledgeable, and down to earth. She made everyone comfortable, encouraging questions and discussions and laughing along with us.

As we tried each wine, she offered information about the winemaker, sipping pointers, little known facts, and questions to make us think. It was perfect for people like us who enjoy wine and are intrigued by its complexity. I can’t count how many wine tastings I’ve done in my lifetime, yet this sommelier provided information I had never heard in my life. Did you know you can tell the perfect pour just by looking at the glass? According to Elyse, pour to just below the widest point of the glass, and you’ll get it right every time. My wine-aficionado friends were impressed, and all commented on how much they learned. 

And the wine itself was magnificent. We tasted vintages from a boutique winery out of Washington – a trio I picked because I’m unfamiliar with Washington wineries. I loved the blends of varietals, and even the white wine-drinkers commented on how good they were. Elyse drew our attention to the labels and entertained us with stories about their origin. And all the while, we enjoyed our truly great wine. 

Time zones and miles are not an issue when you meet via Zoom, and it thrilled me to see my Atlanta-based son and his girlfriend, and their friends, laughing and smiling while sipping wine with us. And I can see the potential for other ways to enjoy Sommsation, including corporate events and team building. The benefit, of course, is the ability to have a full, personalized wine-tasting experience with your own personal sommelier. To be able to do this with anyone you like, no matter where they live, made this wine experience priceless.  

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Rebecca Deurlein

REBECCA DEURLEIN IS A FREELANCE WRITER AND THE AUTHOR OF TEENAGERS 101: WHAT A TOP TEACHER WISHES YOU KNEW ABOUT HELPING YOUR KID SUCCEED (HARPER COLLINS). REBECCA WRITES FOR LOCAL AND NATIONAL MAGAZINES AND NEWSPAPERS AND LOVES EVERY MINUTE OF LIVING IN SUGAR LAND, TX. FIND HER ON AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE, HUFFINGTON POST, OR THROUGH HER OWN BLOG A TEACHER’S GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING TEENAGERS. got