What exactly is this Online Wine Tasting Club?
The name pretty much sets out their stall. It's a wine offering that allows you to take part in wine tastings from the comfort of your own home - perfect for lockdown.
Who's behind it?
This is the brainchild of the team at Urban Craft Wines in Tring - a new winery and tasting room set up by sommelier and wine judge Jamie Smith and craft winemaker Alex Taylor.
The packaging looks cute...
Both cute and ecofriendly. Each tasting box features five mini Bag-in-Box which uses inert gas to stop oxygen damaging the wine's flavours. It's also around 95% recyclable and all the paper comes from sustainable forests.
How does it work?
You can join a one-off tasting, or take out membership and save on monthly tastings. Wines are delivered through your letterbox in clever packaging and then you can either join in tastings live, or watch them on YouTube whenever you want.
We had a go, taking in both their Discoverers and Adventurers levels. The first aims to gently push the boundaries of those of us who buy most of our wine in the supermarket. The latter is more for those who already pretty adventurous, but want to learn a bit more about regions or winemakers - it's actually based at the WSET level 2 where lesser-known grapes and regions feature.
Our box came with four whites and one red. The first two wines were from New Zealand - a Gruner Veltliner from Seifried Estate and a Merlot from Original Gimblett Gravels. The video that accompanied the tasting included interviews with the winemakers, taking in the vineyards themselves, really giving you a sense of the place. And there's always the option to do a live tasting where you can ask questions from the tasting hosts as you go along.
The final three were all English wines - Gravel Castle from Simpsons, Springfield from Hush Heath and a genuinely amazing 2015 vintage Bacchus which may be the nicest English white we've ever tasted.
If you're looking for a fun night in over the coming weeks of lockdown when we can't go out to drink, this comes highly recommended. You could do it on your own, taking part in a live event. But it would also be really easy for a group of friends to order in a tasting and then join up on zoom to go through it. We thought the wines were interesting and the tasting notes fun and lively without being too pretentious. Great fun.
More about the Online Wine Tasting Club
How much: Single tastings cost between £25 and £35. An individual six-month membership is currently just £120 and couple memberships are also available.
Hot Dinners received a tasting pack courtesy of Online Wine Tasting Club
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