In May 2013, I started a monthly virtual tasting series called Virginia Wine Chat to connect Virginia winemakers with online wine influencers from throughout the U.S.
For over four years winemakers have generously shared their time and wine with me and a group on wine enthusiasts online. It’s hard to believe we’ve completed 47 episodes of Virginia Wine Chat (see complete list of all past episodes here).
I’m grateful for the support of the Virginia wine community and online wine enthusiasts who gather monthly to connect, taste, and learn.
Because of this support, Virginia Wine Chat has grown considerably since that first informal Twitter tasting in early 2013. Dozens of local winemakers have shared their wine and stories with hundreds of participants.
A small measure of the growing popularity of these virtual monthly gatherings is the fact that the Virginia Wine Chat hashtag (#VaWineChat) usually trends #1, 2 or 3 on Twitter during the ‘chats (though the real measure is how the winemakers and participants connect following the ‘chats).
Though virtual tastings are not well-suited for all winemakers and wineries, there are some clear benefits to those who embrace the format: increased brand awareness and new (long-terms) connections with wine influencers.
From the beginning, my intention has been to expand Virginia Wine Chat to include video and audio interviews with winemakers and to expand the tastings to neighboring regions.
I’ve recorded one video and four audio interviews with notable Virginia winemakers for the Virginia Wine Chat Podcast but have not made time to properly edit.
I have however, made good on the intention of expanding the ‘chats to other eastern, U.S. regions.
The 49th episode of Virginia Wine Chat will take place this evening (Sunday, February 18, 7pm eastern time) featuring Chardonnays from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
The following wineries will be joining us online tonight to taste and Tweet about Chardonnay:
- Tarara Winery (Virginia), 2015 Chardonnay
- Bluestone Vineyards (Virginia), 2015 Chardonnay
- Old Westminster (Maryland), 2016 Home Vineyard Chardonnay
- Big Cork Vineyards (Maryland), 2016 Chardonnay
- Galer Estate (Pennsylvania), 2016 Red Lion Chardonnay
Please grab a bottle of your favorite Chardonnay from an eastern U.S. region and join the conversation tonight (Sunday, February 18, 7pm eastern time).
Consider joining us for these future ‘chats as well:
- March 2018: OFF (work travel)
- April 2018: 50th episode, Women of Wine
- May 2018: East Coast Roses (we’ll taste rose from four states)
- June 2018: Crisp Whites from Eastern U.S. wine regions
Check the Virginia Wine Chat page for updated schedule.
These virtual tastings will not be a ‘which wine or region is better’ type of tasting. Instead, the monthly virtual tastings will focus on educating online wine influencers about the oft-overlooked wines, winemakers, and wineries of eastern U.S. regions.
Since the monthly ‘chats are moving beyond Virginia, we clearly need a different name and hashtag. I’m considering East Coast Wine Chat (#ECWineChat) or Taste East Coast (#TasteECWine). I welcome other ideas.
I am keeping the Virginia Wine Chat name since I will (hopefully) soon be releasing the Virginia Wine Chat video and audio podcast series.
If your winery is located in the eastern, U.S. and would like to participate, please send me an email or connect with me via Twitter: @DrinkWhatULike. Or, if you know of a winery that should participate, please connect us.
(Note: I earn no income from Virginia Wine Chat or from the future East Coast wine chats. None at all. This is a labor in the name of learning. Overall, these ‘chats end up costing me money if I travel to the winery to interview winemakers. The only cost to a winery to participate is the wine shipped to online participants and your time to participate in the one hour ‘chat.)