In 2000, Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, who wrote the highly acclaimed ‘Tastings’ column in The Wall Street Journal (from 1998 to 2010), created Open That Bottle Night (OTBN), a global ‘celebration of friends, family and memories during which all of us finally drink that wine that is otherwise simply too special to open.’

Celebrated on the last Saturday of February every year, OTBN has grown into one of the most popular annual occurrences among wine enthusiasts (beyond trade).  Thousands of wine enthusiasts around the world participate, many of them sharing photos of their wines, food and gatherings online.

In the name of social distancing but staying connected with the community of local wine lovers, I’m borrowing Dorothy and John’s OTBN and modifying slightly for a day dedicated to drinking Virginia wine.  

Saturday, March 28, 2020, is Open That Bottle of Virginia Wine Night.

This is not a marketing event, just an evening to encourage wine enthusiasts to open and enjoy a bottle of Virginian wine.   An evening to taste local bounty and appreciate the work of local farmers, winemakers, vineyard crews, tasting rooms staff and others.  Maybe a brief respite from news of the spread of the virus.

EVERYONE is encouraged to participate — wine newbies, serious wine enthusiasts, winemakers, tasting room staff, writers, and even Patriots fans.  

If you’ve been holding on to that special bottle of Virginian wine, consider pulling the cork or twisting the top on Saturday evening (March 28).  

If you don’t have a special bottle of Virginia wine that you’ve been holding on to, NOW is a great time to purchase a bottle from one of the many wineries offering specials like discounted bundles and free shipping.  (Lenn at Cork Report is maintaining a list of wineries currently offering specials.)

Joining Open that Bottle of Virginia Wine Night is easy:

  1. Select a bottle of Virginia wine (or cider) and open on Saturday, March 28.  Pair with a nice meal with family.
  2. Post picture(s) online — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.  Share why you selected that particular bottle. Share a story about the wine and/or who you shared the bottle with.  
  3. Enjoy the wine and your time with family, making memories.

If you do post a picture for Open That Bottle of Virginia Wine Night on March 28, please tag the winery and me on Facebook, Twitter (@DrinkWhatULike) and/or Instagram (DrinkWhatYouLike).  Please use #VaWineNight hashtag for social media posts.  

Maybe a few of us will get together online for a few minutes on Saturday (March 28) to ‘chat about the wines we selected.

UPDATE for those who live in other states:  Lenn Thompson and Gina Shay of The Cork Report have organized a Drink Local Night, details here.

If you missed our live Virtual Virginia Wine Chats with local cider and winemakers, each video is available for replay here:

Join us for upcoming Virtual Virginia Wine Chats — schedule here.

Stay well, friends!