If you’d asked a group of wine lovers a couple of weeks ago whether they’d spend their Friday evening participating in virtual wine experiences, they no doubt would have laughed and found the idea rather ridiculous. Who would trade in sharing a couple glasses (or bottles) of wine with friends for their device screen?
With coronavirus spreading across the globe, we now find ourselves living in a time where changing our mindsets, being creative and supporting each other has never been more important. South Africa entered its 21-day lockdown on 27 March leaving its residents, and many others around the world, clinking their wine glasses against their phone screens or laptop keyboards as they joined in on the new norm – virtual wine experiences.
Get comfy, grab your favourite bottle of wine and pour yourself a glass as you join one of these South African virtual wine experiences over the coming weeks. While some of the winery’s experiences are centred around you tasting through their wines, it’s the experience of joining the wine community and learning about South African wines that’s the fun part, no matter what’s in your glass.
Situated in the exquisite Simonsberg Mountains, Vilafonté is home to some of the world’s oldest soil types that encourages smaller vines, lower yields and highly concentrated fruit – the perfect combination for their Bordeux varietals.
When: 30 March 2020 – 18:00 – 19:00 CAT
What: Join Vilafonte on Zoom for a live wine tasting co-hosted by Dan Nicholl (Dan Really Likes Wine), Greg Sherwood (London-based Master of Wine) and Bertus Basson (South African 2020 Chef of the Year).
Zoom: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/9559536000 | Meeting ID: 955 953 6000
*In case you missed their first live wine tasting, keep an eye on their social media as they release more upcoming dates.
One of South Africa’s few biodynamic farms, Waterkloof is known for their minimal intervention wines that express the terroir of their unique site, Schapenberg, in Somerset West. Grounded in the belief that great wine is made in the vineyards, Waterkloof puts a lot of love into their farming, a sure reflection in their incredible wines.
When: 3 March 2020 – 16:30 CAT
What: Join Waterkloof on their social media pages for a virtual wine tasting. Learn about their farming practices and what exactly goes into making their wines.
*Keep an eye on their social media as they release more upcoming dates.
With arguably one of the most beautiful views of Table Mountain on a clear day, De Grendel has been growing grapes for 20 years. Cellar master and winemaker, Charles Hopkins, meticulously balances art and science in producing the estate’s wines.
When: Until further notice
What: Over the next few weeks, De Grendel will be running their ‘Together with Wine’ campaign. Winemaker, Charles, will be doing live wine tastings on Facebook introducing their wines, their flavour profiles, and maybe even sharing a winemaking secret or two.
*Keep an eye on their Facebook page for their live wine tastings.
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Located in the beautiful Franschhoek Valley, Holden Manz is all about attention to detail. Using small tanks, small-batch fermentations and an open-plan barrel cellar ensures that winemaker Thierry always has his finger on the pulse to produce impecable wines.
When: To be confirmed
What: Join owner, Gerard Holden (aka Big G), as he hosts a virtual tasting talking you through a box of wines that he has hand-selected which will also be available for purchase online. Interact as he answers questions about the farm, the wine and what it takes to run a winery.
*Keep an eye on their Facebook page for the date.
A family wine venture in Malmesbury, Argentinian-born owner Billy Hughes and his daughter are all about sustainable farming and growing adventurous grape varieties to create delicious and interesting blends.
When: 1 April 2020 – 18:00 CAT
What: Join Nativo winemaker, Lieze Norval, and ‘Young wine writer of the year’, Raphaela van Embden for a live wine tasting on Instagram. They’ll be going through the label’s new releases and chatting all things wine. Jump in for an interactive experience and to get any burning wine questions answered.
*Keep an eye on their Instagram page for more upcoming live tastings.
Black Elephant Vintners
The “misfits of the wine industry, rebels of the vine”, Black Elephant Vintners is no stranger to challenging the norm and creating unique experiences. Known for their music and wine pairing, these guys break all wine tasting traditions (in style, of course).
What: In true BE style, the guys behind the wines have put together a Spotify playlist with 21 songs for 21 days. Pour yourself a glass of wine, sit back and browse their playlist for the perfect song pairing.
The brainchild of Ryan Mostert and Samantha Suddons, Terracura embraces minimalist intervention at its finest. Sourcing fruit from 5 Swartland and 2 Paardeberg vineyards, their Syrah and White Blend are a must-try for any wine lover.
When: 31 March 2020 – 19:00 CAT
What: Join Samantha Suddon (@Vinevenom) and Boschkloof winemaker, Reenen Borman, to hear all about their 2020 harvests, Reenen’s own wine venture and other incredible wine stories. They’ll also be tasting their way through some upcoming releases and a couple of 2020s cellar samples.
*Keep an eye on Samantha’s Instagram page as she releases her next IG Live dates.
Simonsig Wine Estate
A family-owned farm in the beautiful Stellenbosch wine region, Simonsig was the first producer of Methode Cap Classique, South Africa’s sparkling wine made in traditional French method.
When: Every Wednesday – 11:00 CAT
What: Tune into the Simonsig Wine Estate IGTV channel for a virtual tasting hosted by brand ambassador and resident sommelier, Denzel Swarts.
Situated in the breathtaking Breede River Valley known in the wine industry for its unique terroir (similar to that of Champagne, France), Graham Beck produces a wide range of Methode Cap Classiques (MCCs). Most of their fruit is harvested on their estate where 2 classic varieties are grown, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
When: 3 April 2020
What: Tune into their Facebook or Instagram pages for a virtual tasting and talking all things sparkling wine.
*Keep an eye on their Facebook page for more upcoming live tastings.
What looks like a little piece of Italy in the heart of Stellenbosch, Waterford Estate has strong focus on sustainability in producing their award-winning wines. From 4×4 wine safaris to hikes and walks on their Porcupine Trail, the winery explores all senses.
When: 1 April 2020
What: With the launch of The Waterford Estate The Jem 2015 on 1 April, the spotlight will be on celebrating this incredible wine. Join cellar master and managing partner, Kevin Arnold, as he shares the story behind The Gem and a live tasting conducted by winemaker, Mark Le Roux.
*Keep an eye on their Instagram page to find out more.
The second oldest family-owned wine farm in South Africa, Deetlefs can be found at the foot of the Du Toitskloof Mountains in the Breedekloof Valley. Their slow-ripening vines see them producing a wide range of wines from Pinotage and Malbec to Semillon and MCC.
When: 27 March – 16 April 2020
What: During South Africa’s 21-day lockdown, Deetlefs is offering a free, private wine tasting to the public. Learn all about this incredible winery and the stories behind their wines in this fun and interactive virtual wine experience. If you’re interested, pop an email to [email protected] to arrange a time.
As the lockdown days go by, we’ll keep our list updated with the latest and greatest that we’d hate for you to miss. So what are you waiting for? Grab that bottle of wine, pour yourself a glass and join in on one (or all) of these virtual wine experiences.