If you could use a few wine diversions to replace the boring repetition of home improvement projects, honey-do’s and sock drawer organizing that has consumed your existence during the Coronavirus lockdown – this list is for you. Whether you are a novice or serious collector, these wine diversions should help make time at home more enjoyable and productive.
1. Take Online Classes
There are plenty of online wine and spirits classes available to fit most any interest. Top wine educators Napa Valley Wine Academy offer courses that focus on various wine-producing regions, help prepare for Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) professional certifications, and also provide Scotch and Bourbon certifications. Even if you don’t intend to become a wine industry professional, these courses can be fun and informative.
2. Inventory And Organize Your Cellar
Whether your wine cellar is little more than a 12 bottle rack in the bottom of a hallway closet or an underground cave holding 1,000 bottles, this might be a good time to go through your collection and take inventory of what you have. You may rediscover a long-forgotten gem or come across a wine that has reached its peak and should be drunk before it turns.
If you plan to cellar more than a few bottles, consider using a cellar management system such as CellarTracker. CellarTracker basic is free, but for about $40 you can share your tasting notes with other CT users and you can see theirs. You can also sign up with several wine professionals who offer their tasting notes for a fee. Having a database that captures useful information such as tasting notes, current inventory, purchase/current value and when best to drink each bottle can be fun and you may be surprised at the value of your cellar. Available in desktop, iPhone and Android.
3. Shop For Wine Deals
Local tasting rooms may have temporarily closed and trips to your preferred wine region may not be possible, but most wineries, distributors and retailers still need to move inventory and make space for a new vintage. If wine shops are open in your community, browse the shelves and look for discounts on wines you like. Check out your favorite winery’s web sites for special offers. Online retailers, such as Wine.com offer great discounts every week. Another good online source for wine deals are spot promoters like TheWineSpies.com. The Wine Spies email a deeply discounted special every day, often on wines not widely available in retail. Note: Shipping wine can be restricted in your state, make sure the retailer can deliver before ordering.
Are you a skilled chef? If not, team up with one to prepare your favorite foods – including appetizers, main courses and desserts. Experiment with several different wines with each course to see how they pair, starting with suggestions found in wine books, cook books, articles and other sources of pairing guidance. Take notes and try several different wines with each meal – remember to take notes!
5. Hold Home Wine Tastings
Your circle of friends and family could probably benefit from a few wine diversions, too. Organize tastings in person when practical, otherwise consider using a teleconferencing system, e.g. Zoom, to bring everyone together. The tricky thing with virtual tastings is to make sure everyone is tasting the same wine, so give participants have enough time to acquire the specific wines on your list. You may want to spice things up with blind tastings and contests, such as Rutherford Roulette™ as described in the short story collection A Funny Thing Happened On My Way To Yountville.