Chinese wine lovers (pic: file image)

Chinese wine lovers (pic: file image)

From using sample-sized wines for virtual wine course to launching e-tasting with chateau owner at home, here are how wine education providers and merchants are coping with stay-in wine learning and tasting in mainland China and Hong Kong.

Wine tasting and wine events across the globe have been cancelled due to the threat of COVID-19, forcing many merchants, wineries and wine education providers to rethink their strategy.

Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting, the wine education and consulting firm set up by Fongyee Walker MW and Edward Ragg MW in Beijing, has hunkered down during the national lockdown in China but its online courses took no respite including blind tasting.

blind tasting wines dragon
The blind tasting study kit used by Dragon Phoenix comes with sample sizes, which are bottled and packaged by Trust in Taste (photo credit: Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting)

During strict lockdown and strict social distancing orders, the wine education provider switched to Trust in Taste, a Australian company that provides sample sized bottles of wines (60ml) for blind tasting and education, enabling wine students to tune in to online courses and taste wine samples at home.

Every wine that comes with Dragon Phoenix study kit for blind tasting courses was bottled and packaged by Trust in Taste, then purchased and delivered to students before online course starts.

This eliminates the risk of getting students and teachers infected at classrooms as wine spitting bears high risk for coronavirus transmission.

In Hong Kong, at least one confirmed case involved a wine student at a local wine education center, which then led to closure of the institute until mid-April, Vino Joy News has learned.

For merchants in Hong Kong, most have slashed minimum orders to encourage online wine sales.

OMTIS Fine Wines, a Hong Kong wine merchant known for its Bordeaux portfolio, went a bit further and is using video conferencing app Zoom to create an e-tasting session with Chateau owner and wine lovers at the comfort of their home.

Omtis Fine Wines in Hong Kong launched its e-tasting series with Bordeaux chateaux to promote wine sales

The first session with Saint Emilion’s Château Troplong Mondot on April 4 had drawn over 20 wine lovers in Asia, where they are guided through a tasting of two contrasting vintages, the 100-Parker-Pointer Troplong Mondot 2005 and Troplong Mondot 2013 with the Right Bank estate’s director Aymeric de Gironde and Omtis CEO Philippe Bera.

This enables the merchant to pre-sell wines to be featured at the tasting session to attending guests before the start of each session, an innovative way to promote sales when on-trade and off-trade wine sales both suffered during the viral outbreak.

It also gives wine lovers a chance to have an up-and close experience with winery owner or winemaker at the comfort of one’s home.

The merchant says it has already signed up more than 20 wineries for the upcoming weekly e-tasting sessions including Château Montrose, first growth Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Palmer and among others.

Let us know in comments how you are coping with wine sales during the outbreak. 

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