While the present is still dark in some areas (like South Africa), many wine regions have even opened their tasting rooms in a limited, socially remote setting capacity. It's been a definite relief for cash-strapped wineries and a welcome respite for wine lovers in need of a digital detox. (Provided they feel safe and welcome.)
But make no mistake about it. There is still a lot of value and a healthy market for wine events online. People who got used to finding wine edutainment the comfort of their sofa does not melt in the heat of summer.
Since launch VirtualWineEvent.com in early May, I expected things to get quieter as the venue reopened. But if you are wondering why I am not writing so much, I can tell you that those expectations did not come true. The management of VWE turns into a full-time job with managing lists and advising wine companies on their events. (Although we are still committed to keeping this a free resource for the wine industry.)
Now I will say that the number of online wine events featured on the site each day has certainly declined from a high of 60-70+ per day in May / June to around 30-40 per day. (Although, to be frank, this climax was a bit too much.) However, our site traffic continues to roll. One of the main reasons, I guess, is that even though the number of events has gone down, the overall quality has gone up.
But the number is much lower because those wineries that run these lackluster events probably haven't seen much for their efforts. Maybe they had a little bump in the first few weeks, but probably saw the attendance and excitement wane soon. However, the wineries, wine merchants, educators and influencers who I got it- who determined how the game was to be played - are the ones we still see investing in and hosting quality online wine events.
Now, of course, there is no magic formula. However, there is certainly some common points that have emerged. The first of these was the initial approach. Like I said to Jess Landers SevenFiftyDaily in his article, How Wine Brands Can Successfully Use Virtual Tastings To Drive Consumer Sales, trying to virtually replicate the tasting room experience is a no-starter. Those who have tried have generally failed dramatically.
Wineries that viewed virtual tastings as nothing more than an income palliative always thought too small and too limited. Meanwhile, other wineries, like Ridge Vineyards and the many who have in partnership with 67 Pall Mall, approached these events as brand building opportunities instead of budding tasting room experiences. These are the people who nailed it from the start and will continue to see results.
Tomorrow I will talk about this and more as part of Outshinery's On the Spot - The Current State of the Wine Industry sign.
I encourage my readers to reserve a place and join us at 10 a.m. PST / 1 p.m. EST. I will share many of the ideas I learned while managing VWE.
I'm not going to reveal them all here, but I'll leave you with that thought.
In a crowded market, you can't always rely on impulse to drive a sale. Think of a label or a loose stack that catches a consumer's attention. The sign indicating "Open tasting room" on the road. This interesting name and fair price on the wine list. All the things we relied on to encourage a wine lover to give you a chance.
As the COVID ruling has shown us, relying on impulse is tenuous. Instead, you have to drive intention. You need to give consumers a reason to look for your wines, to want to go to your tasting room, or to visit your website and social networks.
The ease and global reach of digital video is a powerful seed drill and driver of intent. The future of virtual wine events lies with the vineyards and wine companies who understand it.
And that future is now.
click here to discover more
We would recommend either Wineworks Premium or Wineworks Superior as your first 30 Bottle Kit Wine. Both of these ranges are designed to produce a good quality wine that is ready to drink within 2-4 weeks but will benefit if left up to 6-8 weeks. Furthermore, they also have a great selection of wines to choose from.
If you’ve never made wine before or you simply don’t have any of the equipment or ingredients any longer then you could purchase one of our bundles. These bundles combine all the required equipment along with your prefered wine coffret so that you can have everything delivered to your door and just get started. The Wineworks Superior Starter Bundles are a great choice if you want to keep the equipment budget down but still choose the quality of wine you’d like to go for. Whereas, the Wineworks Luxury Starter Bundles offer a better quality equipment pack and still let you choose from a great choice of wine kits.
The two most important aspects of making wine are Cleanliness and Temperature. Firstly remember everything that comes into contact with the wine should be cleaned and sterilised ( see below ). Secondly maintain a constant temperature between 21-26°C ( 69-79°F ). It is much better to be on the cool side and constant than hot one minute and cold the next. Airing cupboards are definitely no, no’s. ( See below )
Clean and sterilise all equipment. Here’s a selection of Sterilisers you can use and if you not quite sure which steriliser to go for then you can take a look at our Beginners Wine Making Part 1 - Cleaning, Sterlising
Wineworks Superior wines : These usually take 10-15 days to ferment, and a further week to clear. Again the wine can be drunk immediately but we recommend ageing it 4 weeks but you can leave it up to 12 months. The time you will leave it will depend very much on your stocks. So get plenty built up. The reds benefit more than the whites with ageing. Certain kits ( see the list below ) are suited more to the experienced wine maker and take around 4 weeks to ferment and then left for a further 2 weeks. These products does really benefit from ageing. All the packs we list in this section require little ageing.
As it’s new to you it will probably take in all 2 hours for your first batch. However, once you are used to it 1 hour is about the maximum amount of time needed. We would also point out bar the bottling side; it takes just as long to make 6 bottles as it does to make 30 bottles, so we strongly recommend you make the larger quantity. After all 6 bottles doesn’t go very far as we said before !
From our experience it is much better to maintain a constant temperature than a fluctuating one. We suggest 21-26°C ( 69-79°F ), although if it is cooler than this, it is not a problem, it just takes slightly longer to ferment. If you can’t maintain this then we supply three different forms of heating equipment : Brew Belt / Heat BeltThis is a simple insulated electric cable that wraps round your conteneur and provides a gentle heat. It is very flexible and extremely easy to use. Heat Tray ( 4 demi/5 Gallon Fermenter ) This is like a flat tray that provides a gentle continuous heat that goes under the fermenter. Immersion HeaterThis drops into the container, through the bung and can be thermostatically controlled to maintain the juste temperature. Similar to a fish tank heater. All these can be added to our starter kit packages. See our video showing the genres of heating equipment available for your fermentation.
It is important to clean
If you’ve made it this far, hopefully understanding a bit of what we’ve said, then you’ll want to know how much it will cost to get started ! As you may have noticed, we’ve put together a couple of equipment packs which include everything you need, and take the confusion out of buying. You can make your first 30 bottles of Wine for approximately £65. 00. That’s all in ( Equipment