Tuesday, May 19, 2020

HopWine: A Different Kind of Virtual Wine Tasting

At the time of this post, it has been two months and some change from the beginning of  the Covid 19 quarantine, and one thing I truly miss of the many things Covid 19 stole from me, is attending wine tastings! 

Before I start talking about my visit to HopWine, let me first acknowledge that I will always be eternally grateful to all importers, wineries and PR agencies (you know who you are) that have provided wines for me to review so far… Thank so much you for your support, I truly appreciate it.

But, attending tastings in person, it’s probably one of my favorite things in this life… since it provides a unique opportunity to taste wine from a specific region or country, and best of all, to meet with producers and to be able to ask them questions about the wines they serve… It is the perfect world/experience for a wine nerd like me. But, because of Covid 19, I had to miss a few, including a tasting of Wines of Canada, Loire Valley, and this year's Guia Penin tasting (Spanish Wines) now postponed until who knows when...

But then, I received an invite to attend HopWine, not knowing what this was about, I decided to give it a try. I imagined that it was going to be some kind of a virtual Vinexpo of sorts, with several wineries participating, many of them looking for importers/ representatives.  
And of course, I thought that like any other virtual wine tasting, it will include information about wines, videos, pictures, but this one, to my surprise, includes something else... HopWine prepared small boxes of wines (with a pour for attendees to taste). See picture of what you may get below.

Will this be a solution and replacement for wine tastings during Covid 19? 

Lately, I must confess I have been to many wine presentations in Instagram and Zoom and of course everything is very informative and engaging and it’s nice to see at least on video, some of these beautiful vineyards… but we are always missing the best part of any wine tasting, which is the sampling of wines. 

So, yes! I will give an applause to the creators of HopWine, for daring to try something new. 
The exposition has 151 producers from different countries including France, South Africa, Italy, Portugal, Israel and Spain. All of them are organized alphabetically, by country or appellation. After visiting, each winery’s page on the website, which acted as a booth, you are presented with the opportunity to add a mini box of wine samples to your cart that the winery wants to promote. In my case, I was allowed to add up to 30 boxes. I chose a fine selection of Alsace, Loire, Chablis, Rías Baixas, Chianti, Rhone and Burgundy samples. Of course, as you may imagine many of these wineries are not very well known and are trying to make a name for themselves in the industry, but I was pleasantly surprised to see at least 3 that I know quite well: Ferraton Père & Fils, Maison Bichot and Castello di Volpaia... If only they could send half bottles instead of the tiny ones? I suppose it didn't hurt to ask! 

A nice feature to see was that the booths could be filtered according to your industry, because I’m a wine blogger I was considered “Press” and wineries must have agreed earlier on to provide samples for people like me.  There were a couple of them, that unfortunately decided to opt out which denied me the opportunity to taste their samples. Maybe, this can change for the next edition? also, it will be nice at least for Americans, if you could also filter by grape variety? since it's easier for us this way.... did I just become the obnoxious American?

HopWine is currently open for Press and Trade from May 18 - 25, 2020. Those interested in attending should register here

I can’t wait to receive my boxes... let’s hope they arrive soon, I have been having problems with mail and other couriers… since nowadays all ordering happens online, even Amazon takes forever to deliver my orders. Let's hope this is not the case. Until next one! Cheers, Silvina. 

#thoughtsoflawina #virtualwinetasting #hopwine