Allegrini 2018

James Suckling: “Online tasting can replace in person ones, which, however, will not disappear”

One of the most listened voices of international criticism, reflects on the future of wine, looking beyond the Pandemic
JAMES SUCKLING, online tasting, WINE, News
James Suckling

In the past few months when we have been forced to stop traveling and being able to have meetings, online wine tastings at a distance, whether impeccably organized or not, have become a must for many professionals and enthusiasts, and have also helped wineries to keep in contact with importers, distributors, the press and so on. It should be said, though, that many do not like this type of wine tasting because it lacks all the sociability and conviviality that one breathes “in person”, even in a technical tasting. And yet, it is a system that, according to reliable voices, works, and that will replace a large part of “live” tasting, even post Covid-19, because it is practical, time saving and moreover, greater attention is given to the wines that are tasted. These are the reflections of one of the most influential voices in the wine world panorama of critics, James Suckling, who, for years, has also successfully invested in organizing major wine events. He recently participated in the “The Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival”, and held a very popular master class dedicated to Bordeaux. It was a debut experience for James Suckling, who told the French magazine, “Vitisphere”, “I believe that online tastings can without a doubt replace in person wine tastings, mainly due to their efficiency and focus on experience. Further, I believe that when each of us will be able to return to traveling, we will see a combination of both. I don’t think in person tastings will completely disappear, we human beings love to socialize with a glass of good wine”.
Suckling also said that improvising is forbidden even online, the same as in live performances. “The key to managing a videoconference tasting is planning in advance and making sure that every detail is in place, just like for an in person tasting. It is also quite helpful to use a written guide or sheet explaining the tasting and how it works, together with a timeline. I have the impression that most of the people who do these video tastings don’t prepare in advance. And, therefore, they do not treat the event properly. That said, I believe consumers go online to learn but also to have fun. So, the tasting should not be too serious, but rather customized, and interacting with people as if they were in the room with you tasting the wines. As far as professional tastings are concerned, though, it is much more important to have a question and answer session, because we are talking to a different audience”.

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