Home for the Holidays: Hosting a Virtual Wine Tasting

With many of us planning to stay home for the holidays, hosting a virtual wine tasting is a great way to connect with family and friends whether they live around the corner or around the world.

Hosting a virtual wine tasting

Jeff Plack, Senior Director of Wine Production Operations, has created a helpful video to provide some holiday how-to on hosting a virtual wine tasting at home with our Virtual Wine Tasting Set.

Join Jeff Plack as he guides you through hosting a virtual wine tasting at home!

“You don’t have to be a serious connoisseur to host a tasting,” Jeff said. “Just gather everyone together around their computers and start sharing!”

Planning process

Biltmore wines with Christmas tree and desserts
When planning your virtual wine tasting, choose at least three wines to sample together

In addition to the video, Jeff also walks you through the planning process below so you’ll have a checklist and other helpful tools.

“The simplest tastings usually include at least three wines,” said Jeff, “like three whites or three reds.”

Virtual Wine Tasting Tip: Send an invitation to join the online tasting ahead of time, and be sure to include the wine list and any other essentials your online guests will need to purchase or have on hand, including the following items:

  • Wines for tasting
  • Corkscrew
  • Glasses
  • White napkins (to help observe wine color)
  • Container for emptying leftover wine
  • Water and plain crackers for palate cleansing between tastes
  • Pen and paper for notes
  • Print-at-home wine tasting placemats (optional)

Choose a theme

Facebook fans helped choose the labels on Biltmore Christmas wine
The 2021 Christmas at Biltmore wines makes a perfect gift for someone special

“For white wines, consider light and fruity options such as Biltmore Estate® Pinot Grigio and Biltmore Estate® Riesling. Or try a mix of our sparkling wines—we handcraft several different styles from lightly sweet to bone dry,” Jeff said.

For a red wine flight, he suggests choosing bold reds like Biltmore Estate® Syrah and Biltmore Estate® Cabernet Sauvignon, or unique blends including Biltmore Estate® Cardinal’s Crest and Biltmore® Century Sweet Red Wine.

Virtual Wine Tasting Tip: For best results, begin the tasting with the lightest wine and end with the most robust one.

Bundle the joy

Home for the Holidays: Hosting a Virtual Wine Tasting
Pour on the cheer with a holiday-themed virtual wine tasting

If you prefer a holiday theme for your tasting, check out our special offerings that help you pour on the cheer and bundle the savings:

Virtual Wine Tasting Tip: No one wants to be left out of the fun, so we suggest Biltmore Sparkling Red Grape Juice for younger guests or those who prefer a non-alcoholic option.

Sense and savor

Home for the Holidays: Hosting a Virtual Wine Tasting
Hold wines up to the light and against a white background like a napkin to tablecloth to see their true color

“Before tasting a wine, have everyone hold it in front of a white napkin or tablecloth to observe its color,” Jeff said.

“Next, place the rim of the glass to your nose, inhaling deeply to smell the wine’s aroma. After you’ve fully experienced the scent, take a sip and keep it in your mouth for a few seconds so that it comes into contact with all your taste buds,” said Jeff.

Virtual Wine Tasting Tip: After savoring the wine by sight, smell, and taste, remind everyone to note their observations about what makes it unique and what they like about it.

Add ambience to your virtual wine tasting

Home for the Holidays: Hosting a Virtual Wine Tasting
Make your virtual wine tasting more merry with a special holiday playlist

“As the host of the virtual wine tasting, you’ll want to keep to keep things moving as you guide guests through the process,” noted Jeff.

According to Jeff, you can help set a merry mood with a customized playlist of favorites like this one we created especially for holiday entertaining.

“After the virtual wine tasting ends, share it with everyone to remind them of the occasion,” advised Jeff.

Pour on the cheer

Biltmore wines on a holiday table
Enhance any holiday tradition with a virtual tasting of Biltmore wines

To enhance the experience further, consider combining your virtual wine tasting event with another holiday tradition such as your family’s annual tree raising, Friendsgiving, or your neighborhood cookie swap. The possibilities are endless!

2021 Holiday Wine Guide

Home for the Holidays: Hosting a Virtual Wine Tasting
Our Wine Holiday Guide brings together the best of Biltmore for holiday entertaining

Whether you’re hosting a party in person, traveling to visit family, or hosting a virtual wine tasting event, let Biltmore help you discover specially curated wine bundles, chef-inspired food pairings, and custom holiday playlists, plus tips, crafts, and videos that bring it all together.

In addition, you’ll find all our award-winning Biltmore wines on the estate, online, and close to home with the help of our Retail Locator.

Biltmore Holiday Wine Guide

To share the warmth and cheer of Biltmore wines, we’ve created our Holiday Wine Guide to help you make the most of this special season.

“The Holiday Wine Guide covers all the different celebrations from Thanksgiving to New Year’s,” said Jill Whitfield, senior wine marketing manager. “There are recommendations for each special occasion, including thanking your hosts and having gifts on-hand for surprise guests.”

Holiday Entertaining with Wines

Biltmore wines with cake and holiday lights
Look for all Biltmore wines online

“For general holiday entertaining, Biltmore® Estate Cabernet Sauvignon–awarded 95 points in the prestigious San Francisco International Wine Competition–and Biltmore Estate® Pinot Grigio, which received 90 points from the Beverage Testing Institute, are a great place to start,” Jill said.

Jill recommends rounding out your selections with our Biltmore® Reserve Rosé North Carolina 2018, Vanderbilt Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Creek Valley 2017, and our bubbly Biltmore Estate® Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine.

Your Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving table with Biltmore wines
Our Thanksgiving Trio brings everyone to the table

Whether you’re adding a leaf to your table to accommodate a crowd or traveling out of town to visit family, Biltmore wines pair perfectly with everything from turkey and dressing to flavorful new “Friendsgiving” favorites.

“Our special Thanksgiving Trio featuring Biltmore® Reserve Chardonnay North Carolina 2018Vanderbilt Reserve Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2017, and Biltmore Estate® Brut makes it easy to pair all your holiday favorites with a fine wine,” said Jill. “If you want to add a bit more variety, Biltmore Estate® Dry Rosé and Biltmore Estate® Merlot are great wines for delighting your guests.”

Wrap-up Gift Giving with Biltmore Wines

Biltmore winter wines with bows
Enjoy the process of stocking and storing Biltmore wines

Simplify holiday shopping by sharing the gift of Biltmore wines. They make a thoughtful gift for anyone on your list or a special thank-you to your hosts for including you in their celebration.

Consider options such as The Hunt Red Blend Sonoma County 2017, which earned 91 points from Critics Challenge, our charming Mariporta Red Dessert Wine, long-time guest favorite Biltmore Estate® Cardinal’s Crest, our lightly sweet Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Chenin Blanc, or our finest sparkling–Biltmore Estate® Château Reserve Blanc de Blancs North Carolina 2017, handcrafted from outstanding locally-grown grapes.

Savor Christmas with Biltmore Wines

Biltmore wines with Christmas tree and desserts
When planning your virtual wine tasting, choose at least three wines to sample together

Showcase your Christmas Eve gathering, Christmas Day Brunch, and Christmas Day Dinner with our most versatile, food-friendly wines to complement any cuisine. 

“Our Biltmore Estate® Sauvignon Blanc earned 91 points in the San Francisco International Wine Competition,” Jill said, “while Critics Challenge awarded our Antler Hill® Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2015 93 points. We think you’ll also enjoy sharing our Biltmore Estate® RieslingBiltmore® Reserve Viognier North Carolina 2018, and our Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Malbec with your special guests.”

New Year’s: Ready, Set, Celebrate!

Celebrate with Biltmore sparkling wines
Our handcrafted Biltmore bubbles make any occasion more special

For a more memorable midnight on New Year’s Eve or a brunch featuring traditional favorites the following day, be sure to include our sparkling wine, handcrafted in the time-honored méthode champenoise that creates the finest bubbles.

“Shake things up with our Biltmore Estate® Blanc de Noir,” suggested Jill. “Not only is it delicious, but the soft coral color makes it a feast for the eyes, too!”

Sparkling wines may be traditional for New Year’s, but Jill recommends considering a range of other options  including our Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Gewürztraminer, Biltmore Estate® Limited Release TempranilloBiltmore Estate® Pinot Noir, and Biltmore Estate® Chardonnay.

Enjoying Our Wines at Home for the Holidays

Biltmore wines with chocolate desserts
For the holidays, we’ve bundled the best of our award-winning wines to help you simplify your celebrations (and save)!

“If you’re ready to re-stock your wine reserves, you can find Biltmore wines close to home with our Retail Locator,” said Jill.

Join the Vanderbilt Wine Club®

Vanderbilt Wine Club Christmas party
Enjoy members-only events like our annual Christmas party

Give a year of wine to someone special with a gift membership in our Vanderbilt Wine Club. Members receive three hand-selected Biltmore wines each season, shipped direct to your door, and the first club shipment ships free.

In addition, members save up to 25% on all wine purchases online or at the estate, plus complimentary premium wine tastings, access to first release wines, members-only events, and much more.