Wineries Get Creative During COVID-19 Pandemic

by Robin Barr Sussman on April 29, 2020 in Food+Drink, Drink,
00 WINE TASTING generic by daniel vogel unsplash e1588098367851

With virtual wine tastings, great deals on shipping, fundraising, and online cooking classes, wineries are providing a grape escape while we shelter in place. Here’s to sipping safe—the new normal, at least for a little while longer!


California dreaming? Here are a few wine country virtual tastings worth raising a glass online for:

Comstock Wines presents Food and Wine SIP each Friday afternoon on Facebook Live with its panel of experts. The owner, executive chef and winemaker take you on an outdoor tasting adventure with a wine package including three remarkable bottles to explore. Taste along with the panel, pick up pairing suggestions and ogle the beautiful surroundings.

Head to Facebook Live every Friday afternoon where Comstock Wines presents Food and Wine SIP. Courtesy photo

Stags’ Leap, Napa, conducts virtual wine tastings live on Instagram every Thursday at 3 pm PST. Pick your own patio and bring your smartphone. Purchase the wines in advance here and get more details on the tastings (or buy the wines locally to join the tasting online). A great Mother’s Day gift idea—hint, hint.

Use your smartphone on your own patio for a virtual tasting on Instagram with Napa’s Stags’ Leap.
Courtesy photo


Fredericksburg winery William Chris Vineyards hosts interactive virtual tastings on Facebook Live every Saturday at 4 pm. Purchase your four-pack bottles by the prior Tuesday to get your shipment in time for the tasting.

Buy your four-pack of wine by the prior Tuesday to get your shipment in time for William Chris Vineyards’ weekly tasting on Facebook Live. Photo Miguel Lecuona

Barrel up to your own bar and hop online with the Hill Country’s Southold Farm + Cellar for informal Instagram chats with a four-pack of mini wines ordered online. With a reservation, the winery also invites guests to picnic on the grounds and purchase wines (but no tastings until re-opening date).

Kuhlman Cellars in Stonewall, Texas, has a new French Perspectives four-bottle wine bundle for $119 (shipping included). It includes a one-hour virtual wine tasting with Kuhlman Cellars’ French winemaker Bénédicte Rhyne, who hails from Aix-en-Provence, and Kuhlman Cellars’ Assistant Vigneron, Olivier De Certaines from Lyon, France.

Kuhlman Cellars in Stonewall, Texas, has a new French Perspectives four-bottle wine bundle for $119, which includes a one-hour virtual wine tasting. Courtesy photo


The Donum Estate in Sonoma welcomes wine shipments but also sports a must-see online tour of its amazing art collection. The estate grounds showcase an extraordinary collection of sculptures from talented artists all over the globe. The wines are phenomenal—pinot noir is a highlight—so pour a glass and go on a virtual tour of the property anytime while staying safe at home.

The Love Me sculpture from Donum Estate‘s virtual art tour. Courtesy photo


Here’s your chance to hone cooking skills while sipping beautifully-paired wines.

Culinary Director Brian Streeter of Cakebread Cellars, Napa, will be coming to you live from his home kitchen Wednesdays at 3:30 pm PST via Facebook. Grab your apron!

Join Cakebread Cellars‘ Culinary Director Brian Streeter for weekly Facebook cooking classes. Courtesy photo

Bricoleur Vineyards hosts Quarantine in the Kitchen with Chef Shane every Saturday at 4:30 pm PST for a live interactive cooking class (catch on Zoom/recipe on Facebook). Next up is May 2 with fried chicken and roasted fingerling potatoes—pair it brilliantly with Bricoleur rose.

Every Saturday, Chef Shane from Bricoleur Vineyards hosts a live interactive cooking class. Courtesy photo


Check out these local breweries and distilleries that are selling hand sanitizer (and some are donating and involved in fundraising): Saint Arnold Brewing Co.; Gulf Coast Distillers; Maverick Whiskey and Yellow Rose Distilling. Garrison Brothers Distillery is donating limited release bourbon in exchange for COVID-19 donations.


Texas winery Messina Hof is helping us all thank the heroes of this pandemic with their new Bottle of Thanks program, which allows customers to send a bottle of wine directly to frontline medical workers. If you don’t have a specific frontline worker in mind, or if you want to make a larger donation, Messina Hof has also partnered with local hospitals surrounding winery locations to get wine into the hands of a medical worker in those communities.

Messina Hof’s Bottle of Thanks program allows customers to send a bottle of wine directly to frontline medical workers. Courtesy photo

In California, Lail VineyardsBenovia Winery and Inglenook are all supporting “Wine Country for Restaurants” in the online auction “86 Lost Wages.” They are three of the many wineries that have donated rare large format bottles or three-packs of spectacular wines to support the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund. The online auction runs weekly starting at 7:15 pm PST Sunday and guests can bid on wines to support the cause.

Benovia Winery owners Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane donate wine to a multi-winery online auction which supports the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund. Courtesy photo

Cover photo courtesy Daniel Vogel on Unsplash

Robin Barr Sussman ( is a freelance culinary and travel writer who studied at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone, Calif. As a chef for Sonoma County wineries, her specialty was food and wine pairing. Sussman is a columnist for Houston Modern Luxury Magazine, Prime Living and Houston House & Home. Her work also appears in Texas Monthly, Fodor’s and Private Clubs Magazine.