For a long time, the world of wine was a largely offline affair. Sure, plenty of wine is sold online, but much of the discovering, learning and tasting is done on-site at events or classes. The pandemic, like for most other industries, has changed everything.
Since people couldn’t go to the wine, the wine went to people instead. Educators have been conducting their classes over video conferencing, while sellers – who would normally host wine dinners or tastings on-site – re-bottled their wines into individual portions and sent them out to thirsty vinophiles, often with accompanying online sessions, detailed tasting notes and even quizzes. Many of these were scrappy solutions, necessary pivots that made use of whatever tools that were available to create a remote wine experience – which customers often lapped up.
Now, imagine if there were a dedicated platform for such online experiences, one with the resources to bringing all the ideas for remote wine tasting and learning together. Enter Vivant, an interactive, subscription-based service that dubs itself ‘The World’s First Live Streaming Wine Experience Platform’.
Created by tech entrepreneur Michael Baum – who founded listed big data pioneer Splunk and also owns Chateau de Pommard in Burgundy – Vivant combines all the online tastings, lessons, quizzes and more into a sleek UI-ed and UX-ed product that immerses members in the world of wine.
Baum says: “Our ambition is to recreate the magic of visiting a wine region without the carbon footprint of stepping on an airplane. We’ve assembled a team of wine educators, product designers, software engineers and media producers to immerse people in the world of wine like never before.”
Each 30 to 50 minute ‘experience’ is themed, focusing on certain regions, styles, producers or even tasting techniques. Every session is then hosted live by one of Vivant’s Wine Advisors – industry professionals who are on-hand to answer questions while guiding you along.
We participated in one such session (The Art of Blending in Bordeaux) and were very impressed by its production value – the host streams from a studio-like setting, so audio and video are both top notch. Each winery for the session was introduced through well-shot videos, while the host explains how each wine is made. For those who want to drink alongside, tasting kits as well as full bottles of the featured wine are available and shipped globally.
There are also quizzes peppered throughout the session, which contribute to a global leaderboard that scores your wine knowledge (Wine IQ) and blind tasting skills (Tasting Points) – which is mighty fun for vinophiles with a competitive streak.
Our ambition is to recreate the magic of visiting a wine region without the carbon footprint of stepping on an airplane. We’ve assembled a team of wine educators, product designers, software engineers and media producers to immerse people in the world of wine like never before
That’s not all there is to Vivant, though. The company prides itself in its focus on showcasing organic, biodynamic and – most importantly – sustainably produced wines. In addition, one per cent of all membership fees and wine purchases go to the company’s 1% For Wine initiative, which funds ideas and research to “make a positive impact on a sustainable future for wine” – including the development of drought-resistant plants and arable land preservation.
This story first appeared in The Peak Singapore