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.

Because people couldn’t go to the wine, the wine went to people. Educators were conducting their classes over video conferencing, while sellers – that 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 zoom sessions, detailed tasting notes, or 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. 

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Now imagine if there were a dedicated platform such online experiences, one with the resources dedicated 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. 

Vivant screenshot
Vivant has its own aroma wheel to help wine drinkers identify what they’re smelling.

Says Baum, “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 that are on-hand to answer questions while guiding you along.

(Related: Winemaker interview: John Retsas of First Drop Wines)

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 that 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. 

(Related: Online wine classes and guided tastings for oenophiles)

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. 

Find out more about Vivant here