This wine tasting event merges meetups and wine-tasting in a ‘phygital’ setup

Teddy Cambosa - March 16, 2021

Hong Kong – Despite being postponed in 2020 due to health concerns, French wine-growing area Vins d’Alsace is returning this year with its biannual wine-tasting event Millésimes Alsace, with a twist added: integrating technology to explore the full potential of the wine-makers drink lineup.

The event, called ‘Millésimes Alsace DigiTasting®’ combines real-life tastings and virtual meet-ups made possible by collaborations of local winemakers, alongside 100 exhibitors that will be presenting 4 wines each.

The said event, which is slated for the 7th and 9th of June this year, is an initiative launched by the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins d’Alsace (CIVA), an interprofessional organization for the wine industry in the Alsace region in France. CIVA houses more than 950 winemaker operators including private cellars, cooperatives, merchants to help revive the traditional wine-making industry in the region.

By registering on the event’s dedicated platform, visitors can discover all the wineries and access the wines’ technical sheets. A filter system allows visitors to select the wines that best match their criteria from among the 100 wineries and 400 wines listed. There are wine-related filters (color, sweetness level, vintage, grape variety, appellation) and winery-specific (distribution circuit, environmental practice, country of export, importer search).

When ordering the wine samples that they can taste simultaneous the event, each visitor can choose between 2 options to suit their needs and receive them free of charge at the address of their choice:

  • 5 boxes = 4 selected boxes + 1 ‘discovery’ box (i.e. 5 wineries, 20 wines)
  • 10 boxes = 8 selected boxes + 2 ‘discovery’ boxes (i.e. 10 wineries, 40 wines)

Visitors will also be able to receive ‘discovery’ samples added by Millésimes Alsace DigiTasting® to their wine orders. 

“The wines are bottled in their region of origin in a small glass shaped like a traditional Rhine flute. A unique technological process guarantees the wines’ integrity: bottled in an inert atmosphere, they retain their most subtle qualities and aromas. By staying as close as possible to the original product, this process respects Alsace wines’ very essence,” the event organizers said in a press statement.

During the virtual event, winemakers will be able to share their know-how with the visitors, discuss grape varieties and Alsatian terroirs while tasting the wines together. Naturally, visitors will be able to chat virtually with any of the producers, even if they did not order a tasting box. 

“Having been the first vineyard to put together a major response to the current situation right from the first lockdown, Alsace is once again the first to innovate in the strategic field of trade shows! We remain a small vineyard globally, but we are ambitious and determined to achieve our goals. Alsace has a strong history and is resolutely turned towards the future,” said Didier Pettermann, chairman of the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins d’Alsace (CIVA).

‘Millésimes Alsace DigiTasting®’ also showcases a real large-scale trade show with conferences, workshops, and themed events about wine, terroirs, the economy, and consumer trends. Visitors will also be able to share their experiences thanks to integrated networking features on the platform and social media.

According to Philippe Bouvet, marketing director at CIVA, the event was launched in response to not having the current global state as an ‘excuse’ to forego the event. He also noted that the event aims at wanting to combine century-old know-how with cutting-edge technologies.

“Digital technology is not an end in itself: its primary purpose is to bring people together and make the virtual and physical worlds work together. Wine is not a product like any other. It is both intangible because of the emotions it evokes and very real thanks to its terroirs and the men and women who produce it,” Bouvet stated.

He added, “Millésimes Alsace DigiTasting® aims to generate synergy between the real and the virtual worlds and create a relevant and successful exhibition designed to provide a quality experience for visitors and exhibitors alike.”

The event will take place on 7 and 9 of June this year, with a dedicated website to be launched on 29 March, where wine-tasting professionals can register for free. Wine-tasting orders from the 100 exhibitors will be made available from 29 March to 2 May.