Virtual Wine Experiences – it’s a kinda magic
In this post Caro Feely explains why French Wine Adventures and Chateau Feely new range of Virtual Experiences make her feel like Harry Potter. There’s a kind of magic going on.
Over the past few months we have dived into running Virtual events offering them as part of our virtual wine courses, as standalone events, as private events and as teambuilding events. It’s been a fast learning curve and I am loving it.
What’s different to real life events
There are many elements that are slightly different to real world workshops; the technology needs to be spot on, the pace needs to be right, the energy needs to be higher than in real world to get the same effect and it’s more complicated to create good interaction than in real life.
But all of these things are possible! And what has really surprised me is that I feel like we are together – really together in a shared experience and not separated by many miles, sometimes even entire oceans as we are.
Screenshot of Chateau Feely Virtual Soiree Rosé June 2020
Where’s the Magic? Togetherness and interaction
The magic is in creating a sense of togetherness and interaction and not being a talking head. I realised this from attending a bunch of live experiences/ workshops to see what works and what doesn’t.
A big aha came during our first virtual Rosé Soiree where I used zoom breakout rooms for the first time. It gave me the theme for this post. I automatically (like magic) sent everyone off into a breakout rooms to meet each other, do a quiz (based on what we had chatted about as we tasted 2 Feely rosés – the theme of the night) and to freestyle about favourite rosé moment and favourite places to drink rosé.
Zoom magic cloned me into two people (photo below). LOL. The first head is me in the main room, the second head is me in breakout 1, where I was when I took this screenshot. I felt like a character in Harry Potter using magic to arrive via the chimney. I dropped in to check the participants had the quiz and felt like the teacher breaking up the fun – they were having a ball.
Feedback shows that the participants loved it. It was like being at an real event and getting to meet other winelovers rather than just attending a webinar with a talking head (that you could essentially watch as a recording).
A Caro Feely Clone drops into breakout room 1 during the Virtual Rosé Soiree
With each online event I learn more, and like anything, practice makes perfect.
In my preparation I have been ‘undercover’ to see what works by signing up and doing with loads of online experiences (about wine and beyond). My favourite for entertainment and interaction was Dragtaste.com – learn to make Sangria with drag queens in Lisbon. These guys were the top selling online experience on AirBnB. This is a great example of how to make online experiences fun and interactive (and it is a kind of wine event given they are making Sangria with wine).
I have noticed that there a sense of comaraderie with people that have been on multiple of our virtual events – just like in real life.
The online events that didn’t fill me with glee either promised more than what was delivered (eg promised an expert and got a rookie), offered a talking head with little interaction, had a bad set up (terrible lighting/ bad microphone) or just didn’t deliver (eg the event didn’t take place).
The technology is easily resolved – our technology is better now than when we started in April. We have a zoom pro account and a new Logitech Brio Stream camera which has a better resolution (with compression technology) and a better stereo microphone than the old logitech we started with. We bought it direct from Logitech and are very happy with it.
It’s a bold new world out there and we’re excited to be part of it! We would love to see you on one (or multiple!) of our virtual events! Do you have tips/ comments from online experiences you’ve done? I’d love to hear from you. Please share them in the comments.
See our Virtual Wine Experience Calendar.
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You can experience wine school or a wine tour with us virtually or in real life. See our sister site French Wine Adventures for all the details of the real life tours and courses.
You can read about the story of this organic vineyard, wine school and farm – the series includes three books by Caro Feely.