Snooth User: EMark

Virtual Tasting at Total Wines

Posted by EMark, Jun 30, 2013.

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail notification about an event at Total Wines.  Their stores were hosting a Web Broadcast featuring Chuck Wagner and a tasting of samples form the Wagner Family of wines.  It fit my schedule, and, so, I enrolled Mrs. Emark and myself.

To cut to the chase it was a very good event.  Chuck Wagner came on screen and proceeded to discuss his family history and the history of his wineries.  A few times during the webcast he was assisted by his son Chuck who is the winemaker at Mer Soleil.  He then proceded to discuss the five wines that were being poured at the remote locations:

  • Conundrum White Blend
  • Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay
  • Meiomi Pinot Noir
  • Belle Glosse Pinot Noir
  • Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon

After the discussion of the wines, Chuck responded to some questions that were submitted via e-mail.  The wrap was a video in which I learned a ton about the Wagner vineyard management.

To repeat, I enjoyed the event and I look forward to more.  I am writing this essay in the hope that somebody in the Total Wines empire sees this and takes some recommendations on how to make events like these even better.  Many of these ideas were discussed in our group with the local store management.

  • Seating for this event is limited.  However, this did not stop some people from invoking favors and getting their friends into the sold out event.  This meant that, now, several people were crowded because space was provided for the extras.  Total Wines Managers, please show some backbone and explain that allowing extra people to enter is quite discourteous to the people who booked their reservations while seats were available.  Alternatively, I suppose you could hold back some of the seats from the reservation process and give management some discretion in the allocation of these.
  • In our room two glasses were placed at each seat--presumably, a white wine glass and a red wine glass.  Two glasses to taste five wines?  This did not work out well in our room.  Two Total Wines personnel tried to orbit the room to serve the next wine, but that turned out less smooth than it could have been.  Please put one glass for each wine at each seat.
  • While everybody in the room applauded the job that Chuck Wagner did, there were several, and in my opinion justifiable, comments about the pace of the presentation.  The segue to the tasting portion of the presentation and, then, the segues between the wines were not terribly elegant, and, frankly, the discussions of the wines seemed pretty rushed.  I think the easiest way to address this is to have a host who introduces the presentation, gives an overview of the agenda, introduces Chuck, and then facilitates a conversation with Chuck and his son.  Let, this person manage the pace of the presentation.  Let Chuck be the subject matter expert, and let him tell stories.
  • Provide some mechanism for remote attendees to participate.  The pre-submitted e-mailed questions were fine, but there has to be some way to allow the remote attendees to submit questions.  We were, in fact, allowed to submit written questions to the Total Wines management there in our room, but the response to those questions is in the form of subsequent e-mails.  Mrs. Emark is awaiting the response to her question.
  • The cheeses and cured meats that were offered were nice, but it would also be nice to have palate cleansers--plain bread or crackers.  The bottled water was excellent.  Thank you for that.

Thank you, Total Wines, for the invitation to this event.  I learned quite a bit, I enjoyed tasting the wines, and I enjoyed meeting Shawna and Jeff who sat next to me.  I look forward to doing something like this, again.  However, if I may be so bold, you might want to sit in on one of Snooth's Virtual Tastings to get some great ideas on how to make your events better.






Reply by napagirl68, Jul 1, 2013.


I can't comment on Total wine tastings, but can say that I have tasted Meiomi Pinot noir.  I found it decent for a widely available pinot in the pricepoint.  It had elements of red fruit, and lots of spice, but a tad overcooked, a bit darker fruit than I like.  But I would take it over most grocery pinots.

Reply by gtuttleTWM, Jul 1, 2013.

Thanks for offering your candid feedback, this will help us improve future events like this, as the #CaymusLive simulcast was our first.
We'll be featuring additional Q&A on a blog post to be published soon for questions that Chuck was unable to get to during the event.
We look forward to seeing you and Mrs. Emark at a future tasting!

Greg Tuttle
Manager, social business
Total Wine & More

Reply by EMark, Jul 1, 2013.

Thanks for the response, Greg.  I look forward to the next event.

NG, All the wines were good.  The Meiomi PN and the Mer Soleil Chardonnay were my least favorites.  The Cab was the best (no surprise there for anybody who knows my prejudice for Napa Cabs)--terrific structure and character and drinkable, today.

Reply by Michelle Dean, Dec 27, 2013.

This sounds like it would be a fun event!  Conundrum and Caymus Cabernet... YUM!  

Reply by EMark, Apr 8, 2014.

I am bringing this one back to life because I just received e-mail notification that Total Wines is having another event.  I don't think I have missed any other announcements.  So, I guess this is their second.

This one is on April 19 and will feature Chappellet winery.  It looks like Cyril Chappellet (CEO) and Phillip Titus (Winemaker) will be the presenters.  Eight wines will be tasted including the 2008 Pritchard Hill.

It turns out that April 19 is my birthday.  So, I have signed up myself and Mrs. EMark.  This will get our little celebration off to a good start.  I hope that they that Total WIne addresses the problems that I mentioned above.

Reply by dmcker, Apr 10, 2014.

Chappellet should be good, with a lineup almost certainly better than the last event. Would be a total bonus if any of their library wines make an appearance.

Reply by JonDerry, Apr 10, 2014.

Which Total Wine, Mark?

Reply by EMark, Apr 11, 2014.

I'm going to do the Brea store, Jon, but all their stores are showing the webcast and tasting the wines. 


Reply by JenniferT, Apr 11, 2014.

Happy birthday in advance! 

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