Social distancing isn’t the greatest— yes, we know. I’d much rather be curled up in a hammock strung between two palm trees, steps from the beach, with a Piña Colada in one hand and Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery in the other. But this post isn’t about the amazing, life-changing experiences we’re all missing out on while we’re in the Q, or even the silver linings. Today, we’re talking about what you can get out of virtual tasting experiences that you just can’t find in “real life.”
Here are 5 reasons you should embrace your inner hermit right now
1. The Choice of Venue is Entirely in Your Hands
We sure do miss the gorgeous setting of the vineyard: the gentle breeze licking at your ankles, the slightly damp smell of sunshine and soil, the arms-outstretched expanse of green warmly welcoming you to kick off your shoes and run alongside the trees (hmm… maybe that last one’s just me). But there’s something to be said about participating in a musical wine tasting where the venue is completely up to you. You can tune in from the comfort of your bedroom: a judgment-free zone that, when paired with familiar tastes and sounds and smells, can evoke warm feelings of nostalgia. Or take the tasting out into your backyard, patio, or fire escape (looking at you, New Yorkers!)— there, you’ll be able to engage with the sensory stimuli of the outdoors, allowing for a grounding, peaceful sensation. You can even crash your best friend’s backyard (so long as they’re in your pandemic pod!) and crack jokes of shared past double dates and concerts that you’re reminded of through the sights, smells, and sounds of the virtual tasting.
2. Your Brain Is Aching For a Workout, Too
Without much sensory stimulation during social distancing, the transition back into mindfulness might seem overwhelming. Between a hectic switch to working from home and an indoor waterpark of a summer, I’ve had almost nothing to do for the past few months. How am I supposed to go from week-long weekends to effectively managing my time for my pre-quarantine life load? Move over, Chloe Ting— it’s time for brain workouts. And what better way to stimulate the senses and practice mindfulness than through a full-sensory tasting, where you have the space to pay attention to flavors, sights, and smells you otherwise wouldn’t engage with? All those sounds that your brain once filtered out as white noise so as not to distract from your day— whether it be the bustle of the city or the chirping of birds outdoors— are now all the more present and obvious to the quarantined ear. Embrace it! Listen for the crickets as the sun starts to set, feel the humidity stall as the temperature starts to drop, watch as the moon emerges from the blue-then-pink-then-red sky. Lean into this rediscovered consciousness.
3. You Can Still Take That Vacation to Italy— Through Your Senses of Taste, Smell, Sight, Touch, and Sound
A virtual tasting isn’t just a learning experience— it also offers an escape from everyone’s favorite symptom of social distancing: the mundane-yet-exhausting days blurring together. During one of our monthly tastings, a club member of ours mentioned she was thinking of not attending the tasting due to a long, exhausting day. She was ultimately glad she’d made it to the tasting, as the soothing aria from Simon Boccanegra purposefully paired with a delicate Fiano and flaky Pecorino helped her wind down from her day by lowering her heart rate and cortisol levels. The virtual tasting allows us to take a minute (or, in our case, sixty to ninety minutes) for ourselves, separate from our days, and practice mindfulness. By engaging with our present sensations, mindfulness helps us relieve stress, focus our attention, and even improve sleep.
4. Nobody Can See Your Wine Tasting Face if You Turn Your Camera Off
Pucker your lips in peace! Say “mm” as loud as you like! Sway to the music— and even whip out your most embarrassing dance moves! It’s amazing to engage in an in-person tasting with other people and forge new connections, but virtual tastings are all about you. If you want to sing along to the music, go for it! Let go of social conventions and follow the tasting wherever it takes you. Taste like nobody’s watching (because if you turn your camera or microphone off, they aren’t).
5. Connect With People Around The World And In Your Neck of the Woods (Or Concrete)
We pride ourselves over here at Five Senses on our mission to support small businesses by buying and sharing local whenever possible. Now that our clients can participate in a virtual tasting from anywhere, that’s come to mean something else altogether. One of our upcoming clients is headquartered in Pennsylvania, with offices in Texas, New York, California, Alabama, and Colorado. Rather than only focus on bourbon from PA— which is actually the birthplace of whiskey, not Kentucky (I know, I’m shocked, too)— Kala and Prairie of Song & Tonic have compiled a list suggesting a bourbon from each state that our client operates within. In compiling this list, Kala and Prairie hope to encourage Mortgage Connect’s team to venture out and connect with the not-your-average, small-batch, hand-crafted gems in their own communities. Meanwhile, the Song & Tonic event itself will help employees in Mortgage Connect offices across the nation socialize and connect with one another. In this way, virtual tastings allow you to safely engage with your community and the world at large— and who knows? Maybe you’ll unearth a new treasure (or bourbon) along the way.
Will virtual tastings remain once we return to some semblance of “normal” life? I think so; not only do they allow us to engage with all five of our senses in a novel way, but they’re also more accessible and encourage us to make the most of the experience by discovering the tasty, beautiful wonders of our own neighborhoods.
Don’t get me wrong— once we can safely travel, you’ll find me on that plot of sand, swaying between the palms. But until then, pay attention to the 5 reasons you should embrace your inner hermit right now, aI’ll see you at our next tasting in my pajamas, swaddled in my duvet, bobbing my head to the music and making the wildest wine-tasting face you’ll never see.