Wine Enthusiast Podcast: Get Your Wine On in a Virtual Space | Wine Enthusiast
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Wine Enthusiast Podcast: Get Your Wine On in a Virtual Space

While we all love getting out and about, the past year has forced us to rethink how we connect when we’re not all in the same physical space. Enter the internet and all of the possibility it holds to create virtual gathering spaces for a variety of needs, including sharing a glass and building your wine community online.

In this episode, the last in our three-part series highlighting some of this year’s 40 Under 40 Tastemakers, we’re talking about the rise of virtual spaces in the wine world.

We speak to two of this year’s 40 Under 40 Tastemakers—Laura Brown, Cofounder of Uncorked Access and Wine Educator at Vin Social; and Alex Schrecengost, founder and CEO of Virtual With Us and Culture With Us—about redefined expectations. What does it mean to explore wine together while remaining apart?

For more about emerging online spaces, learn about how TikTok creators bring barrier-free joy to wine here, or how sommeliers use social media to connect communities here. Read this article for additional information on virtual wine education and tastings, or this piece on four wine education programs for every budget.

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Episode Transcript

Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting.

Speakers: Lauren Buzzeo, Laura Brown, Alexandra Schrecengost

Lauren Buzzeo 0:08
Hello, and welcome to the Wine Enthusiast Podcast, your serving of drinks culture and the people who drive it. I’m Lauren Buzzeo, the managing editor at Wine Enthusiast, and in this episode, the last in our three part series highlighting some of this year’s 40 Under 40 Tastemakers, we’re talking about the rise of virtual spaces in the wine world. While we all love getting out and about the past year has forced us to rethink the communal status quo and consider how we can connect without being in the same physical space. Enter the internet and all of the possibility it holds to create virtual gathering spaces for a variety of needs, including sharing a glass and building your wine community online. We speak to two of this year’s 40 under 40 tastemakers, Laura Brown, cofounder of Uncorked Access and wine educator at Vin Social, and Alex Schrecengost, founder and CEO of Virtual With Us and Culture With Us, about our redefined expectations on what it means to wine together while remaining apart. So grab a glass of your favorite vino and join our virtual convo wherever you are.

I am so thrilled to be here today talking with two amazing people in the wine world. But when I say here, allow me to share my reality, which is that right now it means I’m in my closet, getting my wine fix convo with two people that may or may not also be in their closets. And it’s all thanks to the interwebs. As if it were straight out of the Cable Guy, the future is now and it means that we have the ability to connect to whoever about whatever whenever we want. And certainly that includes getting your wine groove on in a virtual space. And I’d love to explore more about what that all means and the immense opportunities in front of us all as a result. But first let me circle back to our guests to have this year’s 40 Under 40 Tastemakers for a little bit more of a proper introduction. So we have Laura Brown, who is the cofounder of Uncorked Access, a platform designed to support Deaf beverage professionals and wine lovers, as well as a wine educator for Vin Social, a virtual hospitality platform and quarterly wine subscription that partners with sustainability driven wine producers to provide tastings and education for businesses and other groups. And we are also joined by Alex Schrecengost, who is the founder and CEO of Virtual With Us and Culture With Us. Virtual With Us offers remote tastings, cooking and baking classes, mixology sessions, trivia events, and more, so people can continue bonding and enjoying themselves over wine and food. While Culture With Us provides a fresh take on corporate gifting with wine and beverage recommendations as well as bespoke luxury retreats to support international relationships as well as socialization, health and wellness. So this past year has undoubtedly forced us to rethink the communal status quo and consider how we can connect without being in the same physical space. And these two have pivoted into these spaces in important and innovative ways. So Laura, Alex, thank you so much for joining me today, wherever you are.

Laura Brown 3:19
Thank you so much for having me.

Alex Schrecengost 3:20
Thank you for having us both, we’re really excited to be here. And I’m not in my closet, at least. I’m sitting in my kitchen. But I do hide in my closet on occasion when I take calls.

Lauren Buzzeo 3:34
Well, that is super luxurious to be in an entire room, you know, bigger than the size of a closet. So let’s kick things off by starting to explore a little bit about how and when each of you really, you know, leaned into the digital space for wine and how you identified where that pivot was coming and how to make it. Alex, would you like to kick that off?

Alex Schrecengost 4:00
Absolutely. So you know, when the pandemic hit, I was the head of communications at Wilson Daniels. And something I started to see with between the sommeliers, chefs and cicerones that we’re all being furloughed as restaurants were closing, and then on top of that organizations, both here in the United States and on a global scale, were really struggling to maintain their contacts and relationships and to really help with their culture building and their camaraderie. And I saw the greatest single opportunity was the chance to replicate an experience in sharing a bottle of wine with colleagues and really raising a glass to each other and having a conversation all without leaving home. And so this provided an opportunity to, in a helpful way, to support organizations and distributed workforces in different time zones, and hybrid teams that were working from home and some in the office as things started to open up, while also supporting the hospitality industry that really, as the restaurants closed, they didn’t know what direction they were going to go in. They didn’t know how they were going to continue their work. It really was a blending or a marriage, if you will, of the two. And the digital space for the wine really opened up a lot of doors and a lot of curiosity as well. So even just exploration of a variety of brands and allowing people to really see the diversity and the innovative thinking across the hospitality industry, across the wine industry and spirits, and really helping to provide a narrative to help these. And consumers, because even though we’re working with primarily large corporations, they are and consumers, and they really, were excited to learn about all of these brands. So it was a fun and interesting pivot, if you will, and it was really fun to see everyone so excited and really bring some happiness and joy during such a crazy, odd, surreal, you know, 18 months at this point, or longer.

Lauren Buzzeo 5:51
Totally, because I think it was something that wasn’t really on a lot of people’s radars in terms of opportunities for them to embrace these, you know, remote virtual spaces, to get that sort of fix and connection, and the experience of sharing a glass or a bottle of wine together, especially on like you mentioned, the hospitality friend, that was, you know, it was changed our worlds. So, you know, it’s great to have another opportunity for that type of engagement that was really, really, you know, lacking and people were missing for a long time.

Alex Schrecengost 6:25
Absolutely. And, you know, the thing is that, as you said, it just, it really wasn’t as socially acceptable before, I think, to sit and have a glass of wine at 12 o’clock in the afternoon with your colleague in the UK. And now it’s like, well, these are great opportunities to collaborate. And you also have this very intimate environment, where you get to engage with some of the best sommeliers in the country and in the world, and really just have fun and figure out best practices that are happening in different offices. And how to rebuild a culture that perhaps may be going from all in-person to a hybrid model for whatever reason it may be. And so it really did bring about a unique opportunity to be authentic, and to introduce wine and other entertainment opportunities.

Lauren Buzzeo 7:14
Totally. Laura, can you share a little bit about your experience in pivoting more to the virtual space?

Laura Brown 7:20
Yeah. So mine was actually it coincided with my having already signed up for my WSET level three class online, which started in March of 2020. So I was, I was already gonna go that way anyways. But, you know, the reason I was doing that was just a personal decision that I know I need some time for things to marinate, and I work as a sign language interpreter during the day. So I just knew that I needed kind of that more spaced out experience. And what ended up happening, of course, was that I had something to look forward to in the middle of this really scary time, really different time, being, you know, locked down at home, and I had something to do, and to look forward to and to learn. And for me, learning is a joy. And within a couple months, I mean, I went through that class, I started engaging in digital wine events, which really lowered the barrier of entry, whether that is money or time. I mean, I really think time is kind of our greatest asset. And that is actually sometimes the most difficult thing because we can justify money if we’re privileged enough to have that. But so often, we just can’t make it somewhere, we’re physically not in the same place. Or we might be in the same city. But it’s really difficult to get there because we’re busy people, right? So all of a sudden, we had more of this asset at home. And we had, we wanted to do something with it. And we were able to get together. So for me, it was kind of a combination of that class, and then engaging in spaces in virtual events that were happening. And then just within a couple of months, I was very lucky to have been introduced to Sarah Maul, the founder of Vin Social as they were expanding. A similar experience with Alex where they had, I don’t know, I guess Virtual With Us may not have had the same start. But Vin Social was had started as an in-person club, basically a social club. And so they pivoted and found a lot of opportunity. And so I got to jump on board right when that was kind of exploding, and we kind of all just figured it out together. And for me, at the time, they were doing a quarterly wine club, and we were doing virtual uncorkings every week. So I got to jump into those kind of as a consumer and it was just something to look forward to and to learn from the winemakers themselves. And then I got the opportunity to be a wine educator with them and exactly as Alex said, as people who love hospitality who love working in hospitality, which was kind of my first love years ago, it provided an opportunity that I am just wildly grateful for, because I get to do what I love. I got to do it in time that I had, and it became part of my world. And it became something I got to look forward to, to learn to share with people, and to share these brands that we really, really believe in that otherwise, a lot of them wouldn’t be exposed to people. So both in corporations and individuals, these people got exposed to them, and I loved being the vehicle, I still love being the vehicle for those brands.

Lauren Buzzeo 10:34
Oh, I love hearing you talk about this because you can really, you know, sense the passion that is behind what you do and and how you clearly love doing it. And it’s just so refreshing to hear. Because I think that that’s one of the greatest thing about these opportunities, which is that it’s just another creative outlet and another vehicle to share wine knowledge, wine love, wine enthusiasm, with with a broader audience. So I guess, with that, you know, what are some of the greatest opportunities that you guys saw in pivoting to online and virtual spaces? You touched on some of them, but I know that there’s more that you guys probably want to speak to on that front?

Alex Schrecengost 11:15
No, absolutely. I mean, Laura, I’m sure you can speak to this as well. But I it kind of resonated with me when you said you were signing up for school because, you know, me too. In March, I was signing up for the virtual class, for the diploma. And the thing is, I wanted to be able to find a way where we can really engage in introduce and spotlight favorite producers, where we can talk about and track down certain wine shops and online retailers and even restaurants that were doing unique and innovative things. And it was a way to honestly introduce so much more to so many more people. There were so many touch points throughout the week and throughout the day for fellow wine professionals, but also for the general public and for corporations that were like what should we drink? And what should we be eating? And we’re stuck at home for the foreseeable future? And how can we explore? It’s just really an exceptional way to gather a far flung team and global organization and making everyone feel included and valued and to have authentic memories, whether they’re, you know, tangible or intangible ways as well. And it was really a huge benefit to be able to virtually engage and to really show them the world of wine virtually and showcase through, you know, a number of photos and drones and footage and live video around France and California, and provide it in a way that was really just a lot of fun. And to bring a smile to everyone’s face. It really did make a huge difference.

Laura Brown 12:41
Absolutely. I’m like gonna hurt my neck because I’m nodding so much. But I mean exactly like you just said, I always like to, whenever I start a wine tasting event online, I always say, like, ‘Buckle up, we have we have flown the house, however many hours.’ And because we’re we get to travel together in these ways. And, of course, there are like incredible connections and nuance in person. Obviously, it’s a completely different experience. However, we are, just like you said, Alex, like we’re getting to touch so many more people in these ways. And the impact we’re having is just compounded. We get to touch more people, we get to teach more people at the same time. And it’s that ripple effect happens so much faster. And I just I love seeing that. And I love when people ask, Where can we get these because then then they get to become patrons of these winemakers who were facing very unique problems, right? Because hospitality, food and beverage, are communal. And so this was a whole new problem. Being part of that solution, and knowing that that was actually helping these brands has been really rewarding. And then I also have a unique experience as a sign language interpreter thinking about accessibility. So when I say, you know, accessibility, I feel like it’s such a buzzword right now. And I love that. And I think a lot of times when people use it, I use it when I’m thinking of like Deaf-friendly spaces. And but it also means things that are accessible in terms of just like bite-sized information that we can digest, or cost of entry, things like that. But this really provided for me a way to get a message across so much faster to so many more people in such a more profound way than, individually, only people I’m meeting in person. Telling them, you know, we really need to be thinking about the Deaf community or accessibility or how we’re being inclusive this way. And seeing that take off has been, honestly, the highlight of my Covid life.

Lauren Buzzeo 14:56
I think that that’s such a great point. And I think that that’s something that both of you have wonderfully touched upon in terms of you know, Laura, you mentioned also barriers to entry. And you know, Alex talking about touch points, I think with a variety of all of these different platforms, you know, IG Live tastings or personalized events, or online schools or courses that people can take, there’s just so much more available to a broader audience of any and all types. And certainly, Laura, your point to talking about time and you know, just getting to a physical space and that need not really being there anymore, is such a vital point in terms of how this is really, this is really touching so many more people in the world and bringing wine to a whole new audience that never really was maybe fully able to embrace it before.

Laura Brown 15:49
Absolutely. And I think there’s also a barrier, you know, where people have notoriously been intimidated by wine in the past, right? And I really think it doesn’t have to be that way. I don’t think—maybe I’m being naive in this—I don’t think it is nearly as intimidating as it used to be. And maybe that’s just because I feel like I found so many incredible wine people. But either way, I think it is so much easier, for better or for worse, when we are behind a keyboard or a screen, it’s easier to engage, and it might just ease people in a little bit more. So that that barrier of just like the, the intimidation factor has lowered so much. Because we get to maybe pick up a few basic things in the comfort of our home, on a screen with people where hopefully, you maybe have your camera on and you do get to see them. But it’s not nearly as intimidating as walking into a room. And so that just might ease people in to dip their toes in. And as I think we probably all know, once you dip your toes into wine, you’re probably going to go all in.

Alex Schrecengost 16:58
Yeah, yep. And actually, just to speak to that, you know, the virtual wine space, I feel like is less intimidating, you know, people generally Oh, come and say, Hello, wine is stuffy or exclusive at times. And, you know, I really I really don’t understand this. And I’ve never, I didn’t want to ask that question. And I think virtually you can kind of set that aside. And it’s a very open space much more so than walking into that room with who you think may have so much more knowledge than you do. And you’re all just on the same page, you’re on your computer. And you might have a little bit more bravery in asking, and the wines presented aren’t always exclusively, you know, at a higher price point or inaccessible. But rather, let’s talk about some exciting brands are some exciting people and what they’re doing and how to be as inclusive as possible. And, you know, how do we build up robust new buyer demographics? And how do we really celebrate a community that’s about gathering and getting people together and bringing through diversity and welcoming wine lovers from all walks of life, essentially. And so that’s something that I think that the virtual space has opened up a little bit more. To allow, you know, more women and more people of color in the community and more diversity among the deaf community and so on. And that’s just such a beautiful thing. And even what Laura is doing as well, where those demographics that once were, that was almost exclusive, are fading away, and now you’re allowing everyone to explore wine and really understand it a little bit better and not feel like they can’t ask a question or they can’t explore a brand or they can’t mention what they secretly drink in their closet—for you, Lauren.

Lauren Buzzeo 18:39
The answer is always Chenin.

Laura Brown 18:42
Spirit animal, all right.

Lauren Buzzeo 18:48
No, totally. Yeah, those are those are excellent points. And thank you so much to you both for elaborating on that. And I think for better or for worse, and perhaps that’s a different conversation about, you know, social media, but I think that that has contributed a lot to these entry points as well. And the various platforms and the opportunities there certainly we, you know, referenced IG Lives, Instagram Lives, videos there. But also TikTok and WineTok, that is a very real thing that has really embraced and built a very large wine community all from you know, the comfort of people’s couches and wherever they feel like scrolling through their feed. So I guess, do you guys have any most favorite and/or, dare I ask, least favorite virtual spaces that you want to talk about?

Alex Schrecengost 19:36
I will let Laura take that first.

Laura Brown 19:41
Pushing me out in front of the firing squad. No, I’m just kidding. Favorite virtual spaces. I mean, for me, it’s just anything you know, something I found is that anything I have to sign up for—and maybe this is just like a very me thing, I thrive on structure—and so if I have to sign up for it and I have to invest, even if it’s just my time, that has taken up space on my calendar. Those are my favorite kinds of things because I feel invested into it. Whether I went out to my favorite, you know, wine shop and got a bottle that was appropriate for that space or got shipped a bottle, or I had to buy a ticket to this event. For me, being invested into those and investing into these spaces where I know I’m going to get quality content is my personal favorite. The reason I’m saying firing squad is because I am afraid to say this, but my least favorite is actually IG Live. And that is just because I want engagement. For me, again, it’s that investment. And so, the ease of which coming in and out of an IG Live and just kind of throwing in comments and the fact that you don’t get to engage as much because it’s just typing, you know, very fast scrolling comments. And then they’re not accessible to the Deaf community, so I have a hard time with them because until you repost it later and put, you know, usually terrible automated captions on it, it’s not accessible. So that’s just not one that I personally love. But I have made a ton of connections off of them because that is what I engaged with when this all first started. So I am not saying they’re bad at all. Just, as we’ve grown as a virtual wine space, I just personally like that kind of invested, engaged, connected feeling.

Lauren Buzzeo 21:37
That makes complete sense. Alex?

Laura Brown 21:40
I would agree with you, Laura. You know, on the positive side, I’m also a pretty OCD person in terms of my organization, and I like having some structure. And when I see a targeted effort, where they’re they’re making, you know, they’re reaching out, and they’re providing additional information, and they proactively want you to engage and ask questions about the brands they’re promoting, or the initiative—that I love. I really do generally like the more intimate events because there is an opportunity to really ask a lot of questions. But separately, I don’t, you know, me personally, I agree that the IG Lives, you don’t really get to engage and you’re kind of just sitting there watching it. I would say I also, from a webinar perspective, I understand their purpose and I realize there’s thousands of people on it at one time. And there is definitely great opportunity there to promote, to market and to educate. But I also really do like to be able to engage and ask questions in real time and not necessarily have to raise my hand or send it in the chat. And so, you know, those aren’t my favorite forms of communication and wine education, but I still utilize them just the same for the same reasons Laura mentioned. For networking, and for really to understand either a brand or a particular initiative.

And the same reasons that I don’t love them, like the ease of in and out is also why they’re great, though. Because people can casually pop in and learn something and then I got to go cook dinner, you know, so there are positives and negatives. There’s two sides of that coin, for sure.

Lauren Buzzeo 23:13
Totally, you read my mind, Laura, I was gonna say, you know, I think we’re also speaking from perhaps a little bit more of an involved wine perspective. And in terms of what we might be looking for versus some other people, which you’re right, there’s less of an intimidation factor or a pressure factor on those sort of more casual in-out, you’re just a number in the room sort of situations, but you’re picking up information. And that might be exactly what you’re looking for at that time, as opposed to a more engaged opportunity, which certainly I think the three of us would love to get in and have conversations with anyone and everyone about wine so that it definitely makes sense. And you’re right, there’s advantages to every forum. And it just depends on what you’re looking for. So as it pertains to, I guess, building your virtual wine community, you both referenced networking and using these events for networking, but you know, for consumers who are just looking to get more involved in the wine space online, and learn more, taste more, meet more wine people, do you have any suggestions for them on how they can become more actively engaged on that front?

Laura Brown 24:21
You know, I think on my end, something I’ve told my customers time and time again is, you know, don’t let any one person or experience really hold you back. So, to the point that you were saying, everybody really utilizes the different platforms in different ways for different reasons. And if they feel intimidated at a wine shop, or if there’s someone that perhaps doesn’t seem as approachable, I don’t want them to feel that that’s representation of the greater good and that they should be open to exploring still and there’s just so many wonderful people in hospitality and especially in wine that are so kind and patient and genuinely excited to contribute education and feel good about curiosity. So I always, you know, encourage everyone to ask questions, especially when they’re chatting in our events with our talented professionals that we have within the wine industry. I want our guests to actively see the positive changes in the wine industry, for one. But I want a lot of the sommeliers that are in there are reinforcing guests instincts and desires to learn more about wine, they take deeper dives. And we encourage a lot of questions and being interactive, because there really is this worldwide community, and nature of wine that brings so many people together. And we want to create a common ground by telling stories, bringing bottles to life, and really telling about the families behind it, the great moments of wine history, even the technical aspects. Clients are really curious about as now, they’re starting to, you know, buy more cases of wine for their homes, or so I hear. And I was like, that’s really cool. I love it. And it’s more about engaging in that way. And I’ve seen a lot of the the sommelier network that works with us, where they are now working with a lot of our customers in their wine shops, and they’re like, ‘Wow, this person was on the virtual event, and then they came into my wine shop and bought two cases of wine.’ And I think it’s really cool. And I also recommend to folks sometimes starting a collection at any age, or stage, and to just research and really understand what they really like to drink, you know, like Chenin, and thinking about the ideal drink in 2, 5, 10, 20 years. And that it doesn’t need to be expensive in any way. It’s just something that they should start to explore as they educate and discover.

Totally. I love that, Alex. I was gonna say similar things that like, I love hearing, when people, like I said earlier, ask, ‘Where can I get this?’ So I think just utilizing this storytelling platform that we’re all using, in one way or another on different technologies and whatnot. Because those are going to inspire people. And hopefully, those are the things they’re going to remember. And so, to consumers, I would say just if you are curious, or whatever, seek out these kind of opportunities, whether it is through your business, maybe go to your boss or your team lead and say, ‘Hey, I think this would be a really great idea to do a corporate team building event.’ Or we’ve got a big, you know, sale coming up or something like that, to celebrate or to network, and to use wine and cocktails and all sorts of mediums of hospitality as a vehicle for your business. That’s one way because most people have some connection to their company or a group that can utilize either a local sommelier or cicerone, or a professional in the industry. Or they can go to one of these companies to do a virtual event. And then when you find something you like, I mean, I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with this, take a screenshot of them, follow them on social media, shoot your shot, send a message. There is no taboo anymore to me. Maybe I’m just stepping out. But I really think that if you’re interested, just just connect to people and ask questions, and start to follow people on social media. I think social media has been such a positive. I mean, there’s so much negative too, but a positive way to connect with people and start building community that way. And then you’re going to automatically see more opportunities to do that there. And then when you find somebody whose palate you trust, or ‘Oh, they gave me really good advice last time, and I see this new thing and it sounds cool.’ Go out and purchase it and start, just like you said Alex, start building your collection, your palate, according to people that hopefully you’ve found and trusted and that you feel comfortable asking questions to. And if you really want to get into wine, like we’ve all said, there’s so much opportunity for education online and conferences, and IG Lives and there’s free, there’s paid. I mean, truly anybody can get involved at this point. And I think that just signing up for those kinds of things, is a great way and then just connecting with the people who were maybe in your class or on that IG Live or whatever, to let them know that you’re interested.

Alex Schrecengost 29:33
Yeah, you know, honestly, the more personal the wine becomes to to them, it really just creates this wonderful conversation. And it’s a great way to extend your network and your friends in the process. Seeing that overall over the past 18 months, much more so in full force, where they’re discovering and they’re using, you know, digital further wine resources to really connect with others to which is great and it’s spot on with what Laura said.

Laura Brown 30:00
One thing I want to add to, I think as we build our communities, I think the best way to build community in general is, it’s not just about us. And so something I have started to practice is if I admire somebody, or a company, or a winemaker or whomever, again, I will shoot my shot and send them a message. But I will ask, ‘How can I support your business?’ And or how can I support you, and usually, social currency. Sharing about them, sharing what you’ve learned, sharing that you like them, bringing that bottle to your next family gathering, something like that, is a way to start that conversation. And you automatically start building community because your goal was to serve each other and to help each other. And I think when we keep that in mind of like, how can we support each other, we automatically are just kind of putting out that vibe. We’re attracting that vibe of community.

Lauren Buzzeo 30:58
I think that that’s a super interesting point, and thank you so much for bringing it up. Because I think that it also speaks to why there are kind of no rules anymore in terms of engagement, and communications in the virtual space. Because I think that there is so much more understanding of the need for building and embracing your wine community. And that that’s authentically expressed in engagement that you have with other people online, or in your closet. But it’s that real understanding of, again, really being true to yourself, and what you believe in and authentically representing that externally, no matter where you are, that is really starting to shine for me in the virtual wine world. And why I think it’s just so enticing to so many more people than ever before.

Laura Brown 31:48
Absolutely. But there aren’t those boxes anymore. Maybe they’re they’re still perceived, or maybe some people still want to hold on to them, of course. There’s always going to be people who don’t want to blow that up. But really and truly, I think that anybody can grasp wine, beer, whiskey, whatever their interest is, in a way that is unique to them, just like what you said, Lauren. And if they want to pursue that as a hobby or as a professional, I just think that people are really looking for something unique. And combining your passions within those realms is more than welcome.

Yep. But you know, these experiences too, they’re really they make it memorable, and it’s a lot about it is about fostering interpersonal relationships. And, you know, being open to it and really creating these networking experiences that also tie in education and fun. And, you know, food and beverage holistically is such a wonderful opportunity. And it really is opening up so many doors and expanding and bringing people together that may not have been together professionally before this. And I hope that it stays that way because it really is all about inclusivity and about culture and having some diversity, or a lot of diversity rather, across the board. It really does allow you to engage with so many different types of personalities to learn and explore and try something new.

Lauren Buzzeo 33:16
Definitely. And above all, also taste, taste taste, right? It’s one thing to hear and learn and see pictures, but you also got to get out and grab those bottles and experience those glasses on your palate and find your preference firsthand. That is something that we just cannot do virtually. You have to have that experience. So ladies, thank you so much for joining me today. I really appreciate the conversation. I know that we will see each other online in more of these spaces. And certainly hopefully our audience will also be following along with you and others on these new frontiers of virtual wine enjoyment. But in the meantime, again, thank you so much, and I appreciate everything you guys share today.

Laura Brown 34:07
Absolutely, thank you.

Lauren Buzzeo 34:12
I am definitely ready to raise a glass to all of the people who create, moderate, champion and support all of these important spaces. There’s clearly a ton of possibility and excitement around the rise of virtual wining and building one community online. From casual posts to audio apps to seminars and classes, and more. There’s a world of opportunity for more people to come however they choose whenever they choose from wherever they are to the greater wine table. Subscribe to the Wine Enthusiast Podcast on iTunes, Google podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you find podcasts. If you like today’s episode, we’d love to read your review and hear what you think. And hey, why not tell your wine loving friends to check us out too. You can also drop us a line at For more wine reviews, recipes guides, deep dives and stories, visit Wine Enthusiast online at and connect with us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @WineEnthusiast. You can also read more about all of our 40 Under 40 Tastemakers of 2021 online or by picking up a copy of the October issue, out now. The Wine Enthusiast Podcast is produced by Lauren Buzzeo and Jenny Groza. Until next episode, cheers.

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