If someone had told me in 2019 that I’d be teaching wine seminars online, I’d have thought they were nuts. If someone had told me that I’d enjoy teaching wine seminars online, I’d have thought I was nuts. But with more than 30 online wine seminars now under my belt, I feel they’re a silver lining in our recent stormy clouds.
When lockdown began, The Chopping Block looked beyond our kitchens to yours, to get you cooking with online instruction. Now, TCB offers both hybrid classes (with both live and virtual guests), as well as online-only seminars ranging from sushi to steak and, of course, wine! In May, with the closing of our Merchandise Mart kitchens and renovation of our Lincoln Square facility, we’ll offer one month of virtual-only classes.
Here are some reasons I recommend that you join the fun of an online wine seminar:
Have It Your Way
There’s a lot to be said for Chicago’s bright lights and big city excitement, but they may come with hassle, including parking, traffic, and can I tell you how much my ride share cost last week?! An online seminar is low-stress entertainment to be enjoyed in the luxe of your own sofa and bunny slippers. Your seminar can be background during dinner prep and other duties, or a focused dive into wine appreciation. It can be a quiet affair or a party: I regularly welcome solo guests as well as groups who attend as a warm-up to post-seminar get-togethers over several time zones. I even have groups who join from different countries. There’s plenty of inspiration to get the conversation going after signing off!
With discussion and tasting (yes, we taste wine!) enhanced by slide presentations, a virtual seminar can give you unique glimpses into wine, with graphics displaying the world’s most expensive bottle, Italy’s Alpine vineyards, the man who “invented” Pinot Grigio and videos like the foot-stomping of grapes (the real thing, not Lucy Riccardo’s rendition, one of the funniest bits from classic TV.)
Registration for The Chopping Block’s hybrid and virtual seminars is per screen, so invite as many folks as you’d like.
At Your Convenience
Recordings of these seminars are available to guests for one week.
To attend a virtual wine seminar, check out our class calendar. In "Keywords", search for Mary Ross for my classes specifically, or change the "Categories" to "Wine/Cocktail" for all beverage-focused classes. Reserve your spot and get ready to receive the registration information, which includes specific wines (to be purchased at The Chopping Block or through your own wine merchant), as well as general substitutes if you can’t locate a specific label. You’ll also receive a packet with a class outline, guidance on wine service and suggested noshes to have available for your wine tasting.
Day-of, choose an area with comfortable seating, good internet reception, little background noise and space for your wines and glasses. (For a 5-wine seminar, we recommend 2-3 glasses per person; for a 3-wine seminar, we recommend 1-3 glasses per person.) Since you may not be driving, you won’t need a spit cup! Have your order number from your confirmation email handy to provide to our moderator when the seminar begins. Guests participate as they choose: on or off video; interacting with questions and comments thru the chat function or sometimes unmuting or just observing.
At the seminar’s end, just kick back and enjoy your wine and your noshes, with no hassle and no worry of DUI.
To get all of your questions answered about our virtual classes, see: Virtual Class FAQs .
For a complete list of TCB’s virtual classes, click here. Here are just a few upcoming classes I'd love to see you on the screen for!
- Virtual The Vineyards of France Saturday, March 26 6pm CST
- Virtual Wine Lands of Spain Saturday, April 2 6pm CST
- Virtual Culinary Heaven: Wine & Cheese Pairing Saturday, April 23 6pm CST