Wine tasting is a fine art. Well, at least it is for some. But it can also be a great team-building activity, even if you and your colleagues aren’t connoisseurs. A virtual wine-tasting party is a tasty, educational way to connect with your coworkers and enjoy a good vintage or two while you’re at it. 

A virtual wine tasting party – as the name suggests – can be enjoyed at a distance, so even if you have a team that works in different parts of the globe, you can still share an after-work drink and gain some insight into the mastery of winemaking with the help of an expert.

A recent survey revealed that good employee retention can maximize company profits up to four times. As an employer, that makes simple financial sense. And employee engagement is one of the most effective ways to build a better working environment and instill a sense of belonging, making better retention a natural conclusion.

In the digital age, where everything happens faster and everyone is exposed to a barrage of media and information every day, keeping your workforce interested and engaged can be a challenge.

But media and digital tools can be used to your advantage. Used creatively, they can enhance working relationships, build morale, and boost productivity when you need them most.

Team building has transformed since the rise of digital communications. Teams don’t necessarily work in the same office anymore.

In fact, many companies have employees scattered around the globe. That can make traditional team building impossible.

However, the digital connection is coming to the rescue, and depending on how you look at it, there are even more opportunities to connect with your coworkers now than there were when you all shared an office.

Here are 11 variations on virtual wine-tasting parties that take team building and engagement to new heights, boosting your retention strategy with a healthy splash of fun on the side.

1. The Wine and Food Pairing Experience

Besides great company, the one thing that goes exceptionally well with a glass of good wine is great food.

Whether your wine expert pairs a selection of exotic cheeses with the wines on the menu or enlists your team to create their own lavishly prepared culinary adventure, the shared sensory experience of classic food and wine pairing will get your team hyped up about the new flavor sensations they experience and excited about enjoying the menu together.

2. A Historical Wine Tour

There is a story behind every flavor, every note, and every region that brought the wine to your table with good wine. Take your team on a journey through the history and stories behind the wines on offer with a virtual wine tour that has no limitations in terms of distance or travel costs.

With the guidance of a resident wine expert, your virtual wine-tasting party can take the team to Portugal for an educated taste of Vinho Verde; to Stellenbosch in South Africa’s Western Cape for a sun-drenched Sauvignon Blanc; or to the French Madiran Winelands for a tale of two Tannats.

Travel the globe together while you sample the tastes of the world and enjoy all the tales to be told – safely from the comfort of your home or office.

3. Drink and Draw

Many argue that both fine art and fine wine are entirely subjective. If anything, at least we can say that putting wine and art together is a great way to put that argument to the test. Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, so challenge your team to put their artistic prowess to the test while you all provide constructive critiques on each other’s artwork and taste in wine.

4. Wine Blending

Not every wine is one-dimensional. In fact, many of the best wines are made from a combination of different grapes, vintages, and shades of red, white, or somewhere in between.

With the help of a knowledgeable blending expert, test your team’s creativity by allowing them to create their own personal brand of wine. Think of it as chemistry, but a lot more fun than what any of us got to do in high school. 

5. The Chocaholic Challenge

Much like fine food, great chocolate is also the perfect complement to a glass of world-class wine.

Chocolate and wine are both somewhat guilty pleasures, designed with pure enjoyment. And when the right combination of a certain chocolate variation is paired with a glass of complimentary wine, your team will happily let their hair down while they savor two of the world’s best-loved flavors.

6. The Wine Mixer

Wine is not for drinking alone. It can form a crucial ingredient in some of the world’s tastiest dishes, desserts, and even unexpected cocktails. This experience brings a wine and cooking expert together to enlighten your team about wine’s other uses – but of course, all while they sip on a great glass of wine as they learn.

From a classic French boeuf bourguignon to a cabernet cupcake or sangria with a twist, set your team’s creativity free with a magic mixer evening that allows them to explore wine as a blank canvas to be transformed into edible – or drinkable – art. 

7. Trivial Tasting

The traditional pub quiz takes on a slightly different flavor. Instead, a quiz master runs a competitive quiz divided into categories – like sports, general knowledge, history, pop culture, music, or whatever else you think your team would be the most competitive at.

Every round has a bonus question, specifically centered around wine. And anyone that answers the wine question correctly wins a bottle chosen by the resident wine expert.

In between rounds, the team takes in a touch of culture as the wine expert enlightens them on intriguing wine-related trivia from around the world, while they sip on glasses of their own.

8. The Guessing Game

Well, the term “guessing” is used somewhat loosely here because guesses can be educated. Add a new dimension to your wine-tasting party by sending each team member three wines with their labels removed. Based on the color coding created by the wine expert, only they will know what the mystery wines are.

Following a crash course in wine, team members then have to describe the flavor of each mystery wine in their own words (think, “hints of raspberry with a slight twist of fresh grass”).

Team members score each other based on the quality and creativity of their descriptions. Next, everyone must guess the price of each of their mystery wines. Whoever comes closest to the actual price wins a bonus bottle of the same wine.

9. Wine tasting Workshop

Rockoly hosts an interactive wine-tasting workshop, perfect for oenophiles, budding connoisseurs, and even complete strangers to the concept of wine. Not everybody has the opportunity – or inclination – necessarily, to explore the diverse tastes and textures wine has to offer.

No matter what your level of expertise is, a wine-tasting workshop can be for everyone. It’s not about how much you know; more about how much you enjoy the experience.

Hosted by expert sommeliers, your team will learn the history of winemaking, discover the process, and enjoy tasting some of Spain and Italy’s finest wines. Everything your team needs is delivered to their door to take out any of the preparation hassles.

Want to create a more cultural experience? Include a charcuterie board and enjoy a cheese and wine that won’t soon be forgotten.

10. Wine Scavenger Hunt

For your next virtual wine-tasting party, create an online scavenger hunt for your team. Research wines of the world and create a quiz that team members must race against the clock to complete. Include facts about regions, history, popular wines, and winemaking styles – whatever tickles your fancy.

Not only can your team enjoy an evening of sipping their favorite vino, but they can also learn a thing or two as well. If you want to make it a little more competitive and made for the virtual realm, use a platform like Kahoot! to create quizzes, Hangman games, or crosswords where the clues line up with things related to the wine trivia game.

You could even personalize your quiz so that it relates to the team members taking part in the activity. “Anyone knows who drinks the most coffee before 10 am?” – That would be Brad in Accounting.

There are endless options you could have fun creating that will keep your team members engaged and laughing. And as Hollywood legend Milton Berle said, “Laughter is an instant vacation”.

11. Odd Couples

There is a certain snobbery around what wines should go with what food. But there is no reason you and your virtual wine-tasting party mates cannot come up with some zany wine pairing and prove to the world that anything goes.

Fancy a nice Chardonnay and peanut butter sandwich? How about a robust Cabernet Sauvignon paired with Domino’s finest offering? Why should there be any limits? This is an opportunity for your team to test their creativity – or maybe a touch of insanity. Either way, it’s a game that will get everyone into great spirits.

12. Draw the Label

Think you have an eye for detail? Put it to the test on paper, and get your team to draw the wine label of their choice. A lot of design and thought goes into designing wine labels, and you’ll find that, even if they look pretty straightforward on the surface, there are probably loads of hidden detail that will be challenging to capture.

This is a relaxing, fun exercise that lets everyone flex their creative muscles for a change. All you need is a few bottles of wine, some paper, and pencils, and you’re good to go!

13. Destination: Wine

Different wines of the world all have their distinctive personality and flavor. So, choose a region – say, South Africa, Australia, Spain, or Italy, and stock up on wines from that specific part of the world, then create a menu to accompany it that is specific to that area and pair it with your selection of wines.

So, if you decide that Italy is your destination for the evening, your menu could include a selection of pestos, pasta, pizzas, or delicious Italian bread.

If you decide on France, pair your French wines with classic French dishes, like escargot, Bouillabaisse, Quiche Lorraine, or French onion soup. This game has the potential to turn into a memorable evening out with the unique country of your choice at the center of the experience.

Encourage your co-workers to get into the spirit of things by donning traditional clothing from your country of choice, and you can even top the evening off with a quiz using trivia from the country on the menu. A few tremendous wine-producing countries to consider:

  • Spain
  • Italy
  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • South Africa
  • France
  • Portugal
  • Argentina
  • China
  • The United States
  • Chile
  • Germany

14. Cheeses of the World

Nothing pairs with wine quite so well as good cheese. And we don’t mean the kind you get on a burger at Wendy’s. Cheeses come in almost 2000 different variations worldwide, and every variation has a style of its own.

Pair a classic French Chardonnay with rich, soft camembert. Next, match creamy gorgonzola with a complementary Riesling. Finally, relish in a Roquefort with a spicy Sauternes wine or a Tawny Port.

With so many cheeses of the world to choose from and so many different wines to potentially pair them with, this simple activity can turn into an all-out taste sensation that simultaneously explores the arts of wine and cheese making.

15. Design a Label

This one is a great way to get your co-workers behind your company’s culture and consider the values that make your organization so unique. Compile a list of the attributes that define your company and send the list to everyone who’ll be joining the team-building session.

Next, brief the team on their project: To design a wine label of their own for a designated vintage with flavors that match your company values – i.e. zesty, strong, smooth, etc.

Supply each team member with the art equipment they need to bring their vision to life and host a vote at the end of the session to see which design wins the game.

To top it off and give special kudos to the winner, you can have a few labels printed after the activity, so the team has keepsakes to hold onto.

16. House Rules

At the beginning of the session, have every team member anonymously make a rule. For example, whenever someone scratches their nose, they have to take a sip of their wine, or if anyone says the word “work”, they have to take a sip – and so on.

The team can be as creative or whacky as they like with their rules. How about clucking like a chicken if you cough or saying “I am a tiger, ROAARR” before every drink?

This is a silly game that is an excellent complement to a quiz evening or even a traditional wine tasting. It adds an extra dose of laughter and mirth to the event as it is likely to leave everyone with a silly grin on their faces.

17. Wine Charades

Wine Charades is a boozy twist on an old classic. And the game is pretty much locked, loaded, and ready to use (you’ll find the download link in this description).

It’s easy and fun to play. Each team gets three minutes and shares as many clues as possible, based on the wine-related words on the cards, only they can’t say the actual word. If they do, they’re disqualified from the round.

Anything goes. You can provide your clues using words, actions, dance moves, singing, or anything else that conveys the message. Download your set of wine Charades cards here.

18. Word Crash

This is a simple drinking game that can be played alongside other games, like quizzes, art challenges, or anything else that comes to mind.

The premise is relatively straightforward. Get your team to create a list of ” taboo ” words for the evening. So, for example, if anyone says the word “chicken”, if it’s one of the words on the list, they have to have a glass of wine.

The more words and the more team members that contribute, the better. This game can get quite merry, so be prepared for a lot of laughter.

19. Wine Bingo

This is another wine-related twist on a classic old game. Each player gets a card with a series of wine-related words on it. As your Wine tasting party event progresses, players need to listen out for the words they have on their cards during the discussion and cross them out, one by one.

Whoever gets all the words on their card crossed out first yells “BINGO!” and wins a great bottle of wine. Download a set of free wine Bingo cards to print out here.

20. Pick your pleasure with Rockoly

Rockoly creates tailor-made wine and food-tasting experiences designed for virtual team-building events. If you have a particular game you would like incorporated into your wine-tasting experience.

The Rockoly team will make it happen for you. And at the same time, you can learn all about the best wines from the greatest wine-producing countries in the world, like:

Red Wines of Spain

Experience the best and most powerful red wines from Spain, a country seen as “the new old world” by wine connoisseurs. You will discover the secrets of Spanish winemaking while tasting famous vintages from La Rioja and Ribera del Duero.

Vino Italiano

Italy, the home of Michelangelo, the opera, and Ferrari sports cars, is also a country that makes incredible food and wine. Wines like Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Amarone, and Barolo are the perfect treat for your team. It’s almost like a guided walk through a Tuscan Vineyard!

Rockoly’s wine experts are in the art of wine tasting and will educate your team by picking out the subtle flavors present in each variation on the menu.

Here’s what they have to say about their unique relationships with the fine wines of the world:

Sommelier Angelo

Wine tasting party is an incredible journey. Something special about it makes it different from any other drink or food. It is sophisticated and fun, sage and cheerful – just like the experiences I share with my guests. So let us discover this fantastic drink that has delighted us since dawn.

Sommelier Domenic

When learning about wines, there are no questions that shouldn’t be asked. I love to share my wine knowledge and believe there is wine for everyone and every dish. The fun is the journey of finding that particular wine. So let’s take the trip together.

Wine tasting party is an age-old tradition that has brought people together for centuries. The first evidence of wine production is said to have been found as long ago as 6000 BC. Wine is a celebratory drink shared at weddings, social gatherings, and even churches.

It is meant to be enjoyed together, and from a team-building perspective, it’s fantastic to get your co-workers out of the work mindset for a little one.

Get in touch with Rockoly to plan your custom-designed team-building session with the help of team-building experts’ unique flavor of fun.

Nicola Killops

Nicola Killops

Nicola is a former teacher and lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. She now writes full-time, with her partner, Justin. Nicola loves food, music, travel, and is a proud human and pet mom.