Virtual vineyard to debut at Matthew Clark wine tasting

Matthew Clark trade tasting

A “virtual” vineyard wine tasting experience is set to be part of the line-up at the annual trade tasting run by leading on-trade drinks supplier Matthew Clark.

Taking place at Tobacco Dock in east London on March 8, the Discover Love Inspire 2016 portfolio tasting will be its biggest event yet, with over 500 wines hand selected by Matthew Clark’s team of wine specialists.

New to this year’s trade tasting, the virtual vineyard tasting will offer customers the chance to taste wines while wearing virtual reality headgear, taking them through a fully immersive vineyard environment.

The experience will provide visitors with a 360-degree view of an entire vineyard complete with ambient background sound as they taste through a selection of Matthew Clark’s Generator Bar range.

Participants will also be invited to take part in an interactive taste test during the experience where they will be asked to match the wines they see on the virtual tour to those they are simultaneously tasting “in real life”. Those that correctly guess the varietals will be entered in a draw to win a case of wine from the event.

Matthew Clark’s experiential manager Eleanor Webb said: “Discover Love Inspire aims to wow London’s on-trade with this virtual reality tasting. Our prediction is that virtual reality will be an ever-growing trend in the on-trade as outlets seek increasingly exciting dining and drinking experiences for their customers.

“It’s about providing a new dimension to wine tasting and giving the on-trade a new way of approaching wine. We’re hoping to be able to offer this experience to our customers to use in their outlets in the near future.”

The 2015 portfolio tasting attracted over a 1,000 members of the trade, up 39% on 2014, and this year’s showcase promises to be even bigger and better with top name producers and premium wines from all corners of the world.

This year’s event will include over 180 newly added premium wines, with a particular focus on new wines from Spain, France and Italy. A surge in demand for Old World classics has seen Matthew Clark bring on several new Spanish, Italian and French wineries in the last six months, including the cutting edge selection from Spanish producer Casa Rojo, award-winning Chianti producer Vicchiomaggio, top Burgundy producer Remoissenet Père & Fils, renowned Rhône winery Dauvergne Ranvier and one of the very best artisan Champagne houses Champagne Doyard.

A line-up of masterclasses on champagne, prosecco and cava will be run by a top selection of wine makers, producers and industry experts throughout the day. Champagne Taittinger will be taking a lucky few through A Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Futuretech, the first masterclass of its kind to be held outside of France, offering customers the opportunity to taste the future and current vintages of its icon cuvée, in a seminar led by the young and dynamic managing director of Champagne Taittanger Damien Le Sueurthe.

Customers will also have the opportunity to blend their own Rioja Reserva with Jesús Madrazo, head winemaker at leading winery Contino – the closest blend will be awarded a signed magnum. Port aficionados will also be taken through a range of old Tawny Port by George Sandeman who will be showcasing a selection from his library stock.

To inspire, customers will be invited to attend a discussion with the new generation behind some of France’s top wine estates. Domaine Jean Luc Colombo’s young winemaker Laure Colombo, deputy general manager of Domaine Louis Jadot’s Thibault Gagey and Champagne Taittinger’s marketing director Vitalie Taittinger will discuss what inspired them to follow in their fathers’ footsteps, providing unique insight into their world and future plans for their wineries. This seminar will also present trade customers with the chance of winning a trip to the Jean Luc Colombo winery.

Matthew Clark’s wine purchasing director Simon Jerrome said: “2015 saw many positive changes for Matthew Clark as a business and wine distributor. With so many new premium producers joining our range over the past 12 months, exciting times lie ahead.

“Our team has meticulously put together a must attend event that is carefully tailored to our customers’ varied interests. Whether it’s advice on developing commercially successful wine lists, ideas for revamping old menus or tips on pairing wines to foods of all cuisines, there really will be something for everyone. Add in the opportunities to meet top producers and explore new varieties, styles and regions, and you have all the ingredients for a day to remember.”

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