This post is about a “popup” wine tasting that took place during my UK Tour with Naked Wines in 2011.
What is a pop up tasting?
Whereas most wine tastings are organized weeks or months ahead of time, popups are spontaneous and ephemeral.
Organizers of conventional tastings will spend a lot of energy picking the perfect venue, getting the word out, finding a way to get the wine to the venue, organizing for tables and glasses and spitoons, and a lot of other work. Pop up tastings however are more guerilla-styled. They just pop up out of nowhere in the middle of workplaces, parks, and other public places.
How spontaneous is a pop up tasting?
They are usually organized quickly and they are always announced at the last minute. Like a flash mob with wine.
Our first pop up wine tasting was organized on the bus ride from London to Bristol. Derek from Naked Wines put out a tweet asking who would be up for a little wine tasting in the afternoon. Less than 140 characters later, we had a cool venue on the line.
It was really kitschy. We had the tasting outside a couple of retro Airstream campers that had been outfitted to serve food and drinks on the astroturf outside this office park in the creative district of Bristol.
Lots of design firms, communication agencies, and “new media” types. It’s the perfect setting for this kind of guerilla tasting.
Why pop ups are a good idea?
On one level, they just make good sense because they’re low cost, low investment, and high payout. You have to realize we were already in Bristol. We already had the wine. We had the glasses. We had the winemakers. And we have freetime in the afternoon. So with a couple of tweets and a few phone calls, we get a very fun event with a high level of engagement from the participants.
On another level, popup tastings are just super fun and bring back a feeling of flight and fancy to the wine world which sometimes takes itself too seriously. Wine tastings can appear to be too formal and a bit pretentious. Nothing removes the pretense like a couple young guys running around an aluminum caravan shouting “Afternoon wine tasting!” “Surprise wine tasting!”