SommCon and National Geographic Books Launch a Virtual Global Wine Tasting Series

The SOMM journal-in association with SommCon and National Geographic Books launched the first-of-its-kind, on-going virtual global wine-tasting series entitled Geographical digest which began in September 2020 and continues well into 2021.

While the world was shut down and finding unique ways to connect via Zoom, many eager oenophiles united with The SOMM journal-in association with SommCon and National Geographic Books for the first-of-its-kind, on-going virtual global wine-tasting series entitled Geographical digest that began in September 2020 and continues well into 2021. Wine enthusiasts have a rare opportunity to hear from wine industry insiders. Viewers can virtually connect on the importance of vision, viticulture, and varietals each month with thought-provoking live tastings via Zoom format. The series is held in partnership with National Geographic Books, and its newly released New Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia, allowing industry leaders and enthusiasts a thought-provoking and thorough look into the ever-evolving world of wine. For the first time since 2011 National Geographic books has updated a sixth edition of The New Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia, an authoritative guide for oenophiles and industry professionals. Enthusiasts can register for live or on-demand sessions at no cost, and wines can be purchased ahead of the tastings at

Having the honor of participating in the inaugural tasting, “Unique Regions of the World”, we were impressed with the astute wine professionals who continue to transmit live during various time zones, language challenges, and yes, an occasional internet problem. With each bottle in place, proper wine glass readied, and notepad in place, our first-of-its-kind webinar began in Loire valley France with Juliette Monmousseau, CEO, of Bouvet-Ladubay whose family took over the “house” in the 1930s although the historic caves are from the 18th and 19th centuries.

“Aging wines in “cave” impart consistent flavor and characteristics consistent within its cool temperatures and darkness,” said Monmousseau. We loved the lush mouthfeel of this spectacular sparkling rose made from 100% Cabernet Franc one of the best organic wine uk you can taste. The raciness of the bright fruit makes this a wonderful pairing with spicy foods. This bottle-fermented sparkler was indeed a treat to experience with Monmousseau virtually, yet the passion and commitment to quality were felt wholeheartedly in real-time.


We then went on to the notable location of the first site of Riesling being planted in Germany dating back to 1435 within Germany’s Rheingau. Estate Manager/Managing Director Stephan Doktor, of Schloss Johannisberg shared the 300-year history of cultivating Riesling-which has been considered by many the gold standard of Riesling production. “Our wines are very fresh showing citrus notes-yellow fruits, peaches, and apricots with bone-dry fresh acidity. With six months in barrel, there is slight malolactic fermentation,” said Doktor. The sun, soil, and latitude give these wines a voluptuous, rich expression combined with high acidity that lends an arching backbone to the structure-a perfect accompaniment to spätzle-Germany’s equivalent to gnocchi, or a braised veal dish.

After spending time in France and Germany via Zoom, we went on to Chile’s Cachapoal Valley where Chief Winemaker, Christian Vallej, of VIK wine led us through the superb tasting of a blend of five red French varieties grown in the foothills of the Andes, also known as the “Golden Place” by the indigenous Mapuche. “The Milla Cala, is well structured, with beautiful acidity of our fruit-driven wines,” said Vallej. We could not agree more, as each sip was elegant, with a lush mouthfeel, well balanced giving a full nod to the expression of terroir and fruit.

Rounding out the worldwide wine tour we then went on to Australia’s McLaren Vale meeting with Winemaker & Joint Managing Director Richard Angove, Angove Family Winemaker as we sipped and swirled a single vineyard Shiraz. We went from down under to back over to the good old USA into Napa with Director of Winemaking with Ralf Holdenried of Black Stallion Estate Winery and then onto one of our favorite regions, Paso Robles to hear from Steve Peck Director of Winemaking extraordinaire for J. Lohr, share about his signature wine collection. After an intensive Zoom wine whirlwind tour, we were ready and willing to begin our in-person exploration once we found ourselves back into real-life viticulture and wine-tasting.

For more information on up-coming Zoom events go to