VIVANT, a sustainable wine live streaming service, is determined to amplify responsible winemakers through virtual live experiences

By Chantelle Billson | 17 Dec 2020 | Indulge

The online service is set to accelerate the future of sustainable wine by bringing exquisite wine tastings to the comfort of your own home

img tempus
* VIVANT is a winery determined to reduce the carbon footprint of physical travel

In 2020 the importance of maintaining and looking after our environment has become of great importance. Founded by Michael Baum at Château de Pommard in 2019, VIVANT is a winery determined to reduce the carbon footprint of physical travel by offering virtual wine tastings dubbed 'Live Experiences' that bring responsibly produced wines to the comfort of your home. During these 'Live Experiences', participants from around the world use so-called 'Experience Kits' – sent to them individually by VIVANT – to taste along in real-time, and in doing so have the chance to meet and interact with other members during the 30-60 minute sessions.

The experiences are hosted by expert wine advisors, all of whom are certified by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and all of whom are available any time of the day or night to assist VIVANT members via the ‘Team VIVANT’ chat function, which is located on the bottom right-hand side of the website.

VIVANT's mission, as they put it, is to educate its members on the importance of responsibly made wines. As such, in a bid to promote more sustainable winemaking practices, 1% of VIVANT’s membership fees and wine purchases go to 1% For Wine, an innovative scheme to fund research and build a responsible future for the industry.

The service launched this week by offering experiences from three esteemed wine regions – Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Loire Valley – and I was excited to try the experience kit I had been sent named 'The Art of Blending in Bordeaux'. VIVANT collaborates with responsible winemakers only, and thus all of its wines are free from synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, and I wanted to discover not only if sustainable wines tasted better, but if a wine tasting could be conducted successfully via a virtual stream.

Enclosed in a sleek white experience box, made of sustainable materials, were six wine tasting bottles along with instructions on how to join the tasting session. My first impression, from appearances alone, was that VIVANT is an exclusive brand and one which cares about all aspects of what they do. And from the moment I joined the 'Bordeaux' livestream, led by London-based Bordeaux expert Oliver Bouchard, I was completely engaged in the tasting.

img tempus
* VIVANT's experiences feature interactive games in which members can earn 'Tasting Points' and 'Wine IQ Points'

Bouchard started by laying out the schedule for the evening before ensuring that we had our wines poured and ready to taste. During this evening’s session we would taste four of the six wines in our box, under the flattering assumption that after tasting four we would know how to correctly taste test the two left over. After listening to an overview of the first bottle – the Clos Puy Arnaud Grand Vin 2016 (£36.00) – its producer Thierry Valette provided further background information on how he produces his environmentally friendly wines through a prerecorded video.

Re-entering the livestream seamlessly, Bouchard then prepared us by explained the process of tasting, while also asking us to participate in a multiple-choice questionnaire to test our knowledge. This is one of many features of VIVANT that sets it apart from its competitors; its experiences feature interactive games in which members can earn 'Tasting Points' and 'Wine IQ Points' as part of its innovative 'Interactive Tasting Method'.

The questions appeared on screen for each wine we tasted: What colour is the wine? Brown, purplish red, ruby, garnet or brick-red? What do you smell and taste? Spices, lactic, red fruits, citrus fruits or oak? How would you rate the quality of the wine? High, medium or low?

Being faced with these questions allowed me to reflect on the wines I had tasted thus far, analysing the complexity of each sip. The first of the three wines that followed was the Chateau Peybonhomme-les-tour Energies 2017 (£19.00), crafted by the brother-sister team of Guillaume and Rachel at Hubert, an environmentally conscious producer that has been operating since 1890. The robust black fruit of the Energies was my least favourite of the samples I tried during the session, but I could still appreciate the purity and minerality of its finish.

Next on the list was Hubert’s Chateau La Grolet Tete de Cuvee 2017 (£16.00), a blend of 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec. I thoroughly enjoyed this wine, which was rich with thick tannins and sported a punchy, full-bodied bouquet. But last came a jewel of a wine - the Clos Puy Arnaud Les Ormeaux 2016 (£18.00). Bouchard too seemed most fond of this one, which was full of vibrant fruits that lingered on the palate, and which is the brainchild of Thierry Valette, an eco-friendly producer based in the rolling hills outside Castillon-la-Bataille.

img tempus
* VIVANT's experiences are hosted by expert wine advisors, all of whom are certified by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust

Entering VIVANT's live experience with a fondness for wine - but not a huge amount of knowledge - I was hoping that the tasting would educate me further. And throughout the tasting, Bouchard explained the complexities of each wine in an easily digestible manner, while engagement was retained with fun interactive questions which cemented in the user the method behind how to properly taste and appreciate wine.

I take away from this experience knowledge that I did not have before; I now understand the importance of sustainable and responsibly made wines, and believe that VIVANT's immersive virtual experiences are the way forward for tasting and supporting sustainable wine. VIVANT's live experiences are a wonderful experience for everyone from rookie wine lovers to trained connoisseurs, and help promote smaller producers who could go on to be your lifelong favourites.

Related: A taste of glamour: Venice International Film Festival