I lined up six bottles of wine, turned on my laptop, and entered the password that came inside the shipping box. So began a virtual wine tasting, streamed live on the Internet from Waltham.
From my hotel here, three friends and I watched British sommeliers James Booth and Ben Llewelyn as they led a tasting from Gordon's Fine Wine & Liquors on Moody Street in Waltham. The password allowed me to create a screen name. It also gave us access to a chat room filled with other wine enthusiasts who'd ordered the same six bottles of wine.
Within minutes, approximately 100 participants, in groups of four to 14 from around the United States, were getting guidance from the sommeliers, tasting the wines, and typing madly. Some were well-versed in wine lingo, others clearly novices:
Apr 14 20:01:22 Red Oak Red head:
Do you guys find this wine at all vegetal? Apr 14 20:01:43 erin:
definitely vegetal Apr 14 20:01:46 Debra:
what do you mean by vegetal? Apr 14 20:01:57 Red Oak Red head:
Like bell pepper
This is nothing. In a few years, robots will be tasting our wine FOR us.