Liquor Commission Presents 90 Days Around The World Tasting Series

Matt Ingersoll

In lieu of its annual Wine Week and Distiller’s Week, both of which bring hundreds of the world’s esteemed winemakers and spirit purveyors to the Granite State for several nights of tastings and seminars, the New Hampshire Liquor Commission is now bringing them to you from the comfort of your own home. The inaugural 90 Days Around the World program, which began on Nov. 2 and will continue through Jan. 30, features a three-month series of free virtual tastings, Q&A sessions and other interactive events with winemakers and distillers near and far.

“We knew it would be impossible to host the same events that we have in the past … but we still wanted to support that engagement with our customers, who continue to want to learn about our product offerings,” said Lorrie Piper, director of sales, marketing, merchandising and distribution for the New Hampshire Liquor Commission.

Each day during the program, participants can visit and click on the “events” tab, where they’ll find a link to a virtual tasting or Q&A session that will be livestreamed on the Commission’s Facebook page and via Zoom. Most of them also include information about the purveyor and which wines and spirits will be discussed and tasted.

Those tuning in live can engage in the conversation by posting comments or questions to the video, but even if you miss one you wanted to watch, Piper said, all of the videos are archived.

“We’ll be monitoring the videos after they get posted, so we encourage people to still reach out, ask questions and make comments,” she said.

Several industry professionals who have travelled to New Hampshire for Distiller’s Week or Wine Week in the past have returned for this new virtual series. Among them is Jane Bowie, director of innovation at Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, Kentucky, who was a featured panelist at the Women of Whiskey & Spirits seminar during last year’s Distiller’s Week.

On Nov. 5, Bowie, along with Maker’s Mark master distiller Denny Potter, led an interactive virtual discussion and tasting of four of the company’s spirits.

“It’s not as personal, but you do get to talk to and reach a lot more people in this format,” Bowie said in a phone interview. “I almost think you can get more engagement in this scenario, because people are tasting from their homes. They’re in their natural environment and may not be as nervous about asking questions as they might be from a more orchestrated tasting.”

Some tastings planned for later on in the series will also feature live cooking demonstrations, meant to showcase food pairing suggestions with wines and spirits. In mid-January, winemaker Lisa Evich of Simi Winery in Sonoma County, California, will host a joint virtual cooking demonstration and tasting with executive chef Kolin Vazzoler.

Evich is a two-time past attendee of the Winter Wine Spectacular and has also participated in several dinners at local restaurants that have featured Simi’s products during Wine Week.

“Sonoma County is just such an incredibly diverse region to grow grapes in with nice lush flavors,” Evich said in a phone interview. “Kolin does an outstanding job of creating dishes that really complement and showcase what our wines are all about.”

Throughout the 90-day series, participants have the opportunity to earn points that would accumulate toward their chance to win multiple prizes and giveaways. You can start earning points by downloading the free Scavify app, which Piper said acts as a virtual “passport” for each event you tune into. Once you create an account through the app, you’ll earn points by getting a “stamp” in your passport.

Points can be accumulated by attending as many events as possible or by completing tasks, such as posting pictures of your favorite spirits or wines or correctly answering trivia questions. Some of the larger prizes, Piper said, include a $2,500 New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlet gift card and a guide to build your own home bar, including tools and accessories.