Master Sommelier Brett Zimmerman shows how to produce a virtual tasting video — by example.

Master Sommelier Brett Zimmerman at home in Boulder, Colorado.

Master Sommelier Brett Zimmerman, owner of the Boulder Wine Merchant, may be best known among wine lovers across the country for his Boulder Burgundy Festival. The gathering would have celebrated its 10th anniversary this year.

But some in the wine trade will remember that the early years of his career as a master were spent focused on his passion for the wines of Italy.

Knowing that he’s a big fan of its wines, a few weeks ago my client Antica Casa Scarpa reached out to Brett asking him to contribute a few educational videos to its ongoing “Scarpa Cellar Dive” social media campaign (you can view the first one below or follow along on the Scarpa US blog here).

As he does in all things, he produced a clip that serves as an instruction manual for how to produce high-quality wine education videos. From the lighting, framing, and backdrop to the length and confident tone of his presentation, this is how it’s done.

As stay home/work safe orders remain in place around the country, the wine industry is sprinting toward a new virtual presence and new ways to interact with trade and consumers. But teaching and sales skills don’t always translate into high-quality video production.

Note how Brett’s face is well lit. This is so important for making the a video compelling and engaging.

Note the even pacing of his presentation. He speaks with an even-keeled conversational tone but he keeps it moving along — another important element in keeping the viewer engaged.

Note the quality of the image. I believe he shot this with his phone: it’s an example of how lighting and setting can give the production polish to footage shot with a personal smart device.

Note the backdrop. It’s Brett’s living room at home. It gives the clip warmth and most importantly in my view, it imparts authenticity and intimacy. You feel like you’re “at home” with the presenter.

Lastly, note how well prepared he is. He’s done his homework. And he provides information that’s genuinely useful. What good is the production quality if the substance is lacking?

Can you tell how much I love this vlog post? I wanted to share it here because I think it’s a great model for all of us amateur videographer wine professionals.

Brett and and I first met in New York in 2007 when he was working as the in-house educator for a major importer of Italian wines. We reconnected later in Texas when he was leading seminars and tastings for TexSom (in its early years). A few years later, he asked to me to join the Boulder Wine Merchant team as the blogger for the Boulder Burgundy Festival (one of the most rewarding experiences of my career in wine).

In my view, he is the apotheosis of the Master Sommelier. He’s worked in nearly every field of the industry: as a floor sommelier, restaurateur, educator, and retailer. He is the embodiment of collegiality, hospitality, and professionalism. He’s also a professional chef (dinner at the Zimmermans’ is an extraordinary experience, I can say from personal experience). And he’s also one of the nicest and kindest people I know in the business.

Cheers to you, Brett! Thanks for being part of the Scarpa campaign and thank you for everything you’ve done to support me over the years.

Check out his video below. We’ll be posting another one later this week. And if you’d like to be part of the Scarpa Cellar Dive program, just send me a note and we’ll see if we can’t get you a sample bottle or replace a bottle you already have in your cellar.

One thought on “Master Sommelier Brett Zimmerman shows how to produce a virtual tasting video — by example.

  1. Very well done. I wanted more, and typically with these I’m looking for the fast forward button. Thanks for posting it.

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