How to Host Your Own Virtual Happy Hour With Friends

MIssing your friends? Use these tips to connect with them via a virtual happy hour. Remember: social distancing DOES NOT mean social isolation.

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Coronavirus is making us totally rewrite the rules of how we live our daily lives. While we all agree that self-isolation is the safest thing for everybody right now, the reality is that socially distancing can take a serious emotional toll. That’s why it’s more important than ever to stay connected with friends over the phone and online. Enter: The virtual happy hour. A virtual happy hour is the perfect way to safely connect with friends and unwind after an emotionally draining week. Set up a Google Hangout or Zoom session with your best friends, pop open a bottle, and see how everyone’s doing.

Now, chatting over a glass of vino is delightful, but if you’re someone who craves structure, you might want to mix things up occasionally and make it a virtual game night. Here are some wine-themed party games to keep you and your besties busy. We’ve gone ahead and figured out how to adapt some of our favorite games to this strange new world we’re living in. Not friends with wine lovers? No worries, you can still play these games with your friends, just make the rules unrelated to wine. And don't forget to pour yourself a healthy glass of vino.


House Rules

Each time you and your friends (virtually) hang out, pick one household to be the “host.” When it’s your turn, pick some rules that will apply for the entire evening. For instance, maybe you’ll decree that everyone must use their left hand to hold their wine glass or that one common tasting word is off limits (let’s say “fruit-forward,” for instance). It’s everyone’s job to help enforce the two rules that you choose. If someone is caught breaking a rule, they have to take a sip of wine. Sorry, rules are rules.


Typically, you’d play this game sitting in a circle, so when you’re hanging online, just figure out the order that you’ll use in advance. Here’s how it works: Pick a category such as types of red wines or wine regions of the world. One by one, each of you must say a word (or phrase) within that category. If someone can’t think of a word, or they take too long to say something, they have to take a sip and pick a new category. You can tap on your legs to keep a beat, or just try to go as fast as possible.

How Well Do You Know Your Partner?

Similar to the newlyweds game, you’ll pair off with either your romantic partner or someone you know really well, like your BFF. A third person will ask questions that you have to answer about your partner. For instance, the moderator can ask “What is their favorite kind of wine?” or “Where was the first place they tried rosé?” Keep score to find out who knows their partner best.

Wine Trivia

If you’re got a larger group, wine trivia can be a fun way to make sure everyone is involved. Search for some wine trivia online, form teams, and choose a moderator to read questions and keep score. You’ll get a little friendly competition going, plus you might learn something new about your favorite wine.

Wine Word Chain

Like categories, you’ll want to establish the order you’ll use in advance. Whoever starts will say any wine word they like. The next person must say a wine word that starts with the last letter of the previous word. For instance, if someone says “legs,” you can say “sommelier,” and the next person can say “residual sugar,” and so on. If you mess up, take a sip. As you might’ve guessed, this game gets harder the longer you play it.

Never Have I Ever: Wine Edition

Never Have I Ever is a classic icebreaker game that helps you get to know your friends’ personal histories a bit better. Playing with wine-related experiences will help you find out who’s a wine pro. Start with five fingers up. Someone might say “Never have I ever…. been to a vineyard.” If you’ve done that, you put a finger down. Whoever puts all of their fingers down first wins.

Wine Mafia

Mafia is another super fun party game that’s fairly easy to adapt to a virtual setting. The rules sound more complicated than they are, and it helps if someone in your group has played before, so you can learn by playing the first round. Basically, someone starts as the moderator. Typically, the moderator would tap people on the shoulder to give them a secret role while everyone puts their head down. At your virtual happy hour, simply have the moderator send a text or private message to whoever they want to assign roles to. If you want to get creative, you can change the usual role of Detective to Sommelier, and give the crime a wine theme.

In Vino Finito

Enjoy these wine-themed games with your friends at your next virtual happy hour. If you’ve got other ideas for virtual happy hour games, please feel free to email us. Try to remember that this strange setup is temporary. In the meantime, try to make the most of your time spent together at a distance, and raise a glass to everyone’s good health. If you’re a current Bright Cellars member and need some wine recommendations for your virtual happy hour, reach out and we can help! Our Wine Concierge team at love to share their wine expertise!

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