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Here are two delicious bottles in good supply from Violette Imports’ portfolio. Be sure to contact retailers for revised store hours, curbside pickup protocols, and delivery options.
Here are two delicious bottles in good supply from Violette Imports’ portfolio. Be sure to contact retailers for revised store hours, curbside pickup protocols, and delivery options.Ellen Bhang

Even in a time of social distancing, you can still gather to taste wine with a hundred friends — all from the comfort of your own couch.

On Sundays at noon, Margot Mazur of natural wine bar Rebel Rebel teaches an interactive wine class online. The sommelier and events lead conducts the session by the video conferencing platform Zoom. It’s a virtual version of the hour-long class series she had been teaching at the Somerville venue at Bow Market, owned by Lauren Friel, before the coronavirus forced the closure of bars and restaurants last month.

“I’ve been teaching wine classes at Rebel Rebel for a year now,” Mazur explains. “It’s truly my favorite thing to do. I’m very casual. I make wine lively and inclusive to break that barrier where people think, ‘I don’t know wine,’ or ‘I’m not a part of this.’ It’s intimate and people always end up laughing.” As it became clear that the bar would have to temporarily shutter, Mazur and Friel talked about moving the classes online. Both were keen on partnering with a female-run small business to supply the wine. Mazur describes Sophie Kzirian of Violette Imports as “a natural fit.” Kzirian operates the import and retail business with her father, Richard Kzirian, the founder of the company and a champion of organic and biodynamic wines since the 1980s.

A recent class, showcasing wines from France’s Loire Valley, brought together over 100 people. Most logged on from the Boston area, but folks from San Francisco, Brooklyn, and Toronto also chimed in. Like any tasting you would attend in person, participants grew livelier as they sipped. Fortunately, Mazur is a consummate professional when it comes to engaging class members and moderating chat comments. Because attendee numbers continue to grow, Mazur recently upgraded Rebel Rebel’s ability to handle the increased traffic. “Our capacity is now 500!” she enthuses.

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Visit www.rebelrebelsomerville.com to peruse a growing selection of themed classes, $10 per person, some of which are now offered during the evening. You can purchase wines ahead of time from Violette Imports, or pick up similar bottles from your favorite shop. And don’t worry if you’re a novice. Every class is as much a celebration of community as it is an educational experience.

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Until you can hop online, here are two delicious bottles in good supply from Violette Imports’ portfolio. Be sure to contact retailers for revised store hours, curbside pickup protocols, and delivery options.

Fatalone Primitivo, Gioia del Colle, Puglia 2018 The brand Fatalone translates to “lady killer,” the nickname of a second-generation family member known for being irresistible to the ladies. This southern Italian red, made from the primitivo grape, is a real Don Juan, full of dark-skinned fruits, iron, and velvety tannins. 15 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). Around $20. At The Wine Press, Brookline, 617-277-7020; Darwin’s Ltd., Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge, 617-354-5233; The Wine Bottega, North End, 617-227-6607.

Hubert & Heidi Hausherr “Copains comme Raisins” Alsace 2018 This husband-and-wife team, who reside in the Alsatian village of Eguisheim, have the magic touch when it comes to crafting skin-macerated whites from gewurztraminer, pinot gris, and riesling. Don’t mind its coppery cloudiness. This petals-and-peaches wonder is all sunny optimism, edged with a lip-smacking seam of salt. 14.5 percent ABV. The Wine Press, Brookline; Streetcar Wine & Beer, Jamaica Plain, 617-522-6416; Violette Imports, Cambridge, info@violettewine.com

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Ellen Bhang can be reached at bytheglass@globe.com


Ellen Bhang can be reached at bytheglass@globe.com