Hosting a wine tasting party is easy, fun and engaging. It is a great way to experience wine with your close friends and a guaranteed hit. Most wine tastings feature at least four to eight different wines with a common theme. An array of wines allows for a perspective that would be difficult if you only taste one wine at a time.
I will share a tasting format and a few party ideas that are not only useful, but a lot of fun to try.
- Choose a Theme
- Variety – Sample what a specific wine variety tastes like from different regions. For example, choose Rieslings from different regions.
- Value – Choose a specific price point. It is always great to find a new wine at a great price.
- Style – Sample similarly styled wines. For example, select an array of “crisp, dry white wines” or “rich, bold reds” or “dessert wines.”
- Region – Choose a specific region and taste through several wines unique to that wine making area.
- Vintage – Find several vintages of the same wine. This may be pricier or more difficult to find, but it proves enlightening to taste and compare how age and vintage variation influences a wine’s flavor profile.
- Blind Tasting – Fill decanters or pitchers, labeling them by number. You may also wrap the bottles in foil, the main goal is to disguise their identity. This is a ton of fun and a great way to interact with your friends and taste wines objectively.
*If you have a trusted wine shop with knowledgeable staff, have them select the wines for you, so even you are in on the blind tasting excitement!
- BYOB – Having everyone bring a bottle of wine seems to work out as well!
- Keep the Party Intimate & Purchase Accordingly
- Limit the guest count to 10 or less. An intimate group encourages conversation, and it’s easy to pour out single bottles into these portions. By exceeding your guest count, you’ll have to consider having duplicates of each wine, in order for everyone to obtain a sip.
- If you’re personally supplying the wine, count on half a bottle per person for a light tasting, but more realistically one bottle per person.
- Pour short tastes for each guest. Provide spit buckets, for those who don’t want to get too tipsy.
- The first bottle is usually an icebreaker such as Prosecco. People just seem to lighten up and relax instantly with a glass of bubblies.
- Stock Necessary Supplies
- Glassware – I would recommend having two glasses per person to compare tastes and wines simultaneously. However, the allotment of one glass per person is perfectly fine.
- Palate Cleansers – Set out plenty of water crackers or a simple bread for palate cleansers.
- Spit Buckets – Allow your guests the opportunity to get rid of unwanted wine.
- Water – Always good to have handy.
- Documentation – Provide pens and paper for taking wine notes or print out this handy
- White Background & Clear Glassware – Color is significant when comparing wines, so avoid tinted glassware. Provide optimal lighting, and a white background. A suggestion would be to use white craft paper.
- Serve the Right Food
- Do a bit of research to pair the right food with your wines. (add chart) Make sure guests know what kind of food will be served, so they do not arrive with an empty stomach, when you’re only serving appetizers.
- Set the Table
- Tell guests to refrain from wearing perfumes or scented lotions as they might compete with the wines’ aromas.
- Avoid decorating with scented candles and or aromatic flowers, for the same reason.
- Check out a few wine books from the library to have on hand, if any questions arise.
- Check Wine Temperature
Try serving wines at the temperature they show best: bubbles 40-45 degrees, whites 40-50 degrees, and reds 55-65 degrees.
*photos provided by pinterest