Have fun. . . host a wine tasting party! This step by step guide on how to plan a tasting will guarantee everyone has a fabulous time. You don’t need to be a wine expert. The idea is to relax with friends. Assign each person or couple to bring a bottle of wine. Have them cover the bottle with paper or foil for a blind tasting. Blind tastings add intrigue to the evening. Make the wine tasting a pot luck. Friends will be happy to provide an appetizer, entree, or dessert.
1. Select a theme.
A theme will set the mood for conversation. The tasting could focus on sampling one particular varietal of wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, or whatever you decide. If you sample wines from a specific region or country such as Italy or France, the appetizers can also be from that region. Since everyone is always searching for a great everyday wine, you might consider tasting wines under a certain price. There are great wines to be found under $20, $15, or whatever amount you choose.
An interesting take on this idea is to buy both bargain wines and more expensive wines. Guests can be challenged to guess which wines are the bargain and which are the more expensive. If your guests are familiar with wine, you could provide different varieties of wine and have them guess which wine is which. Descriptions of each varietal could be provided to assist them.
2. Things You Will Need to Throw a Wine Tasting Party
One bottle of wine will serve a 2 ounce taste for up to 12 people. Plan on tasting a total of five or six different wines during the event. It’s overwhelming to sample too many. Serve the wine in clear wine glasses with stems. People should be able to see the wine. Guests should hold the glasses by the stem so that they do not affect the temperature of the wine.
Provide pitchers of water and dump buckets. These can be used to rinse the glasses between wines and some guests may have leftover wine they want to dump. Plain crackers should be available so tasters can cleanse their palate between wines. Print off Wine Scoring Sheets and provide pens for each guests to evaluate the wines.
3. Feed Your Guests
It’s a good idea to feed your guests when they first arrive. You don’t want them drinking wine on an empty stomach. Avoid strong flavored foods that will interfere with the flavors of the wine. This means no spicy foods, strong-flavored cheeses, or salty dishes (although they can be served after the tasting of the wines is concluded).
4. Wine Tasting Details
White wines should be chilled two to three hours in the refrigerator before serving. Red wines can be served at room temperature, but you could put them in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator an hour before serving to open and let them decant.
Number wines in the order you want to taste them. White wines should be tasted before red wines. Light wines go before heavy wines and dry wines before sweet wines. However, don’t stress over this. Everyone will be having fun and won’t even notice if the order isn’t perfect.
Take time to discuss the wines. Ask each guests to share their thoughts. Serve dessert, beverages, or even additional wine for your friends to enjoy after the tasting is over. If your guests don’t all know each other you might want to plan some fun icebreakers to get the party started. Actually, these activities are great even if everyone does know each other.