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How to Host a Wine Tasting Party

A wine tasting party is a creative way to gather friends and family together to learn about wine and experiment with new or unusual varietals.

Begin by deciding what type of wine tasting you would like to host. Suggestions include: wine and cheese pairings, price point tastings, vertical wine tastings (the same wine from the same winery but different vintages) or horizontal wine tastings (the same wine, same vintage but featuring different wineries) and more.

Make the event a bit more challenging, by offering a blind tasting. The bottles are covered with foil or a brown paper bag and identified with a number. Each wine is poured without identifying the label only the number allowing your guests to incorporate all of their senses to identify the respective wines based on the labels’ descriptions.

Regardless of the type of tasting, you’ll need to design a tasting card that specifies the type of wine, the producing vineyard, the year and a brief description of the wine (usually found on the wine’s label).

Make sure each guest has their own tasting card to record the wine’s distinct appearance, aroma, flavor, and cheese pairing nuances. If you want to keep the tasting a bit more casual, simply supply guests with a pen and paper so they can jot down their own notes.

If you are severing a selection of wines move the tastings from dry to sweet with white wines and progress from light to full-bodied with red wines. Also, it is ideal to start with younger wines and finish with mature wines.

Most of all have fun. The best way to learn about wines and winemaking is by experimenting.

What You Need

  • Four to Six Wines (allow 2 ounces per wine per glass, per wine for each tasting
  • Appetizers – you might consider offering some light munchies before the tasting
  • Loaf of bread – provide plain bread for guests to cleanse palate between wines
  • Wine glasses – one per guest
  • Pitcher of water – for rinsing glasses and palates between wines
  • Dump bucket – for discarding wine before next pouring
  • Tasting cards – for describing and recording each wine tasted
  • Aluminum foil or brown bags to cover wine bottles if you opt for blind tasting

Revised from Stacy Slinkard, Guide