How to Host a Wine Tasting Party

For centuries, people have come together over food and drink. If you’re looking for a fun way to bring friends together, show off your home decor, or try new things, a wine tasting party might be the perfect answer.

Although you may not consider yourself a wine expert, what better way to learn than by testing out some new varieties? Grab a few bottles of a good California Cabernet Sauvignon and invite a few friends! Hosting a wine sampling get-together is an easy and approachable way to try different types of wine.

How to Decorate and Prepare for Your Evening 

Before your guests arrive, it is both fun and important to set the mood. While classic and understated decorations like a plain tablecloth and candles are always in style, you may also consider a seasonal or holiday theme depending on timing. You can also choose to focus on wines from a particular region and decorate in the local style to create an immersive experience.

On a practical note, ensure that you have plenty of seating to accommodate your guests. If you anticipate having overnight visitors to avoid driving while intoxicated, it is also helpful to set up any sleeping areas ahead of the party. Consider what food you plan to serve and gather and prepare it. 

How to Decide on Wines

Of course, the most important part of your preparation will be choosing the wines to taste. You can invite your guests to bring their own wines to add an interesting twist to the event, or you can provide them yourself. While a trip to the wine store can seem overwhelming, consider the following to help narrow your selection: 

  • Region – You can either select only wines from one region or select wines from around the world. 
  • Price – Compare a “cheap” bottle of Pinot Grigio to a more expensive one. It is extraordinary to taste the difference in wines at various price points. 
  • Style – Select a variety of wines from the same style to find what suits you best. Some styles to consider include fresh, dry white wines or rich, intense reds. 
  • Vintage – Try discovering vintage wines. While finding vintage wines may be pricier or harder to find, it is interesting to taste how age can change a wine’s flavor profile. 
  • Let the Guests Decide – Keep a light tone to the event by encouraging people to bring their own selection.

How to Conduct Your Wine Tasting

If you’re not a wine connoisseur, conducting the tasting may seem daunting. Really, though, there is little to it, and the key is to keep things light and fun. Take into account the following suggestions to make your guests’ tasting experience memorable:

  • Allotting one glass for every person is fine. Keep the glasses from getting mixed up by giving each person a unique wine glass charm. 
  • Color is a significant part of evaluating wines, so stay away from colored dish sets, provide good lighting, and give a white background to view against like a tablecloth or wall. 
  • Set out water, plain crackers, or a basic bread to cleanse your guests’ pallets in between tastings.
  • Give your visitors the chance to dispose of wine by having a separate cup or container as a spit bucket.
  • Provide pens and paper for taking notes for your guests to keep track of their favorite or least favorite wines.
  • Start by pouring the recommended 2-ounce tasting for each person. Give ample time for each wine, then move to the next.
  • If you’re feeling brave, take a stab at doing some additional investigation on how the tannins, acids, and sugars in food varieties connect with wines. Experiment with salted nuts, acidic lemon, harsh chocolate, or rich cheddar to see how each wine responds to different flavors. 
  • Spark conversation about the wines by providing some brief information and allowing your guests to share.

An Event to Remember 

Although some wines may seem unapproachable to novices, holding a tasting is a great way to try new varieties and enjoy good company. By following the tips above, your wine-tasting is sure to be a success your guests will enjoy and fondly remember.