How To Host A Wine Tasting Party
Hosting a wine tasting party is a great option for someone who wants to have a get together with friends, but wants to try something different. Less labor intensive than a dinner party, a wine tasting party is both fun and educational for everyone. Here are six sure fire tips to hosting the perfect wine tasting party.
Step 1: Preparation
Wine tastings work best with small groups, usually eight to twelve people. The supplies you need are a corkscrew, one wineglass per person, a wine charm for each glass, paper and pencil for each person, a plastic cup each guest, room temperate water and/or bread to cleanse the palate between tastings.
Step 2: Wine Selection
Here your choices are wide open, depending on your personal taste. For a simple tasting, select 3 bottles each of white and red wines. Another option is to select a theme for the evening, such as Chardonnay wines in the $10 to $20 price range, Provence wine tasting, cabernet wine tasting or even wines less than $8. Find a theme that is a good match for your group and sample wines based on that theme.
Step 3: Set Up the Tasting
It’s nice to have a table or counter to display the wines for everyone to view. A nice extra touch is to have a note or card which tells a little about the wine: the vineyard, year and perhaps a description from the wine label or a wine review.
Each guest should have a place mat for their wine glass and each wine glass should have a wine charm. This will keep the glasses from getting mixed up.
Everyone will also need a notepad or tasting card to keep write down their thoughts about each wine. And last but not least, everyone will need a plastic cup.
Step 4: Explain the Tasting Process to Your Guests
Once your guests have arrived, take a moment to explain which wines they will be tasting and why each wine was selected. If there is a theme for the tasting, let everyone know.
During the tasting, it’s recommended everyone spit out the wine once they have experienced the flavor or else a few samplings everyone will be too tipsy to tell the wines apart. You might want to politely show everyone their plastic “spit” cup and explain this concept, especially if there are wine tasting newbies in the group.
Step 5: How to Serve the Wine
Open the bottle a little before the tasting to let the wine breathe. Whites should be cool, but not cold and reds are served at room temperature. Pour a small amount of wine in each glass. Remember, it’s a tasting, so everyone only needs a sip of wine, not a full glass.
Step 6: Tasting Wine Like a Pro
First, take a look at the color. Holding the glass by the stem, swirl the wine and stick your nose in the glass to smell the wine. Take a deep breath and really breathe in the fragrance – what images come to your mind? Describe the smell, also known as the wine’s “nose”. There are no right or wrong answers, so don’t worry about getting it right. Be creative.
Next is the actual tasting for the flavor or the wine’s “mouth”. Take a small sip and swirl the wine around in your mouth. Write down initial impressions and then spit out the wine into the plastic cup. The item to include in your notes is the “finish”, which is the lingering flavor in your mouth.
After tasting all the wines, have everyone select their top three wine preferences and tabulate the group results. Announce the top three wines. Wrap up the evening by finishing the remaining wine along with a few tasty hor d’oeuvres.