Wine tasting parties are always fun, and provide an engaging way for guests to interact with each other. If you have never hosted your own wine tasting party before, here are a few tips to get you started with the planning stage.
Choose a Theme
If you are having each guest bring their own bottle of wine to contribute to the tasting, then a theme is not necessary, as the wine choices will be quite eclectic. However, if you are providing the alcohol, a theme will really help you to refine your wine selection. You could base the theme off of a style of wine, such as Rich Reds or Dessert Wines, or allow yourself to be inspired by a specific wine-making region.
When it comes to tasting parties, a smaller group is always more intimate, and results in much better conversation. A guest count of around 10 is perfect, as this also means that you will be able to pour out portions from just one bottle, rather than having to purchase multiple bottles of each wine that you have chosen.
How Much Wine to Purchase
With a bottle of wine being around 24 ounces, you could theoretically pour 12 two ounce tasters from each bottle, but you do need to account for some guests who will want to re-taste certain wines. Try to aim for around half a bottle per person in total for a light tasting, or one bottle per person for a boozier event.
Supplies You Will Need
The very first thing that you will need is enough glassware for all of your guests. While one glass per person is absolutely fine, two glasses per guest will mean that they can compare two wines simultaneously. Try to opt for clear glassware rather than tinted, as color is a key part of comparing wines. Palate cleansers, such as bread, will also be appreciated, as will spit buckets, as this gives guests the opportunity to get rid of unwanted wine, or prevent themselves from having too much to drink. A glass of water per guest is also a good idea, as are pens and paper, so that everyone can take their own tasting notes.
Deciding Whether to Include Food
A stand-alone wine tasting is one that does not include food, meaning that your guests will be able to focus solely on the wines. However, depending on the vibe that you are going for with your party, you may want to include a few hor d’oeuvres before the tasting, and then dessert afterwards. Alternatively, you could serve up a light dinner before the tasting, opting for dishes that work with the wine-related theme you have chosen. If your tasting is going to be featuring dessert wines, follow this up with a sweet treat for your guests, whether this be some cake or a cookie.
Even if you do not consider yourself to be a wine connoisseur, it is still incredibly easy to throw a wine tasting party. If you need some extra help when it comes to selecting the wines, head to an independent wine boutique to see what they advise, as these types of stores will stock a more unique range of wines than your local grocery store, making your tasting so much more fun.