You love wine, and so do your friends. What could be more perfect than throwing a wine tasting party? And then the questions flood into your mental picture: What’s the best format for a wine tasting party?
When you’re hosting your own tasting party there are a couple of things you’ll do differently than a professional trade tasting (sipping vs. spitting) but the basic format is the same. Most wine tastings feature four to eight different wines that have a common theme that ties them together.
Today, we’ll lay out a proven tasting format and a few wine tasting party ideas that are not only useful, but a lot of fun to try!
While there are a myriad of different techniques to decorate the table, if you have well-curated wines it doesn’t matter how the table looks. If you select wines based on a specific theme, people will pay closer attention to what they’re drinking. It also helps if you have wine tasting placemats to write on. You can make your own or find downloads online.
Some Theme Ideas for your Party Can Include:
- This pairing focuses on wines from a specific area. Try 4 wines from Edna Valley or Adelaida District in Paso Robles.
- An in-depth way to understand a particular grape or varietal. Buy different price brackets of one type of wine grape (e.g. Syrah or Sauvignon Blanc)
- New World vs. Old World
- One of the classic old world vs. new world tastings is Napa Valley Merlot vs. Right Bank Bordeaux.
- Big and Bold Wines
- Compare and contrast the biggest and boldest varietals from around the world.
- Elegant Wines
- Compare and contrast the lightest red wines on earth. Find out what we mean by ‘elegant’
- The best way to do this is to ask for library vintages from your favorite winery.
- Price Comparative
- Crowdsource guests to spend less than $20 on a bottle of wine and blind taste them to determine everyone’s favorite.
- Blind Tasting Party
- Wrap bottles in paper bags or aluminum foil and test your tasting skills.
½ bottle per guest.
A little over a half a bottle of wine per guest is ideal. For instance, if you have an 8 person party, plan on having about 5 bottles of wine (each guest will receive a half-glass of each bottle). It won’t be too much, but enough to have a great party. In my experience, its fun to start off with an ice breaker aperitif such as Champagne or Prosecco. Nothing more festive than bubbles in your glass!