Whether you’re looking for an excuse to host a ladies night, consider yourself a connoisseur of fine wines, or just want to break in the new kitchen with the neighbors; a wine tasting can serve as the perfect reason for a gathering.
Just like hosting an event of any kind, a wine tasting can consist of a simple gathering all the way to an elaborate affair. Regardless of where you picture your wine tasting, starting with these simple tips will get you off to an amazing start!
Choose your Wine
While a theme isn’t necessary, it usually makes it more fun to know you are comparing wines of the same varietal, vintage or region. (You can always get way more specific too, but we’ll leave that to the experts). Can’t decide? Let the wine you already have decide for you or have everyone bring a favorite bottle and go from there. Five different wines is a good number to aim for in terms of enough to create interest, but not so many that the variety overwhelms the palette.
Calculate Guests & Bottle Numbers
It’s a general consensus that less is more when it comes to wine tastings. A more intimate setting seems to work best for the official “tasting” and the conversation that follows. We recommend for 6 guests, have two bottles of wine for each selection. This gives enough for a tasting each, and then whoever would like a glass after. (Depending on how heavy of a pourer you’d like to be, you can go up from there). Other experts say to plan on there being enough wine for each guest to have a one glass per wine selection.
Choose Your Menu
No one wants to drink on an empty stomach … especially when the cheeses and hors d’oeuvres that usually come with a wine tasting are too good to pass up! When going with a specific theme (especially regionally), it may be most fun to stick with bites that go with the theme. However, we’re a big fan of the charcuterie board; AKA – a spread of all the yummy snacks you would hope to have with wine. The beauty of a charcuterie board is that there is essentially no prep involved other than buying your ingredients. Buy a mix of your favorite cheeses, nuts, fruits and cured meats, and voila – gourmet.
Prep for the Guests
As with any social gathering, the more prep ahead of time with food, drinks, etc. means the more you get to enjoy your guests and less time in the kitchen. Thanks to the easy set up of a wine tasting, prep should be minimal and look a little like this:
Prep food. With a charcuterie board this should be about as complicated as opening packages and placing on a platter!
Put red wines in the refrigerator 15 to 30 min before guests arrive, and take out white and rosés just a few minutes before pouring.
Make sure there is adequate seating or standing space in one area so that group gan gather in one place.
Pick the music you want for the perfect mood – you get to pick!
Have two wine glasses per person if you are doing both reds and whites, otherwise just one glass is needed. If you are doing something bubbly instead, then by all means break out those champagne glasses!
Wine tasting tip: Don’t burn any highly scented candles – you don’t want to compete with the aromas of the wines!
Welcome your Guests, Taste that Wine & Enjoy!
Greet your guests and let the party begin! Introduce what wines you’ll be tasting (unless you want to do a blind tasting and have everyone guess!), before going over the basics of wine tasting. An easy way to explain how to “taste” a wine are the 4 S’s – see, swirl, smell and sip! For a more formal tasting provide notecards for guests to write their notes, otherwise, sip and enjoy! Typically tastings go from lightest to darkest wines.
After the tasting portion is over pop out the rest of the bottles and enjoy your company!