How to Host a Wine Tasting Party
Wine is meant to be shared and enjoyed with friends and family. What better way to do that than to host your own wine tasting party?
Many people feel they need to be qualified or have some kind of connoisseur credibility in order to host a wine tasting party. That is far from reality! Actually learning about wine together through a shared experience is a far better (and proven) approach. We are here to make things easier for you - so you can enjoy and learn about wine. Here is your guide to hosting a wine tasting party.
As with most things, success comes from preparation. In advance:
Decide if you want a theme or no theme. Many recommend having a theme helps compare and contrast wines based on a similar characteristic - for example, region (Moravia!), price (under $25), or varietal (all Sauvignon Blanc). While a theme can be helpful--add some fun with in-theme foods and decorations--it is also not necessary so don’t stress out on it.
If you don’t have them already, get some clear glasses. They don’t have to be expensive or crystal, but they should be clear so you can observe the colors and clarity of the wines. And if you have stemmed glasses, even better to help keep the wine in the glass at serving temperature.
Decide if you want to do a blind tasting or not. A blind tasting is one where the participants don’t know which wine they are tasting at the time. This can be super fun, but also somewhat difficult for the newbies. So decide ahead of time so your group is prepared when they arrive.
Whether blind or not, it’s useful to give people placemats so they can keep track of which wines are which and can compare wines at the same time.
Have plain, white paper available to place the wine against to observe the color and clarity.
This isn’t a competition. People don’t have to drink everything in their glass. Have dump buckets or some container for them to spit out or dump out the wines they don’t like (or if they just don’t want to get blitzed). Red Solo cups work great for this!
Have a way for people to capture notes on what they are tasting. This tasting note template can help.
Don’t skimp on the food. Have both palette cleansers for between sips and various foods to pair that can be a bit more substantial.
Let the fun begin! If you are supplying all the wine - easy enough. If people are bringing bottles, be sure to have a place for them (refrigerated if necessary) and open any that should breathe. Have some kind of arrival time and try to stick with it so people can plan accordingly.
Serving order should start with any bubbles, then on to light whites, rich whites, rosés, light reds, bold reds, and then finally dessert wines.
Try to serve at suggested temperatures: bubbles at 40-45 degrees, whites at 40-50 degrees, and reds at 55-65 degrees. Much of this is subjective (I personally like my whites a tad warmer), but it’s a good rule of thumb.
Follow a structured approach or not. Meaning either everyone tastes the same wines in the same order together, or you let people taste at will. Both have benefits and can be fun. I personally shoot for a structured approach for the first flight, then have people return back to ones they’d like to try again. This way, people share comments and thoughts on the wines that they might not otherwise have a chance.
Don’t forget to compare notes! It’s fun to hear what others think, everyone’s taste is a little different and the food can change the wine (for better or worse).
Have water readily available.
Host a Brilliant Wines Club Tasting
So now that you know what to do, why not start now? We'd love to have you host a Brilliant Wines Club Tasting and can help make it even more fun - with free wine!
- Contact us to let us know that you will be hosting. We’ll give you a code so we know it’s you when you order.
- With an order of 5 wines, we’ll provide a bonus bottle!
- We’ll give you a coupon code so you and your guests can re-order any of the wines and get free shipping!
- For every 12 bottles purchased from your party, you’ll get 2 bottles!
- Download any of our tasting party resources here.
Be sure to take pictures and post them with the hashtag #BrilliantWines!