Wednesday, 24 August 2016  • Wine,

While drinking wine by yourself is perfect after a long day, we wholeheartedly believe that it tastes much better when consumed amongst friends and family. Laughter, inside jokes, fun games, and summer breezes are just a few of the amazing memories made when wine is shared, and what better way to share it than at a wine tasting party? It can be one of the easiest parties you ever throw together, and will result in maximum fun! Read on for our suggestions on food, games, and activities for the occasion.

The Preparation
The basic elements for any enjoyable get-together are a welcoming and fun atmosphere, delicious food, a variety of beverages, good friends, and activities to keep your guests engaged. Don’t be intimidated, though — setting all of this up is easier than it sounds, especially when you make the guests help! Setting the atmosphere with a clean space, a little mellow music, and plenty of candles should nurture the wine-tasting mood, while our suggestions below complete the scene:

  • Shop for and purchase a wide variety of red and white wines to offer at your party. Everything from Pinot Grigio to Merlot will need to make an appearance for an effective wine tasting night. Our money-saving option: have your guests bring 2 bottles of wine each. One can be their favorite wine, the other, a wine bottle in a specific category that you ask them to bring. For example, ask them to bring their favorite wine of all time, and their favorite Cabernet Sauvignon. You would ask another guest to bring their favorite Pinot Grigio, and another their favorite Zinfandel, etc. We’ll mention a fun game to play with your guests using the additional bottle of wine they bring a little later.
  • In addition to a wide selection of wine, offer your guests alternative beverages such as water and tea. Guests love options, and hydration is important!
  • To make sure everyone knows which wine glass is theirs, have wine charms available for your guests to use. Our money-saving option: use gift tags and string to create do-it-yourself tags for your visitors to write their names on, and tie to their wine glass stems. This makes for an easy, quick activity that keeps your guests busy and their wine glasses identified.

The Food
Wine, in general, pairs well with a wild assortment of snack-worthy foods. Place a variety of cheeses, meats, fruits, nuts, and chocolates on a lovely cutting board or platter, and in various bowls or plates around your party space. Be sure to label everything so guests know what they’re choosing. Mini chalkboard labels are a popular choice for this, and can easily be created with self-adhesive chalkboard labels and toothpicks. For ideas on your food assortment choices, take a
peek at our charcuterie board recipes here. We recommend preparing your selections the morning of the party since you’ll want them to be fresh.

The Tastings
A particular order should be followed with wine tasting, in order to preserve the palette’s ability to identify flavors. The order of pours is as such: sparkling wines first, then white wines, rosé wines, red wines, and dessert wines. If you want to reduce the variety of wines at your party, however, you absolutely can! Choose just one category or two - red wines only, white wines only, etc. - whatever you’re comfortable with.

The Fun
Activities keep your guests busy while encouraging mingling, so here are a couple of our favorites for wine tastings!

1) The Wine Lottery Game: When you ask your guests to bring two bottles of wine, this game works out perfectly with little cost to you. The guests’ favorite wines will go into the “Wine Basket” (a box, basket, or bag that can contain all of the bottles brought), and the bottle in the category you requested goes into a numbered paper bag used for the tastings. Prepare the bags ahead of time, and remember to line the bottles up according to tasting order as mentioned earlier. Each guest receives 2 pieces of paper and a pen, and after completing the tastings for each wine, will cast 2 votes on their favorite wines of the evening using the numbers on the paper bags. At the end of the night, the votes are tallied up, and the guests that brought the two most popular bottles get to split the Wine Basket!

2) Do-it-Yourself Crostini’s: We saved the best for last! Nothing brings friends together like food, and it’s even better when they can customize what they want. This is super easy to prepare, and so much fun for your guests! Prepare the Crostini’s by purchasing loaves of French bread and cutting them into diagonal slices, laying each slice flat on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven at 350? for 3-6 minutes or until toasted. Create a topping bar for your guests by spreading out a variety of foods and spreads, such as bruschetta, cheeses, meats, fruits, and sauces, and let your guests assemble their own Crostini’s to their liking. 

All-in-all, you truly can’t go wrong with a wine tasting party, especially when you include a few fun things for your guests to take part in. Happy tasting!

Host the Perfect Wine Tasting Party