Does an at-home wine tasting party sound super expensive? It doesn’t have to be! Tasty wine can be surprisingly budget-friendly. Preparation is the most important part of throwing a wine tasting, so make sure to have everything planned ahead of time.
Choosing the Wine
You have two choices:
1. The same type of wine from different regions.
2. Different types of wine from the same region.
Also, choose seasonally-appropriate wine – light in the spring and summer, heavier in the fall and winter. Once you’ve chosen your bottles, do your research. Find out where the wines are from, their flavor notes and any other information you can snag from the label or a quick Internet search – your guests will be thoroughly impressed.
• Look for free, printable tasting grids online. Sections to fill out should include aroma, body, color, finish and flavor.
• Make sure you have two corkscrews. That way, if one breaks, you don’t have to scrap the entire tasting. If you’ve never had a lot of success opening wine, ask someone else to do it during the party. If you screw up, you could get the cork stuck or get cork bits in the wine, which will affect the taste.
• Set each table with a white tablecloth, the best color for viewing wine.
• You just need to give each guest one or two glasses. In between tastes, have them remove residue by rinsing their glass with water. Place a water pitcher and a fancy discard bucket on the table.
• Use stemless glasses so that the heat from your guests’ hands don’t warm up the wine, which can change its taste.
• Do not set the atmosphere with fresh flowers or scented candles – the aroma will interfere with the tasting.
Ready, Set, Taste!
Whatever type of wine you’re tasting, serve it in this way:
- White to red
- Dry to sweet
- Light to heavy
Red wine can be pre-poured, but don’t pour white until it’s time to taste. Red is usually best at room temperature, but white usually has to be chilled at approximately 45 degrees. Pour two to three ounces of wine per guest per wine to taste.
Don’t know how to taste like a pro? It’s pretty easy, actually. Follow these steps and teach your guests how to methodically enjoy their wine:
Examine the wine’s color and intensity by holding the glass at a 45 degree angle.
- Place the glass on the table and swirl the wine. This will release the aroma and also let you see the tannins.
- Put the glass to your nose and inhale the wine.
- Take a small sip and swirl it around in your mouth. During this step, take note of the flavors, body, texture and acidity.
- Swallow the wine for the finish and the aftertaste.
A Note About Blind Tastings
In theory, blind tastings sound like a lot of fun. In reality, they can be annoying and clumsy, especially when you have a room full of non-experts. Trying to figure out what you’re drinking can actually detract from the overall experience.