How To Host A Wine Tasting Party
Knowing how to host a wine tasting party is so much fun because it gives you an excuse to explore new wines, learn about their various differences and complexities, and drink socially. Even if you feel you don't have a wine enthusiast's experience to properly taste these celebrated "crushed grapes," you can quickly learn the basics of wine tasting and impress your guests as well. Learning is a part of the process of wine tasting to begin with, so don't worry about not having professional taste buds, just worry about who you plan to invite.
To host a wine tasting party you will need:
- Party theme (optional)
- 6-12 different bottles of wine
- Bottled water
- Wine glasses
- Compatible snacks (cheese, bread, unsalted crackers)
- Select a theme. Although it is not mandatory that a wine tasting party has a designated theme, it adds a "cool factor". It could be as simple as picking a country (Italy, France) or a particular wine type (red, white) and give your event the personal touch with a catchy title to lighten up the mood. Choosing a theme also makes it easier to narrow down what type of wines you wish to experience when you head over to your favorite wine shop. And when you arrive, don't be afraid you ask for their suggestions.
- Invite your guests. It doesn't need to be an epic "New Years Eve" bash. A dozen people should be more than enough. Invitations if you feel up to it, or colorful e-mails will do. Have everyone bring two bottles of whatever wine type they choose so there will be enough for everyone to try it.
- Tools of the trade. Be sure to have whites wines chilled at around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and red wine between 60-65 degrees. Have plenty of washed wine glasses, napkins for rinsing them between wine selections, a corkscrew to open your wine bottles, bottled water to cleanse your taste palettes (or sober up), and finger foods such as cheese, bread and un-salted crackers that won't ruin the flavors of the wine.
- How to taste wine. Now let's examine the least obvious element of a wine tasting party, actually how to taste the wine. Don't get nervous, this is not where I tell you that you will need to hire a European instructor at $100 an hour and volunteer your weekends at a local vineyard, just three effortless steps.
- How does the wine look? You don't want to fill your glasses, only about one-third of the way so they don't spill. Notice the color, transparency, and clarity of the wine.
- How does the wine smell? Swirl the wine around in your glass to awaken its aromas. This is why you only want to fill them one-third of the way. Now dip your nose into the glass, not into the wine obviously. Take note of what types of fragrances you discover.
- How does the wine taste? Take a decent-sized sip and roll the wine all over your tongue. Various areas of your tongue identify different flavors. Is it sweet, bitter, fruity, or earthy? Is there a type of aftertaste that lingers in your mouth? Be sure to rinse your glasses in between wines, and refresh your taste buds with some water to enjoy the new wine's flavor.
Remember, it's not a classroom, it is a party. So share your wine, your opinions, your sense of humor, and some coffee and desert to sober up a bit.