If you dream of poetic vineyards, crisp air, and clear skies, yet your city centric abode is more gray high rise than plump grape, I have a party idea for you! Bring Sonoma to your living room or patio by hosting a diy wine tasting party. Don’t be scared, this is much simpler than you may be thinking. Plus it’s an easy theme to share the expense so budget conscience hostesses rejoice. All you need is a few wineglasses, a few platters of finger food, a variety of wines, and my printable templates.
Ask each guest to bring a bottle of wine. If you will have more than eight guests ask everyone to bring two bottles of the same wine so that you don’t run out (plus there’ll be enough for a glass of your favorite after the tasting). You might like to pick a wine theme. Coordinate to have wines from the same region, or the same color but different varieties, or the same variety from different wine makers. Or go with my favorite, set no preference and see what turns up… we’re not wine experts and this is part of the fun!
Set up your tasting area. A table with a wipeable table cloth is a must, an ice bucket or two to keep the white wines chilled is nice, a dish cloth to wipe drips, wine glasses with name tags, pitchers of water for clearing out the glasses between tastings, and a dump bucket for discarding wine. Open the bottles ahead of the tasting to keep things moving smoothly.
Another way to share the load is to ask each guest to bring an appetizer. A cheese platter is synonymous with wine (and will give you an excuse to use these adorable cheese flags). Three or four cheeses is plenty. Lay out other finger food and canapés, not worrying too much if your food selection is considered a traditional wine pairing. This party is designed to be light and casual.
Also offer plain bread and crackers to clear the palate before moving on to the next wine.
It’s what we are here for. If you are the prepared type read up on wines, winemaking, and wine regions and make the party informative. If you are like me and just want to taste a few different wines, ditch the preparation and wing it. The general rule for wine order is to go from sweet to dry with whites, and light to full-bodied with reds. If you drink them out of order, you’ll still have a good time. Download my tasting and score card and have one for each guest to write down simple observations, and make note of any wines they may want to purchase themselves.
Keep the formal part of the night fairly brief, and then enjoy mingling and more wine!