8 Tips to Host a Great Wine Tasting Party


There are many ways to have some quality time with your friends; you could go on a night out, have a picnic or just enjoy an evening indoors while enjoying great conversations. A wine tasting party is one of those group activities that many people never really consider. Most times it’s because you probably don’t even know where to begin with the wines.

Even the most devoted of wine lovers admit that wine is a vast topic and to enjoy wine, you would need some basic knowledge. This is a piece for those wine lovers who know their wines but would like some help with a wine tasting party. This is one of the most fun ways to have your couple friends over for some quality time, and we shall help you set it all up like a pro. Here’s to a successful wine tasting party!

1. Theme The Night

As aforementioned, wine is a topic that draws from a wide variety of sources. Organize your night according to a theme, and this will keep you from floundering around and mixing up your bottles. Some of the aspects to consider as you develop your theme include:


  • Style – Have a number of wines in the same style. You could, for instance, have a variety of dry, crisp whites or bold, rich reds.
  • Variety – There is a lot of variety to choose from when it comes to wine bottles. Sample a specific type of wine from different winemaking regions. For example, your party could have a comparison between varieties of Pinot Noir. You could have a bottle from each of the well-known Pinot Noir regions such as New Zealand, Burgundy, Oregon or California.
  • Vintage – Have some variety with the vintages. Get several vintages of the same wine. It’s a bit of a chore to find different vintages of the same bottle, but the upside is that, if you do find them, then you get to find out what role the aging process plays in a wine’s taste profile.
  • Region – Choose a region and sample different types of wine from the region. This is a great way to familiarize yourself with wines from the same part of the globe.
  • Random tasting – This is a fun way to add some spontaneity to the night. Have your guests bring a bottle of their choice.
  • Value – Choose a dollar value and buy different wines in this price bracket. It’s one smart way to find out the best bottles at different price points.
  • Blind tasting – Pour wines into pitchers or decanters labeled by numbers. Alternatively, you could conceal the bottles by serving them from brown bags or wrapped in foil. This is one of the best ways to objectively taste wines and is also conversationally interactive. Make it even more interesting by having the staff in your local store select the wines for you so that they are also concealed from you.

2. Have the Necessary Supplies at Hand

It’s not really a wine tasting party if necessities such as appropriate glassware or spit buckets are missing. There are items that are a must-have at such a party. To begin with, you will need a palate cleanser. Bread or water crackers are some easy-to-find palate cleansers. Spit buckets are also important for your guests to spit out unwanted wine into.  To do a wine tasting the right way, you will also need some sort of documentation for anything you want to note down about the wines. A wine grid will make things much easier when it comes to getting the important characteristics of each bottle. Download one online and print it out or use it on your phone.

3. Right Food Pairings

Food is a vital part of wine sampling, and since you intend to feed your guests when they visit, then it is important that you find out what food to prepare. The flavors in the wine interact with your food selections in different ways to complete the gastronomic experience. The tannins in red wine will enhance an oily meal in the same way that a good dry white complement charred meat. Aside from keeping the flavors intact, this is also an education in wine and food that your guests will always appreciate. There are a lot of recipes online for your baked goods, cheeses, grilled meats and other cooking options that go well with different wines. Check out “What Wine Should I Drink With Cheese” for a guide on cheese selections for you to pair.

Balancing the food with drinks also involves the manner in which you serve the vino. Know which bottle to bring out first and in what order. The others should follow. If you have a bottle of each, you can line up the bottles in this order; bubbly, light-bodied, rich whites, rose varieties, light-bodied reds, bold reds and finally dessert wines. You also want to serve these wines at the recommended temperatures.

Be sure to also check out “What Wine Should I Drink With Steak” to see how you can pair your steak dinners with some rich wine.

4. Have an Intimate Party & Make Smart Purchases

Wine tasting is an affair that is enjoyed best in small groups. Invite about ten people or fewer over for your wine tasting party. A smaller group is more intimate, which makes the whole experience that much more special. It is also simpler to pour out a single bottle into all the portions. Having a number of guests exceeding this might mean that you have to get two bottles of everything so that everyone can get a sip. The key to ensuring you don’t run out of wine is to keep the portions as small as possible and the tastes short.

As you decide how many guests you will have over, think also about the amount of wine you should buy per person. A single bottle has 24 ounces of wine, which in theory means you have two wine servings of two ounces per bottle. However, you have to consider re-tastes, because guests will most likely like to have a second taste. For a light tasting, budget for half a bottle per guest. The more realistic math is to have a bottle per person though.

5. Set Tables Appropriately

First, you have to inform your guests not to wear any scented lotions or perfumes that might stifle the aromas of the wine. This also means that you can’t have any flowers with a strong aroma of scented candles.

Apart from getting fine China and the best cutlery out, you may also find a wine tasting guide handy. There are lots of wine guides chockfull with all the information you may need when questions arise and they will.

6. Don’t Get Drunk

Wine tasting should maintain its class to the very end. You achieve this by establishing an air of comfort, competence, and calm. While the conversations you have will impact this, spit buckets will also help. Guests should spit out into spit buckets so that the alcohol levels don’t take away from the whole experience.

7. Allow People Time to Take Notes

Your guests need time to write down what impression they get from each bottle they taste. Your guests may all be wine lovers but wine descriptions are hard to nail for the same reason they are easy to come up with. Ease your guests into the night and encourage conversations that help everyone feel comfortable and you will get more out of them. Taking everything step by step also helps encourage individual and authentic opinions so that you don’t have a scenario where people mirror each other’s opinions. Some of the main points to note down as you taste the wines include:

  • Flavors and aromas: write down any flavors that come to mind when you taste a bottle of wine.
  • Balance: what is the mix of flavors? Is one flavor too dominant? It could be the tannins, acidity or sugariness, have it all noted down.
  • The finish: this has to do with the lingering taste after you have swallowed the wine. A quality bottle of wine should have a subtle finish. The low-quality bottles leave no notable taste.

8. Fun Games to Finish the Party in Style

You can take it a notch higher and make your wine tasting party a bit more interesting with some fun games. You can have these towards the end of the party or inculcate them into the wine tasting. Have prices for winners just to add to that special feeling of being a wine tasting expert.

As the host, you will do well for yourself to find out all you can about wine. Find out all the fun facts you can about wine in general and surprise your guests with your knowledge of wine. It’s not hard to have a successful wine hosting session even if you are not the most knowledgeable wine drinker and a list like this will help you get it right.

Thank you for reading with us today! Did these tips help you out a bit more about planning that perfect wine tasting party? Take a look at “Detailed Guide to Making Wine Gummy Bears With Ease” and see how you can include these delicious gummies in your party! Let us know in the comments below what else you include in your wine gatherings.

Wine on My Time is a resource blog for wine lovers all across the world! We take pride in delivering the best quality wine material for our readers. Check us out on Instagram and   Pinterest for daily wine content!

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