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When you’re a wine nerd, there’s one type of party that tops the rest: a wine tasting evening! Rather than heading out to an overpriced bar or vineyard hosting a tasting, you can recreate the experience for half the cost— without losing any of the fun.
If you like the idea of inviting a few friends over for a wine tasting evening, keep reading for everything you need to ensure the experience is as good as it can possibly be…
Go wild with wine varieties.
If you’re going to have a wine tasting evening, then you obviously need wines to taste, and variety is very much the spice of life. Opt for wines that you wouldn’t usually drink; you never know, you might just find a new favorite! A range of price points is also a good idea, though only spend more on wines you already know that you like. Experiment with cheaper options and then indulge your favorites as you progress through the price range. Once you’ve got your bottle collection, you can create the order you’ll taste them in using this helpful guideline:
Sparkling –> Dry Whites –> Heavier/Older Whites –> Rosés –>
Younger Light Reds –> Bold Reds –> Sweet Dessert Wines
Consider offering non-wine options, too!
A “wine tasting evening” doesn’t have to be just a wine tasting evening, especially if you want to include people who aren’t huge wine fans. If your knowledge of alcoholic beverages is lacking, then spend a little time browsing Alcohol Professor until you have ideas for additional options. If it’s within your budget, it’s nice to opt for a few unusual bottles. (Something your guests haven’t tried before.) Cointreau and other interesting liqueurs can help round the evening out nicely.
You should provide food.
Although the drinks will be the star of the show, you will need to provide some form of food. This is especially true if you and your guests intend to swallow, rather than spit, the beverages you’re going to sample. Carbs are a best bet for helping to absorb alcohol, while a sorbet is the perfect palate cleanser between glasses.
Teach your guests how to spit!
Spitting is not the most delightful of topics, but it’s one that we need to touch on so strap in! Spittoons are standard at conventional wine tasting evenings, and you’ll want to think about introducing the same practice for your evening. If you don’t, there’s not a huge amount to distinguish the evening as a wine tasting — rather than a wine drinking — evening. Working at a wine shop means I’m always trying new wines! But because I’m usually “on the clock” for these tastings, spitting is a must. At first I was sort of embarrassed about this specific wine-custom but I’ve gotten used to it. If your guests have never spat wine before, then it’s worth considering playing this video before the party starts:
Think about how everyone will get home
Even with spitting implemented, it’s still best to encourage your guests to treat the evening as one where alcohol has been imbibed. When you issue your invitations, ensure your guests have plans to get home safely. Lyft is your friend, y’all!
Are you a wine nerd? Would you consider throwing a wine tasting evening (or have you already)? Any wine topics you’d like me to cover in a future post?
8 thoughts on “Party Planning: Everything You’ll Need for a Wine Tasting Evening”
I don’t feel as adult enough to host a wine tasting (although… I’m 23, I’m married & I have a kid. not adult enough? Oh well.).
These are some lovely tips though, would love to take a part for a wine tasting and even host one myself one day 🙂
So glad I had a chance to read your article. I’m a wine lover myself – this will help a lot when I decide to host a wine tasting evening for my friends!
This is probably a no-go for most people, but I think it would be cool to offer non-alcoholic varieties. I don’t consume alcohol, but have always been a fan of the whole “wine and cheese” concept. Though, I know a lot of wine and cheese connoisseurs may think this is a terrible idea. Lol.
Wow I love wine and this would be interesting to do someday when I have a family of my own! Never wouldve thought, thanks for helping with the things that will be needed!
I think this the spitting part of wine tasting is the part that I have the hardest time with. I suppose it allows you to get a better sense of the flavor and such but I generally don’t drink wine to spit it out. Food though is essential as you state.