Tag Archives: winerd

Party Planning: Everything You’ll Need for a Wine Tasting Evening

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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? 


Wine Find: Ceja Vineyard’s Vino de Casa

If you’re looking for a great bottle to have on hand for when the need for a red arises, my current favorite is this red blend from Ceja Vineyards. It’s majority Pinot Noir (a style Ceja excels at) blended with Syrah and Merlot.

Vino de Casa Red Blend

Aroma:  bright cherries, dark fruit, spice, ripe plum and cocoa.
Palate:  crisp acidity and a caramel and supple finish.
Flavors: red and dark fruit infused with blueberry.
Favorite Pairings: all sorts of Mexican dishes and even pizza.

President of Ceja Vineyards, Amelia Moran Ceja, calls it “a breakfast, lunch, and dinner wine.” Basically, it is the perfect “everyday” wine that will pair with lots! Smooth and simple.

Also, if I’ve learned anything from selling wine, it’s that a narrative you can share with your friends while pouring them a glass is more important to most than the typical “specs” we attribute to bottles. And Ceja Vineyards has one I like! Amelia was the first Mexican-American woman ever to be elected president of a winery. She credits a strong matriarchal tradition and an independent spirit for her success, but most of all her experience with food has shaped her life choices and put her at the forefront of the wine-world in Napa. (There are even videos of her recipes on the Ceja Vineyards YouTube page!)

I love this piece of advice she shares on the vineyard’s website, “My grandmother told me, ‘Whatever you do, if you love it and learn everything you can about it, you will be successful—and not dependent on a man.’” That dedication to pursuing one’s passion is in every glass!

You can check out other bottles on offer from Ceja Vineyards HERE. Cheers!

P.S. A fun bike accessory for wine lovers and my favorite Thanksgiving wines.

My Favorite Super Bowl Moment

Did you watch the Super Bowl last night? I spent the evening with a few folks, and honestly, by the time the game started we were still busy discussing all things Kylie Jenner. We even asked that the game be turned down so we could watch her birth announcement video a second time.

But then this happened…

Please someone tell me what red is in Gisele Bundchen’s wine glass! I’d totally buy a bottle…(even though her hubby’s team didn’t win.) She is all of us. Haha!

What was your favorite Super Bowl moment? 

Wines to Enjoy This Thanksgiving

Are you drawing a blank about what wine to pair with your upcoming Thanksgiving feast?  As I’ve mentioned before, I work a few nights a week at a local wine store, and I love passing along the nuggets of knowledge I pick up along the way. Let’s chat!

Light bodied reds pair exceptionally well with turkey and heartier vegetable sides. So a Pinot Noir is a lovely addition to any Thanksgiving table. Look for bottles from California with flavors of cherry or strawberry and hints of spice or woodsy notes.

If you’re looking for something a little heavier, but don’t want to overwhelm all those classic Thanksgiving flavors, grab a Malbec. There are tons of great bottles in that perfect under-$15 sweet spot. Pick one up from the Mendoza region and enjoy!

Of course, not everyone is a red drinker, so it’s nice to have alternative options. Chardonnay is a classic for Thanksgiving. A hearty, fruit forward flavor profile is best. Keep your eye out for flavors and aromas to complement the ingredients on your table. Apple, Vanilla, and Nutty profiles create a beautiful bridge between beverage and meal.

If you’re looking to create a fun and festive ambiance, you’ll want to include a Sparkling White. Not only do sparkling wines signify celebration, but the nutty-fruity flavor profile of most bottles works great with Thanksgiving foods. Go for something with a softer style, like a Prosecco or a bottle labeled “demi sec” or “dry”.

Looking for something a little more unexpected? Try a Pinot Gris. This Alsatian style wine has a rich and spicy character but maintains a beautiful sweetness in finish. The flavors and mouth feel are a bit more complex than other options, making each glass a fun experience for guests.

Finally, Beaujolais Nouveau is released every year on the third Thursday of November (today!) and is a fun wine to include at Thanksgiving. The wine plays into the idea of a harvest celebration as its release signifies the first wine of the year. It’s an easy-to-drink wine with low tannins and a classic grape flavor.

Do you serve wine with your Thanksgiving feast? Which of these bottles sounds like the winner for your table this year? Let me know!! xoxo