Wine Tasting Party

Wine Glass with Red Wine and Bottles in Background
A Wine-Tasting Party is a great way to try various types of wine and to enjoy some adult company at the same time. If you have friends who are, or if you are a wine connoisseur, this theme can be lots of fun. However, pick your guests selectively as not everyone has an interest in wines or appreciate the qualities of a fine wine.
Birthday Party Ideas arrow Wine and Wine Party Supplies

 

Wine Tasting Party Table, Wine, Wine Evaluation sheet, Wine Bottle Invitation

(1) Table set-up for a sit down wine tasting party, (2) Tapas as Hors D’oeuvres, (3) Download Free Wine Tasting Evaluation Sheets, (4) Wine from wine list below, and (5) Make your own Wine bottle party invitation.

 

Wine Tasting Party Quick Links

 

Wine Tasting Party Invitations

Wine Bottle Party Invitation
Create your own Wine Bottle Invitations by downloading the FREE Wine Bottle Template, trace out onto card stock, and then cut out. Use gold or silver foil and cover the top of the bottle like a champagne bottle. Another alternative is to get some flat sheet of cork and make a cork stopper for the top instead. Wrap a ribbon around the neck of the bottle and put a label in the middle. Print out the party details on a separate sheet of card stock and stick on the back. See the complete wine bottle  invitation.

Number of Guests. If you will be having a sit-down wine tasting, invite the number of guests that you can comfortably sit around the dinner table. For informal taste testing, where guests can move around freely you can have the flexibility to invite more people.

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Wine Tasting Party Decorations

  • Decorate the party room like a winery with Tuscan style influence using lots of colors of reds, purple, beige, gold, and olive green.
  • Use grape vine to decorate the tables and party area.
  • Create a centerpiece display by stacking layers of breads, crackers, various cheeses, various types of grapes (concord, white, black, red, mini, globe) and wine bottles.
  • Add flowers in rustic terra cotta vats to compliment the color scheme.
  • Collect trivia about different wineries you will be featuring for the night. Put them on note cards and display them all around the party area in little frames next to the wine bottles.

Wine Tasting Preparation – Day of The Party

Decant your wine before the party starts. Decanting will allow your wine to breathe, and helps bring out the aroma and taste. To do this, start by pouring your wine into a decanter, glass container, or pitcher slowly and letting it sit for 1/2 to 1 hour before the party begins. If there is sediment at the bottom of the bottle, don’t pour that in. This way decanting also helps to get rid of extra sediments that has collected at the bottom of the wine bottle.

Wine Tasting Party Trivia Game and Guest Arrival

Put out note cards with wine trivia questions all over the party room and see who can get the most answers right. When guests arrive, let them walk around the party room and jot down their answers on note cards. This is a great way to keep guests busy while they wait for others to arrive. Towards the end of the party, give out a prize to the one who has the most correct answers. What to give out? A bottle of wine, of course! Here are a few sample trivia questions:

1. Most expensive wine in the world: How much was the most expensive bottle of wine sold for?

  • (a) $540
  • (b) 1,700
  • (c) $28,000
  • (d) $160,000.

The Answer: (d)Forbes wrote about a bottle of Bordeaux wine, 1787 Chateau Lafite, with the letters “Th. J” etched on the bottle. This bottle used to belong to Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States. It sold in 1985 for $160,000.

2. Oldest Vintage. Where was the oldest wine found?

  • (a) Iran
  • (b) China
  • (c) Greece
  • (d) France.

The Answer: (a) – The oldest sample of wine in the world, dating to approximately 7000 years ago, was discovered in clay jars in modern-day Iran, in a small town called Hajji Firuz Tepe, outside of Shiraz in Iran.

3. How many grapes does it take to make an average bottle of wine?

  • (a) 2 ounces
  • (b) 2 1/2 pounds
  • (c) 15 pounds
  • (d) 50 pounds

The Answer: (b) – It takes about 2 1/2 pounds of grapes to make an average bottle of wine.

4. How many varieties of wine grapes exist in the world today?

  • (a) 100
  • (b) 1,000
  • (c) 10,000
  • (d) 100,000.

The Answer: (c) – The number is well over 10,000.

5. What does the year on a wine bottle mean?

  • (a) The year the wine was bottled
  • (b) The year the grapes was harvested
  • (c) The year the winery was founded
  • (d) The year the wine was distributed.

The Answer: (b) The vintage year tells us when the grapes was harvested.

6. Why are wine bottles stored on their sides?

  • (a) They take up less space
  • (b) To keep the cork from drying out
  • (c) To keep the bottle from accidentally being knocked down
  • (d) To keep sediment from collecting at the bottom.

The Answer: (b) – To keep the cork from drying out bottles should be stored horizontal, or at an angle.

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Wine Tasting Party Supplies

Here are a list of suggested supplies needed to host a Wine Tasting Party.

 

Wine Tasting Party Table Setting For each guest
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  • (1) Wine Glasses. Have various types and sizes of wine glasses on hand. It has been said that the taste of the wine is influenced by the type of wine glass the wine is served in, so have a variety on hand depending on what kind of wine you are planning to taste for the evening. For a formal wine tasting, have a minimum of 2 wine goblets per guest.
  • (2) Dump Containers. Use dump buckets, glass cups or use plastic cups for this purpose. If you will be tasting a lot of wine, the best way is not to swallow all the wine but to spit out. This way your palette stays fresh and you are able to savor and evaluate each wine more readily. However, leave that up to your guests to decide and have that option available.
  • (3) Water. Water glasses and water pitchers. Use bottled water only.
  • (4) Napkins. Provide either decorated paper napkins or cloth napkins.
  • (5) Pieces of Bread or Crackers. Crackers or pieces of bread should be plain and not flavored.
  • (6) Wine Tasting Evaluation Sheets. Download the Free Wine Tasting Evaluation Sheets and place one at each place setting. Use traditional school grades to score each wine. Print out on a scoring card to remind guests what the categories are. Score 90-100 = A, Score 80-89 = B, Score 70-79 = C, Score 60-69 = D, and Score 50-59 = F.
  • (7) Pencils. Make sure sharpened and if need be, have erasers on hand as well.
  • (8) Placemats. Not required but place mats helps define the space and adds an extra layering option for the party table in terms of color, decor, as well as, in case of spills.
  • (9) Calculator. A Calculator for official tabulation — only for the statistically and sober-minded. (Not pictured). There is always that one guests that needs to know all the exact stats!
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Wine List for the Party

How much wine do I need?

General rule of thumb is 2 ounces per person for the specific wine you will be tasting. So each bottle will serve about 8 guests. So if you will be having 8 guests present, 1 bottle per category should be enough.

How many different wines should I serve?

Serve six to eight different wines. For novices, who most likely will not be spitting out the wine, stick to the lower number.

What types of wine?

A wine tasting party can be a general wine tasting party for novices or it can be more specific and focused on a certain theme. Some wine themes are for example, Chianti wines, Wines from California, Foreign Wines, White Wines, Local Wines, etc. Here is a general list of some wines you can pick for a general wine tasting party:

White Wines

  1. Table Wines – White Wine (Dry)
    • Sauvignon Blanc
    • Chardonnay
    • Chablis
    • Gewürztraminer
    • Rhine
  2. Table Wines – White Wine (Medium-Dry)
    • Pinot Blanc
    • Pinot Grigio
    • Chenin Blanc
    • Riesling
    • White Bordeaux
  3. Table Wines – White Wine (Medium-Sweet)
    • Sauterne
  4. Table Wines – White Wine (Sweet)
    • Asti Spumante
    • Haut Sauternes

Red Wines

  1. Table Wines – Red Wine (Dry)
  2. Table Wines – Red Wine (Medium-Dry)
    • Cabernet Franc
    • Sangiovese
    • Zinfandel

Rose Wines

  1. Rose Wines – (Dry)
    • Rose D’Anjou
  2. Rose Wines – (Medium-Dry)
    • Chablis

Kosher Wines

  1. Rose Wines – (Dry)
    • Rose D’Anjou

 

Wine Tasting Party Food - stuffed mushroom, ciabatta, grapes and cheese, tomato skewers, and wine glass set up

From Top Left to Bottom Right:  Stuffed Prosciutto Mushroom / Ciabatta Appetizers / Wine Glass / Personalized Wine Glass / Grapes and Cheese / Mozzarella and Tomato Skewers.

Wine Tasting Party Procedure

  1. Invite guests to sit at the table. For each guest you will have a place mat with a minimum of 2 wine goblets, 1 water bottle, 1 cup for water, 1 dump bucket or cup, crackers or cubes of bread, pencil and scoring sheet, napkins.
  2. Serve white wine cool and red wines at room temperature.
  3. Serve the lighter wines first. Then move on to more full-bodied wines.
  4. Start with your first bottle. Pour about 2 ounces in each glass and let each guest do a taste test:
    • Color. Observe and note the color of the wine.
    • Viscosity. Swirl in the glass and observe its viscosity.
    • Aroma. Observe the characteristics of the aroma. Is it nutty? Fruity? Smokey? Etc.
    • Taste. Take a small sip. Swirl in your mouth. Swallow by pursing your lips and letting air through your lips, almost like you are slurping, without making noise of course. What does it taste like? (More detailed tasting information here).
  5. Record your observation and rating on Wine Tasting Evaluation Sheets. Use grade score ratings to make things easy and simple. Score 90-100 = A, Score 80-89 = B, Score 70-79 = C, Score 60-69 = D, and Score 50-59 = F., for each category.
  6. Cleanse your palette by eating some crackers, bread or drinking a sip of water.
  7. Move on to the next wine.
  8. After all wines are rated, compare and discuss findings.
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Wine Tasting Special Guests

Consider inviting a local wine expert or a representative of a local winery to come to talk at your party. Chances are they will come to promote their products but they can also provide some information on wine tasting or wine trivia. I am all for supporting local businesses and if they are bringing free samples to try, a wine tasting party is the best place for them to be!

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Wine Tasting Party Food

 

Gouda cheese
Big block of Feta cheese with herbs sprinkled on top
Cheese in various shapes and taste
brie cheese

 

  • Bread. Serve cubed pieces of breads and plain crackers in baskets to clean palates.
  • Fruit. Decorate with bunches of grapes and strawberries.
  • Cheese. Put out a few cheeseswith labels in groups together with the wines they best accompany:
    • Blue Cheese (Chianti, Burgundy, Bordeaux)
    • Brie (Chianti, Burgundy, Sherry)
    • Camembert (Burgundy)
    • Cheddar (Bordeaux, Burgundy)
    • Edam (Bordeaux, Burgundy, Sherry)
    • Feta (Chianti, Burgundy, Bordeaux)
    • Gouda (Beaujolais, Chablis)
    • Gruyere (Burgundy)
    • Jarlsberg (Burgundy)
    • Muenster (Bordeaux, Chablis)
    • Provolone (Burgundy)
    • Swiss (Burgundy, Bordeaux)
  • Hors D’oeuvres. After the actual tasting, consider serving easy hors d’oeuvres for the remainder of the evening. This way guests do not continue drinking on an empty stomach and they can also get little bites to compliment their wine. These can be made ahead of time and be ready before the party starts:

    Wine Tasting Party Tomato Mozzarella Skewers
    Wine Tasting Party Almond Tapas Appetizers
    Wine Tasting Party Feta Cheese Tapas Appetizers
    Wine Tasting Party Marinated Olives Tapas Appetizers

     

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Other Theme Ideas:

Monthly Wine Club. Get together with a few friends, couples, singles, gals or guys and form a wine club.  Have new and exciting wine preselected for you and delivered once a month for your wine tasting.  You can decide whether to have just one bottle shipped per month, a few bottles, even a case.  The convenience is that the research has already been done for you which saves you time, energy and cost.

Blind Taste Test. Cover up the bottles and see which wine wins “The Best Wine” of the night!  Here is a game kit that you can get ready to go and all you need to do is add the wine.  It comes with 10 numbered Wine Bags, 10 Tasting Tip Sheets, 50 Paper Wine Glass Tags, 50 Tasting Note Sheets, and 10 Pencils.  The bags come numbered so you don’t have to hunting for them and the best part – they look great and are reusable.  This kit is great for all kinds of wine parties, from annual Thanksgiving get-togethers with family members to the monthly dinner parties for the die-hard wine lovers.  This blind wine tasting game kit allows players to learn and practice the 5 S’s of Wine Tasting: Sight, Swirl, Smell, Sip, and Savor.  Great fun for all!

Wine Tasting Kit

Cultural Wine Tasting. Taste wines from different exotic countries that are not normally tasted, like South Africa, Chile and Greece. Pair up with hors d’oeuvres from each country.

Wine and Chocolate Tasting. The two favorite sins that compliment each other. You can also be theme specific and serve dark chocolates with red wines, etc.

Dessert Wines and Dessert Party. Serve Dessert Wines with various miniature desserts and dessert cheeses.

Ballroom Dancing Couples Night. Get a few couples together and decide to meet e.g. every Friday Night of the week, or once a month for example.  Perhaps each couple can take turns hosting. Get a few bottles of wine, appetizers and hire a professional to come in to get you all into the groove.  If hiring a professional is not an option, perhaps getting an instructional video collection like the Ballroom Dance tutorial, created by dance professionals provides a more convenient and affordable alternative.  This is a collection of 5 types of dances – swing, foxtrot, waltz, tango and cha cha.  The comprehensive collection comes with 13 video DVDs, 6 dance along CDs, a book and a support system online.  This way your group can go as fast or as slow as they want week by week, and if you divide the cost up among the couples, it makes it even more affordable.

Murder Mystery Wine Party. Put on your own Murder Mystery Party: murder’s on the menu, and everyone’s a suspect in this grownup game for six players. This Murder Mystery Party includes everything you need to serve up a fun murder mystery: a shopping list, menus, and delicious recipes.  Also included are eight party invitations and envelopes; place cards; secret clues; and, best of all, a murder mystery to solve. Just invite your friends to dress up and play the roles of the devious suspects.  You can make the menu items yourself or ask your guest to bring one item from the menu to the party, potluck style.  For other murder mysteries themes check out our list here.

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After the Party:

Intoxicated Guests. Consider renting a limo or taxi in advance and have those guests pitch in so they don’t have to drive home. If you have a spare bedroom, consider having that available to any guests who are not capable of driving home.

Storing Leftover Wines. There are many fancy devices to store leftover wine. However, the simple and easy way is to transfer the wine to smaller bottles and closing off tightly. After storing leftover wine (whether it’s red, white or sparkling) in the fridge, drink it within 1-2 days. For red wine, you can keep at room temperature if the room is kept cool (65°F).

Wine Stains. Accidents do happen and occasionally you will end up with a stain on a rug or clothing. Treat as soon as it happens. Here is a home remedy to try: (a) mix 1 cup water with, (b) 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide, then add, (c) a little bit of dish soap. Put the solution onto the carpet stain and let it soak. Blot off repeatedly with a dry cloth or paper towel. Sprinkle baking soda or Oxyclean. Shampoo or spot clean the area afterwards.

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Wine Tasting Party Resources:

Wine Tasting Party Recipes:



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