7 Essential Tips to Host A Wine Tasting

Jun. 25, 2018

The joy of a home wine tasting is that it can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish. Your personality and those of your friends and family will set the tone. Some may want to host a wine tasting as a way to learn more about wine, while others who are more versed in wine may want to add a competitive element. These seven tips will help guide you in an easy and fun way to approach your next wine centered social gathering.

1. Know Your Guests

Let your guests know ahead of time how they should approach the wines you plan on serving. Let them know this is either a casual evening of good conversation and wine enjoyment, or if your guests have a stronger passion and knowledge for wine, let them know they should come with a well prepared palate and a good-hearted competitive spirit. While some of your guests may enjoy the atmosphere and feeling that wine can provide, some guests may take this tasting as a challenge.

2. Choosing the Wines

  • Variety

Let everyone know they’ll be tasting various La Crescents or Marquettes or Petite Pearls. This will establish what they can expect to taste and then they can determine the appellation or region from which that specific grape may have come from.

  • Region

Establish that the event will be all about wines from Washington Valley, or Argentina, or our personal favorite, Wisconsin. This will help guide everyone’s palates for what they can expect and some may even find a new favorite region they didn’t know created high quality wines.

  • Style

If you know your guests well enough, you can cater to what they will enjoy tasting. Here are some options to revert to when it comes to style:

  • Dry or Sweet
  • Red, White, Rosé
  • Dessert or Specialty
  • Light or Full-Bodied
  • Price

Price does not always determine quality, but it does establish a common ground. For this option, you can choose 3-4 wines at the exact same price and as people taste you can determine the level of enjoyment. You may find a great wine for a great value.

3. Prepare Necessary Supplies

Obviously you’re going to need some wine glasses. If serving sparkling wines, a flute glass will help accentuate the sparkle and bring more pop to every sip. With red wines almost any glass will work, and with whites and rosés stemmed glasses will help avoid hand contact and temperature rise. You’ll also need pencils and paper for those who wish to take notes, as well as spit buckets to get rid of unwanted wine.

4. Serve Foods that Compliment, Not Compete

Food should not overpower the wine it’s paired with. Three general foods to include in every wine tasting are cheese, crackers, and a light or thin meat. Always remember that light wines deserve light foods and heavy or full-bodied wines need more taste and more flavor to compliment.

5. Serve Wines Correctly

The general rule is to serve wines from dry to sweet. You should start with sparkling wines and move to whites and rosés. Then finish with reds, and if your guests are up to it, maybe a port or dessert wine. Each pour should be about 1-2 ounces, which will leave plenty for enjoyment once the tasting is complete.

6. Keep It Taste Oriented

Encourage everyone to cleanse their palates with water or some crackers. Remember, this evening is about the enjoyment of taste and flavor, not just drinking. This is also a perfect reminder to encourage your guests to write down flavor profiles, tasting notes, and anything that stands out. You never know, you may just find a hidden gem.

7. What To Avoid

A few things to avoid include:

  • Scented Candles - this will compete with the aromas you’ll want to experience from the wine
  • Crowded Spaces - this makes the experience uncomfortable and can deter from enjoying every aspect meticulously
  • Over Serving - after a glass or two of wine you lose that refined taste aspect

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