If you are looking for a fun experience to do at home with your friends, look no further than a wine tasting! Wine tastings are a great party to host because they provide an opportunity to improve your wine knowledge and your palate, all while socializing and having fun at the same time. Moreover, an at-home wine tasting is the best way for you, along with some of your friends, to sip on some libations without blowing your budget.
Of course, if this is your first time, the idea of hosting a wine tasting all by yourself can feel intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Below, you will find a few tips and recommendations to make your wine tasting party look as though you are a pro!
Tip 1: Decide on a Theme
When it comes to selecting which wines to taste, the key is choosing three to six wines with a common theme. Do you really love red wines? A theme of big and bold reds or reds under $20 may suit you. Does the group like Chardonnay? Add a twist to your tasting with a selection of Chardonnay’s made by the same producer from three different years.
If that seems overwhelming, start with something simple, pick a grape like Pinot Noir or a country like wines from Italy. Whether it’s by varietal, vintage, style, or region, have fun with this first step, as it will truly set the tone for the night.
Here are a few of our favorite themes to help get your creative juices flowing:
- A blind comparison of cheap vs expensive wines
- All bottles under $20
- Wines from your favorite region around the world
Tip 2: Choose the Wines
Once you decide on the theme of the tasting, now it’s time to choose the wines. For the tasting, you should plan to include at least three bottles, but no more than six.
If you are feeling generous, you can purchase the wine for your guests, or you can have your guests each contribute by bringing a bottle to the party. Setting a price range ($15-$20, for example) or a country is a great way to make sure everyone brings an appropriate bottle for the tasting.
P.S. If you don’t know where to start, download the Sippd app to combine taste preferences with your friends and see wine recommendations tailored to the group’s palate. It’s a great way to get introduced to new wines you may never have tried otherwise.
Tip Three: Set the Table
When setting the table for your wine tasting, ensuring you are equipped with all the necessities is important. If you have a white tablecloth to put down, that’s ideal. If not, a white napkin at each place setting will work so each guest can clearly assess the color of their wines.
Keep a spit bucket and water carafe in the center of the table and a few bowls of plain crackers or bread. Keeping all other food or beverage smells near the table is crucial, as this can greatly impact the wine’s taste. Unless, of course, you are hosting a food and wine pairing class which we will save for another day ;-).
Ideally, each guest should have at least three glasses set in front of them to compare and contrast the wine’s sight (color), smell (aromas), and taste (flavors) against another wine.
Tip Four: Prepare Notes For Discussion
When the wine tasting begins, you want to give each guest an opportunity to taste the wines individually. This will give them a chance to get to know their own palate and allow them to make their own unbiased decisions about the wine. P.S. Sippd lets you rate each wine on a one- to five-star scale, jot down aromas, flavors or who you enjoyed the bottle with in your private notes section, and edit four wine characteristic sliders to remember how the wine tasted.
After a few minutes, have the group come together to discuss the unique aromas that jumped out for them, what they liked and didn’t like, etc.
Pro tip: Create index cards with bullet points to help guide your discussion with your guests and pull tasting notes directly from the Sippd app!
Tip Five: Finish With Food
After tasting through 3-6 wines, you may find your palate is exhausted. Place all the bottles on the table and let your guests casually enjoy the wines with some food. Cheers to hosting a fun wine tasting at home!