Hosting a Wine Tasting Party

How to host a Wine Tasting Party for friends


Hosting a wine tasting party is a lot of fun. Although, this might seem to be for only the sophisticated crowd, anyone can learn about wine and hold a wine tasting. This is a great way to get together and experiment with new varietals. You can use any method of a wine tasting when you have a party.

Hosting a Wine Tasting


The first thing you need to do is determine the type of wine tasting you want to have with your friends. The best ‘first’ wine tasting method is the Big 8 because this gives everyone a good idea the differences of varietals right up front. You can choose from the horizontal, vertical, pairings with cheese or chocolate, or other methods. It is up to you as it is your wine tasting party.

You will next need to determine who you are going to invite to a wine tasting party. Be sure there is enough room for all of the guests you want to invite before you send out any invitations. You want enough chairs for people to sit comfortably. You also don’t want to have too many people as it could be a bad situation if people feel rushed.

When you think about the amount of people you have at your wine tasting party will help you know how much wine you need to buy. Be sure to have enough so all of the guests are able to taste the same wines.

Hosting a Wine Tasting


Thinking about the ‘who’ in who you are going to invite is important also. You might not want to invite friends who think they are experts on wine or they might get a little annoying. They also might take over the entire learning process of the different wines. This is supposed to be fun so be sure to invite fun people and people who are open minded.

You should design a card for each wine being tasted. This will be filled out by each guest as they taste each wine. They will be able to record the aroma they smell from each wine, the flavor, what it tastes like with a specific cheese, etc. You can also have them score the different wines on the back of each card also.

The best way to do a wine tasting with your friends is by holding a blind wine tasting party. You will need black or dark colored glasses so the guests cannot see the colors of the different wines. This way their perceptions will be more honest and accurate.

You also do not ever want to tell your guests what the prices of a specific wine was because they will immediately pass judgment on whether or not it is a good wine. Some people immediately assume wine is no good if it is less than $100. Never tell the price to your guests, especially if you have many different wines varying greatly in price. It is okay to tell prices after the wine tasting is over.


It is important not to have labels on the bottles or anywhere they can be found. If you leave a label on the counter then you may have a cheating guest. Allow the guests to incorporate their senses properly without any help or hints.

You don’t have to go all out when you decorate for a wine tasting party. It is important to have a white table cloth so the wine color can be properly assessed. Many people like to decorate with candles, paintings, and flowers. It is entirely up to you how you want to decorate at your party.

Be sure you have plenty of light at your wine tasting party. This is important or you will have difficulty with proper assessments of the color of the wine. You might serve a very cloudy wine but if the room is dim and candle light is shining it may look brilliant.

When you serve wines at a wine tasting party be sure that they are served from dry to sweet. Start with the light white wines first and work your way slowly to the dark and heavy red wines. You should also start with younger wines to the older wines. If you are doing a vertical test based on years then you will be sure to start with the newest wines first.

Hosting a Wine Tasting Party


When you pour wine at a wine tasting be sure you pour enough in the glass to taste the wine and not too much. Two ounces is usually a perfect amount to pour for your guests to get the right amount for a proper tasting of the wine.

Be sure to provide snacks like unflavored, unsalted crackers and bread to your guests. You don’t want your guests to be hungry. This will also cleanse their palate so they are ready for the next wine to try on your list.

The most important thing to consider at a wine tasting party is driving. If your wine tasting party consists of people drinking the wine and not just tasting then they will need to find a ride home. Be sure rides have been arranged so all of your guests are safe when the party is over.

Hosting a Wine Tasting Party; Serving Wine Opening a Bottle of Wine

When you open a bottle of wine you might find it is difficult at first. You should become familiar with the corkscrew you are using before you plant it in the cork. You don’t want the cork to crumble or end up inside of the wine. This can be frustrating, especially if there are tiny pieces in the wine and hard to pick out.

When you put a corkscrew in a bottle of wine be sure the end is right in the middle of the cork. Turn the top of the corkscrew until the screw is almost entirely inside of the cork. As you turn the top handle you will notice the sides of the corkscrew will rise. You will push these two side handles down simultaneously and the cork will be removed from the bottle.

Hosting a Wine Tasting Party; Temperatures

Wine is best when it is served at the right temperatures. Some wines tastes horrific if you serve them when they are too warm or even too chilled. Some wines are not meant to be chilled but to be served at room temperature. You should know what temperatures are best or you could ruin your wine tasting party with your friends.

The best wine temperatures for serving wines at a wine tasting party or any time is as follows:

White Wines: 45 to 50 degrees Sparkling Wines: 41 to 51 degrees Rose Wines: 45 to 55 degrees Red wines: 50 to 64 degrees Fortified Wines: 54 to 65 degrees

Hosting a Wine Tasting Party


Hosting a Wine Tasting Party;Properly Chilling Wine

Many people think they can toss a bottle of wine in the freezer for a few minutes and it is perfectly chilled. The best method of chilling a bottle of wine is in a bucket of ice water. You don’t want just a bucket full of ice.

Fill a bucket up almost 3⁄4 full with ice. Then mix the bucket with water. Bury the bottle inside of this and allow it to chill for at least half an hour. When you chill wine in a refrigerator it usually takes up to several hours to get to the right temperature.

You can produce a bad wine if you leave it in the refrigerator too long also. You don’t wan to ruin a good bottle of wine. When you decide you are ready to drink it be sure to put it on ice water. The freezer and wine do not mix well together and you will not like the taste of the wine.

Hosting a Wine Tasting Party; Storing Leftover Wine

When you store leftover wine be sure not to put it in the refrigerator because it will be tainted the next time you want to drink it. Recork the wine and store it in a good place. The best way to store wine bottles is by ensuring the cork remains moist, the wine will be at the lowest stable temperature as possible, there is no vibration in the storage location, and it is not a storage area for other items that might smell bad.

One thing to keep in mind is that you should never invest in those little miniature wine racks and put them on top of your refrigerator. This is the best way to ruin a good bottle of wine. It might look chic in your kitchen but the warmth of the refrigerator ruins the wine.

If you plan on storing a wine for a long period of time that may be longer than six months then you should be sure that the storage place is dark, has a high humidity, and a low temperature. The ideal temperatures are between 50 and 55 degrees with a 70 percent of humidity.

Hosting a Wine Tasting Party


Hosting a Wine Tasting Party; Signs of Oxidation

It could be really embarrassing to serve a bottle of wine to your friends at a wine tasting party that is oxidized. You should take proper care of your wine so you never have this problem. There are signs you will notice for oxidation.

These things include discoloration of a red wine to a brown tint. White wines will go from white to golden yellow. The wine might smell funny and not how it should. The flavors might be very strange and out of the ordinary.

Tainted wine really is ruined and undrinkable. It won’t make you sick but it really is unbearable to drink and you won’t want to. When you have a wine tasting the best thing to do is buy more than one bottle of wine in case one of the bottles becomes tainted. It happens from time to time and sometimes it isn’t even your fault.


There are many considerations when it comes to wine tasting with your friends. Anyone can hold a wine tasting party. Wine tasting is not just for the sophisticated. It is a lot of fun to learn about wine tasting and wine.

Before you hold a wine tasting party you should familiarize yourself with wine, the origin, and more. Find out the history of the different wines before you serve them to your friends. It will be fun for everyone to learn about the different wines. In addition, you need to know how to properly taste wine. You don’t just take a sip of wine and give your opinion on whether or not it tastes good or not. Be sure to give it your best wine assessment you can.

Your wine tasting party will be successful if you have down the proper etiquette and rules. Be sure to follow guidelines as these are unwritten rules and considered common sense to wine enthusiasts.

Jean Michel

What’s on In Bromley.

Hosting a Wine Tasting Party