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A wine tasting party is the perfect time to discover new varieties and try different types of wines. Explore new aromas, colors, flavors and mouthfeels by curating a broad selection of vino and popping some bottles with your friends — the more the merrier.
Impress guests with the best party ever using these expert tips.
1. Do Some Research
Whether you’re new to wine or practically a connoisseur, it’s worth reading up on the five-step process of wine-tasting. From observing and discussing a wine’s aroma to savoring its different tasting notes, there are a few things you should know before hosting a tasting party.
First-hand experience is the best way to learn, so grab a few bottles and start swirling, sniffing and sipping. The more wines you taste, the more easily you’ll be able to explain concepts like mouthfeel, body and aroma to your guests.
2. Create An Inviting Atmosphere
You want your guests to feel welcome and comfortable, which is why it’s so important to create an inviting atmosphere. Dim the lights and light a few candles to ensure a warm ambiance. Then, choose a playlist to underscore the evening. Some go so far as to pair classical music from the likes of Mozart with their wine, but practically any soothing tune will work.
Adding these extra touches will cover up any awkward silences that might occur whenever your guests sip and ponder each varietal. They’ll also help guests relax and unwind before you even pop the first bottle.
3. Curate A Lineup
Maybe you prefer whites over reds or one varietal over the other. Regardless, it’s important to provide guests with a diverse selection of vinos. This way they have a chance to experience different tasting notes and how they might differ by region, brand, age and harvesting time.
For instance, you could curate a lineup of reds from all over the world or a collection of whites to showcase their wide flavor profiles. Alternatively, you can serve whites, reds, pinks and bubbly, each one delivering a different flavor and mouthfeel. Use a wine preservation system to store any half-empty bottles you have leftover after the party.
4. Send Detailed Invites
Events like wine tastings call for official invites, not last-minute text messages. Up the ante by sending paper invitations through the mail. Include important details like time, place and dress code and remind guests of proper etiquette. For instance, it’s often best practice to avoid heavy perfumes and colognes because the scents can interfere with your ability to taste and enjoy the wine.
Remember to include special instructions if you want guests to bring their own bottles. Should they read up on the varietal or prepare a short presentation for the group? Maybe you want them to find different kinds of wine so you have a nice selection to taste and discuss. Delegate these duties however you see fit by outlining them in your invite.
5. Organize Food Pairings
Sure, you might be hosting a wine tasting party, but the food you serve is just as important as the drinks. While you don’t have to provide a full meal, it’s essential that you at least prepare some hours de oeuvres. Pick foods like dried fruits, nuts, seeds, cheese and sliced meat and arrange the spread on charcuterie boards. Use place cards to label each item and what it might pair best with. This way everyone can enjoy a more autonomous tasting experience.
For instance, if you’re serving champagne, remember to provide salty foods to pair it with. Sauvignon blanc, on the other hand, pairs best with cheese, nuts and other foods that complement the wine’s crisp, delicate notes. Pair reds like pinot noir with earthy flavors and malbec with spicy-sweet sauces and snack mixes.
You don’t have to be a sommelier to host an amazing party and impress your guests. You just need a few surprises up your sleeve. Finish strong and really deliver the wow factor by offering guests a nightcap before they head out.
Whether you wrap up the evening with port, ice wine or a classic evening cocktail, serving your friends one last drink is sure to make them feel special. Plus, it’ll likely win you an invitation whenever they decide to host their own wine tasting party.
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