How to Host a Wine-Tasting Party

How to Host a Wine-Tasting Party

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Wine Tasting Party Supplies
Ask six people to each bring two bottles of one of the wines you have selected (six for tasting, six for dinner). You provide:

  • Six all-purpose wine glasses per taster
  • Water glasses for each taster
  • One small bucket or bowl for dumping excess wine
  • A Scorecard and a Wine Scoring Guide for each taster (download below)
  • Six paper or fabric bags to hide the wine bottles
  • A basket of French bread cubes, water biscuits and/or a mild cheese
  • A corkscrew

How to Set It Up
Set one large table with a white tablecloth and an array of the six glasses for each taster, plus the water glasses. Provide each taster with a Scorecard and Wine Scoring Guide.

Locate the bread, cheese, dump bucket and a water pitcher near the tasters. Out of sight, open all the bottles and put them into the bags. Give each bag a letter or number designation for rating purposes.

How to Taste
Pour about two ounces of each wine into one of the six glasses for each taster. Tasters should begin by gently swirling the wine in their glass to release its aroma. Tasters will score each wine as to the five characteristics on their cards and then add this up to get a total score for each wine. The bread, crackers or cheese may be nibbled between wines. Pour excess wine into the bowl provided.

Wine Games
To make things more interesting, try adding a competitive aspect to the tasting with a contest. Let people know the types of wine before the blind tasting begins. After the tasting, but before bottles are uncovered, ask people to match the letters on the bags with the grape varietal. The one with the most correct answers wins. A second competition could be based on who can correctly guess which varietal came in #1 and #6 in the combined ratings.

Robert Mondavi Winery and Sam’s Club® Suggestions for Serious Students of Wine
A more manageable group of four to six people is about the right number for a wine tasting for committed enophiles (wine lovers). A blind tasting is a must for this more knowledgeable group; they will want to test their abilities to analyze wines without any clues. In terms of structuring the tasting, often an exploration of the subtle differences in a narrow field provides an exciting challenge for the serious student.

Comparing six Australian Shiraz, or a vertical tasting of six (different vintages) of a single wine, allows the sophisticated taster to further hone their abilities. As with the more casual tasting, only water and crackers or a simple cheese should be served alongside the wines during the tasting. The Scorecards would be the same.

Other Tasting Parties
Comparing wines is the most popular format, but a great time can be had focusing on other beverages, as well. Fun tasting parties can be created around the exploration of some of the following popular quaffs:

  1. For a vodka tasting, offer a selection of potato and grain vodkas. (Avoid specially flavored varieties as you’re comparing the essence of each pure vodka.) Straight vodka is best chilled, so refrigerate (or freeze) the bottles until just before serving. Serve in shot glasses with plain crackers and lemon wedges between samples to clear the palate.
  2. Try six micro-brewed beers paired with salted peanuts or grilled sausage.
  3. Popular cocktails often spawn a gaggle of personalized variations. There are enough recipes for Martinis, Cosmopolitans and Margaritas, for instance, to fuel a whole evening devoted just to comparing them.
  4. Have a 50’s night, with a sampling of the classic cocktails from that retro era: Manhattans, Sidecars, Dry Martinis, Gimlets and Screwdrivers.
  5. A comparison of fine Ports, accompanied by chocolate, would be a creative way to serve the dessert course at a special dinner.

Download Wine Scoring Card

Important Sam's Club Disclaimer: All content, including but not limited to, recipe and health information provided is for educational purposes only. Such content is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the diagnosis, treatment and advice of a medical professional. Such content does not cover all possible side effects of any new or different health program. Consult your medical professional for guidance before changing or undertaking a new diet or exercise program. Advance consultation with your physician is particularly important if you are under eighteen (18) years old, pregnant, nursing or have health problems.

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