How To Host A Wine Tasting This Holiday

With the upcoming holiday season in full swing, you’re likely to be attending parties, hosting parties, or maybe a bit of both. A way to keep all that partying fresh is to organize a unique theme. If you’re hosting an upcoming soirée, consider hosting a wine tasting. It’s not as stuffy, expensive, or difficult as you may assume. We break it down for you below:

(image credits clockwise from top left: Beau-coup, CB2, SwooziesDario Milano Photographer and Food Stylist, Beau-coup, Snap Guide, Etsy)

Organize a Blind Tasting

Invite guests to bring a bottle or two of wine, their choice. Once all bottles and guests have arrived, conceal the identity by affixing opaque paper over the labels. Number the wines and create a key for yourself.

(image credit: Southwest Wine Guide)

Comment Cards

Have guests gather round to taste the different wines, starting from lightest to darkest. Hand out comment cards for guests to record their findings. At this point, remind them of the 4 S’s

  • See – Examine the color of the wine against a white background, tilting the glass away from you. Take notice of the color brightness and intensity.
  • Swirl – Slowly swirl the glass to release the aromas of the wine. Repeat as necessary.
  • Smell – Take a big sniff of the wine. That’s right, get your nose way up in there and deeply inhale.
  • Sip – Take a sip and let the wine marinate. Swish it around your mouth, roll it over your tongue, and touch all parts of your mouth to fully experience the flavor.

(image credit: Lancaster PA Hotels)

Wine Vocabulary

Urge guests to take notes of their thoughts, preferences, and observations. Some wine jargon to use include:

  • Acidic – How tart/sour is the wine?
  • Tannic – How dry, pucker, or astringent is the wine?
  • Body – How heavy is the wine?
  • Dry – How sweet is the wine? The more dry it is, the less sweet.

Unveil the Results

Once everyone has had the chance to sample all wines, ask for everyone’s favorites, or guesses as to who brought which wine, and what type of varietal it was. Similar to a book club, have everyone share their opinions with the group.

(image credit: Florida Agenda)

Edible Delights

Be sure to have plenty of snacks and accompaniments for guests to nibble on. Cheese platters, charcuteries, and chocolates and nuts pair excellently with wine.

(image credit: Craved DFW)

No Drop Left Behind

I think it’s safe to say, the last step to hosting a successful wine tasting is finishing it off! This is where the real fun begins.