How to Organize a Wine Tasting Party
Getting friends together to try new wines can be lots of fun. It doesn’t take much effort, but there are a few things that you can do in advance to make things more enjoyable. If you have a wine bottle opener and a set of wine glasses for your wine tasting, you are ready to buy wine.
Each wine tasting has a list of wine suggestions. Most of the suggested wines are widely distributed and should be available in your area. If not, you might consider ordering the wine over the internet.
We recommend these web sites that sell wine online:
- Wine.com (frequently offers one-cent shipping deals)
- My Wines Direct (always free shipping for packages of six bottles)
- Wine Messenger
Storing Your Wine Before the Tastings
Once you get it home, it is important to store your wine correctly. The best place to store white wine before a tasting is in the refrigerator. Whites should be served at about 45 ºF, and it takes about two hours in the refrigerator to get there.
If you are tasting red wines, store them in a cool, dark place, perhaps the bottom of a closet. People generally think that red wines should be served at “room temperature”. In fact, red wines should be served at a temperature of about 63 °F.
So red wine benefits from 30 minutes in the refrigerator before serving. It’s not a bad idea to set a timer – you don’t want it too cold.
What Does Wine Tasting Even Mean?
The thing that separates wine tasting from wine drinking with friends is that when you taste a wine you try to describe your experience. Putting your taste experience into words takes practice. To make it a little easier, we’ve prepared a “tasting kit” for each wine tasting, which includes a tasting guide, placemats, wine tasting note form, and our aroma chart.
The tasting guide takes you through each wine and highlights characteristics and wine words for you to focus on as you taste the wines. The placemat helps to keep the wines in order and contains additional information about the wine styles you are trying. The tasting notes form will help you organize your tasting notes. Making a few notes will help you remember the wines later. Lastly, the aroma chart will help to identify the different smells that wine can produce.
Getting Ready For the Tasting
To get ready for your tasting, you should cool/chill the wines, get your wine glasses and opener ready, and print out the tasting guide, placemats, tasting notes form and aroma chart. Be sure everyone has a pen or pencil and a glass of water.
The best way to conduct a tasting is for each person to have a glass for each wine. In this case, open and pour all the wines you are tasting at the same time.
Drink Wines from Lightest to Fullest
Begin each tasting with the lightest wine. Our Wine 101 styles are listed from the lightest body to the fullest. So, for example, if you taste Smooth and Bold wines (Wine Tasting #1) you would start with the Smooth wine.
For a traditional tasting, the standard pour is about 1 ½ ounces of wine. If you do not have enough glasses to pour all the wine at once, start with the lightest wine and taste it completely before moving on to the second wine.
Food Makes it a Party
Each tasting can be completed in as little as 15 minutes, but we stretch them out.
If you have the time, we suggest that you plan a dinner or pot luck for after the tasting, so you can try each wine when it is paired with food. It is not uncommon for wines to taste differently when combined with certain foods.