October 1, 2015

DIY Wine Tasting Party: A Beginners' Guide To Throwing A Not So Serious Wine Party



Round up your favorite bunch of friends for a night of wining and dining. A wine tasting party is the perfect way to catch up over drinks and learn a little something along the way. Here are some guidelines to help you pull it off!

Theme Matters

A great wine tasting party starts with a dynamic wine selection. While it is important to focus your wine selection around a theme, be sure to balance it with a range of choices. Consider building your wine menu focused on a grape variety such as Riesling. This variety is a fan favorite for any crowd just beginning to dabble in the wine world because it is highly aromatic, primarily of fruits such as lime, lemon, pineapple, and apricot. While many Rieslings are traditionally sweet such as Blue Fish Sweet Riesling, there are also medium-dry wines like Cavit Riesling, or dry like S.A. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Dry-Old Vines. Another consideration for a theme could be a wine list based on a geographical region such as Campania, Italy where the wines of Feudi di San Gregorio contain indigenous grapes with a modern twist.Greco di Tufo has a lively acidity and mineral structure typical of the Greco grape, but ending with soft balsamic notes.

Bonus Tip:Chill your wines at least an hour before the party! The back of a wine label will reveal the suggested temperature in which to serve the wine.

Geek it Out

Impress your guests with noteworthy facts. Create your own fact sheets by listing tasting notes, alcohol content, sugar levels, and percentage of varieties, which can be found on the back of labels or available through a quick internet search. Pressed for time? Fact sheets with technical data are usually available on importers’ websites.

Bonus Tip: While tasting, have your guests place their fact sheets face down to ensure unbiased first thoughts.


Find the Perfect Food Pairings

What’s a wine party without food? After you have selected a wine menu, research the type of dishes that will pair perfectly. Decided to go with bold South American wines? Think meat and barbeque. Try fruit forward, medium-bodied Santa Rita 120 Cabernet Sauvignonas an ideal match for flavorful red meats. A hearty pasta dish will pair enjoyably with the taste of ripe plums, blackberries, and the sweet tannins present in Salentein Primum Malbec. Give your guests a taste of Chile with Montgras Antu Syrahas its spicy notes of black and white pepper awakens the senses to experience its firm tannins and flavor bursts of blackberries, plums, and green olives.

Bonus Tip: Use the cheat sheet above for food & wine pairing guidance.


Wine Tasting in 5 Easy Steps

Ah, the moment you have been waiting for! Once all of your guests have arrived and settled, get down to business with these 5 simple steps.

  1. See. Set your wine glass against a white backdrop, such as a piece of paper to inspect its color. Is the wine red or white? How saturated is the color?
  2. Swirl. Gently swoosh your wine within the glass to release its aromas.
  3. Smell. Go ahead and stick your nose into the glass and take a long deep inhale. What aromas do you notice?
  4. Sip. Take a decent swig and hold it in your mouth for a couple of seconds. Let it roll around your tongue. Take note of its flavors. Any fruits, herb, or flower notes? Then, take note of its structure; level of sweetness, weights, body, acidity, and tannin.
  5. Spit. This step is optional and is traditionally incorporated into formal professional tastings. This is to ensure that the taster does not become intoxicated during the tasting process.  

Bonus Tip: Avoid running out of glassware! Purchase additional “wine tasting glasses” from any home goods retailer online or in store.    

If you’re interested in purchasing the wines suggested above, visit or to find a retailer near you.