Now’s the time to explore some wine tasting party ideas to revive your parties with themes that are both wine-centric but also easy to implement.
As more and more people start to love the world of wine, and want to learn more and have fun in the process, these are great casual wine tasting party ideas that can be done both at local wineries, or even still at home for a creative twist to any adult party.
Hosting a wine tasting party at home can help you gain perspecive on your local wine regions, too.
You could start out with the known local wineries in your area, stopping into the wineries for a wine tasting, asking questions to the vintners or winery employees to help you tailor your wine selections as best you can.
You can't do that at a Joe Canal's Liquor Store!
TIP: Start out with just a few each time, because it takes time and practice to develop a wine palette that can stay neutral while trying several types of wines.
Professional wine tasters and judges can taste up to thirty wines without losing their sense of judgement and taste for each individual wine.
The rest of us need plenty of practice to get to that level - so why not start with home wine tasting parties!
The #1 Golden Rule about wine tasting parties is this: IT MUST BE FUN, IT MUST BE SET UP TO BE ENJOYED - YOU’RE JUDGING WINES, NOT EACH OTHER.
Other quick tips include:
Start by learning the wines in your region, and slowly open up geographically to other areas as you feel more confident in deciphering a terroir's influence on wine
Don’t be easily influenced by trends - wine is a subjective joy, as it should be!
Wine trends are often constructed and inflated by some in the industry to push a specific product that they benefit from - so don’t feel trapped by other people’s aggressive marketing.
Always go from light wines to heavier wines.
Even if it sounds “elite” try to always have the appropriate wine glasses for each time of wine.
Wine Tasting Party Ideas:
Pick the top selling wines from local vineyards and local wineries and judge which wine is best out of the lot, regardless of varietal.
Pick ONE common varietal of wine grown locally (such as a Chambourcin - which is a great wine varietal for New Jersey wineries for example...) and choose from several local and semi-local wineries. This is a good exercise to judge ‘apples to apples’ by tasting the same varietal amongst wineries in the same region.
Pick wines from a famous wine region from around the world such as: Burgundy, Chianti, Napa Valley, Columbia Valley, Nemea, Santorini, etc.
Another wine tasting party idea similar to the “Judgement of Paris” above, is hosting a blind tasting party to compare French wines with your local, regional wines. New Jersey wine aficionados hosted a “Judgement of Princeton” wine tasting to compare NJ wines with French wines...
Do a wine tasting party by pairing up wines with their counterpart cheeses - this way creating a “wine and cheese” party.
For a global “Wine and Cheese” party, choose wines and cheeses from one country and make a night of it!
Or - you can pair up the MOST famous wines of each country, with their most famous cheeses, and see if the two could ever be a couple... Try a California Cabernet with Cheddar...or a French Chardonnay with Brie! Or a Chianti Classico with Mozzarella! Sometimes these pairings will be jarring - other times extremely pleasant - other times you’ll discover completely wacky wine and cheese pairings that actually do marry well!
Do a (fun!) blind wine tasting competition, where guests are blindfolded and try several types of wines, and they either have to guess correctly the wines varietal, region, or brand. The person with the most correct guesses wins the prize!
Choose ten wine bottles that have the most interesting, unique wine labels that are also wildly different - then blindly taste them with friends, trying to pair up the wine’s flavor with the front label’s image and personality.
Take ten wines of different varietals and try to match the wine with the varietal.
Take ten types of wine and play this game: after each wine tasted, everyone in the group writes down their impressions on the wines various wine characteristics: light, medium, heavy body, tannic, young, aged, etc, etc. See how many adjectives you can pair up with other peoples descriptions!
Select various wines in your region that have different microclimates/terroir - a big and obvious one will be soil type. So choose four wines from sandy soils, and four wines from clay soils, etc, and see if you can spot the similarities between the wines grown from the same soil type, versus the others.
Take a wine reviews magazine like Wine Spectator and buy a few of the same wines reviewed, all of one varietal or type to be fair. Then blindly taste the wines, and rate them using the 100 point system that’s been established and is used by these types of magazines. Then reveal which wines correspond with each tasting, and see if you came close to awarding the same points as in the original wine review.
Watch a wonderful wine move like Bottleshock or Sideways, and try to match up the wines in the movies with the wines you have at home.
Choose a wine country that has a strong culinary tradition, like France, Greece, Italy, or Spain, and cook a dish based on the country’s most loved recipes with wine and serve with a wine of your choice.
Another romantic wine tasting party idea is to do a wine and chocolate pairing and tasting event - match up red wines, dessert wines, and port, alongside various types of chocolates. This is a great idea for Valentines Day, for groups of couples.
For the artistic amongst you, taste a couple of wines blindly, and then sketch out wine labels that you think would best match the wines - then check the real labels and see who came closest to the real deal!
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