The common reason why tasting areas are included in the construction of many wine cellars is that collectors want to share their collection with their family and friends. If you love wine and you plan to invite guests to experience your vinos with you, this article is an awesome guide on how to host a wine tasting party.
Why Host Your Own Wine Tasting Event?
Whether you’re a novice or an expert collector, you know that gathering vinos for a collection does not happen overnight. Most collectors have in their cellars wines that have been brought from various regions. There’s no question why you treat each of the bottles in your wine room like a prized jewel. But, what use does a well-loved collection of wines have if you can’t have friends and family experience them with you? Like all of the beautiful things in life, wines are best enjoyed when shared with your loved ones. This is why you need to know how to host your own wine tasting party.
Although you and your fellow wine worshippers could attend a commercial wine tasting event, a tasting party that you yourself put up is way more comfortable. You and your friends won’t have to feel intimidated by a sommelier who watches your every move and criticizes your pronunciations.
1. Choose a Concept
All parties need a theme! Think of a concept for your tasting event. You can be as creative as you want – the sky’s the limit! An easy guide to choosing a theme is by finding a common denominator between the wines that you plan to serve. This could mean same grape variety, region, or vintage. Examples of wine tasting themes are “Wines from around the World!”, “All French, All the Time”, and “Old World vs. New World.”
a. Vertical Wine Tasting Themes
Wine tastings that compare different vintages of wine from the same winery are called vertical wine tastings. The variable to compare each wine with is weather, since all of the featured vinos are from the same vineyards. In this kind of tasting event, you and your fellow tasters can appreciate better how the weather of a certain year affects wine.
b. Horizontal Wine Tasting Themes
This kind of tasting compares wines from the same region and year, but from various winemakers. You and your fellow tasters can evaluate each winery on who did well in a particular year. Horizontal wine tastings are usually held when a new vintage is produced.
When planning for a wine tasting event, it’s common for the host to ask, “How the heck do I pay for this?” Although wine tasting parties sound like fancy gatherings, you don’t need to spend too much money in setting one up. There is a plethora of ways to keep the expenses within a practical budget.
You can keep costs low by serving wines that vary in price. This is also a good way to disprove the myth that only expensive wines are quality wines. In a blind tasting, when wine labels are covered and fellow tasters do not know what wines are being served, you’ll be surprised that guests can equally enjoy a $10 Spanish red and a $300 Bordeaux.
Another way to keep the expenses at a minimum is to split the costs of the wines among the invited guests. Most of the time, if the fellow tasters you’re inviting are your closest friends and they’re avid wine lovers, they’ll be more than willing to share the expenses with you!
Because you’re proud of your wine collection, it’s tempting to serve all of your prized vintages during your tasting event. Experts, however, recommend serving only five to six bottles. The main purpose of a tasting party is to appreciate the featured wines. If there are more than six wines being served, your guests will lose focus.
4. Prepare Wine Tasting Rudiments
It is imperative to prepare the bare necessities that you and your guests will be using during your wine tasting party. Number one priority is to have water readily available. You need to keep your fellow tasters hydrated. It is the dehydrating effects of the alcohol in wine that gives us that hungover feeling the morning after. If you want your friends and family to attend your future tasting events, you want to make sure they don’t suffer from a nagging headache the morning after your party!
Seasoned wine tasters take only sips of wine and spit them, in order to keep themselves sober throughout the event. If they become tipsy, they might not be able to give sound observations about each wine served. This is why it is necessary to prepare spittoons and dump buckets during your gathering.
Make sure that you have the appropriate glassware available during your wine tasting event. Although large crystal wine glasses would be awesome, having small, regular glasses will do just fine! Moreover, small glasses are not only more affordable, but they’re also easier to clean!
You don’t need to clean the glasses for each wine. Have each of your guests hold on to one glass only. After every wine, have them swirl a small amount of water in their glasses in preparation for the next serving. Do not worry about new wine mixing with the last drop of the previous wine, provided that the new wine is heavier than the one before it. It is highly recommended that you serve your wines from lightest to heaviest and driest to sweetest.
There is no need to serve food during a wine tasting event, but if you decide to do so, it would be a good asset to your party. A variety of munchies that loosely pair with the wines being served are ideal for tasting parties. Consider also serving fruits, cheese, crackers, and chocolates.
Offer your guests pieces of paper and pens, so that they can take note of their observations for every wine they try. After all of the featured wines have been served, provide time for your tasters to share their notes with everyone.
Most states in the US consider three glasses of wine per hour for men, or two for women, as at or above the legal limit. During your tasting event, keep your pours to three ounces or less. The best tasting parties are those that are kept intelligent and engaging. This is why you want to keep your guests sober, so that they can participate properly during discussions.