Wine Tasting Party

Get out the stemware - it's time for a wine party!
Get out the stemware – it’s time for a wine party!

I love wine and I love parties – put the two together and I am a happy lady!

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to have parties.  I love decorating, selecting the wine and preparing the food, but mostly I love when my guests have a wonderful time!  I like to see smiles on faces, booming laughter and my guests getting to know my wonderful family and friends they didn’t know before.  I am a people person – it’s as simple as that!

Because my husband and I both enjoy wine and sharing it with others, we have wine “tasting” parties at least once a year.  We go beyond traditional tasting and create a fun, non-intimidating wine challenge for all to participate in – and guess what – they all do and they all love it!

Hide the labels and number the bottles.
Hide the labels and number the bottles.

Preparing the wine challenge – Select 3-4 bottles of wine.  I would select  wine of one color!  Picking the chardonnay out of a line up with a pinot, cabernet sauvignon & merlot, might be a tad bit too easy for most of us!

Because we have done this challenge quite a few times, a few of our guests like to get in on the game ahead of time and provide their own special wine for the challenge.  Last time, we had a wonderful Argentinian Malbec from my neighbor.  It was a wine that was new to us and we welcomed the addition to the game!

Wine Challenge
Wine Challenge

Selecting your wines ahead of time is helpful to give you time to make the challenge sheets!  I get on the computer and search for information about the wine.  On the challenge sheets, I provide the name of the wine, the type of grape used, and a description of the nuances of the wine.  Is it full bodied, earthy, jammy, does it have a hint of plum, cherry, or vanilla…Did the wine receive a high score from the wine advocate, wine spectator,  Robert Parker…

Whatever I find, I summarize and type it on the card.  If I can find a picture of the label – wonderful – I include that as well!

Wine Challenge
Wine Challenge

Each bottle I cover with a wine paper bag and assign it a number.  My guest’s job is to determine which wine correlates with the wine descriptions I have provided for them on their challenge card!

Above are examples of three of our wine challenges – bottom line – the picture just makes it better!

Gather the Stemware!
Gather the Stemware!

As my guests arrive I offer each of them a glass of wine and when most guests are present the challenge begins!  The problem is how do you taste a wine when everyone already has wine in their glass – wine is not for gulping down!  This is not beer!

Luckily, my husband had a great solution.  We used our aperitif glasses for the wine challenge.  For some reason, we have two dozen of these.  We rarely have aperitifs, but we do have the glasses – that’s what’s important – right?

Now I know – it you are a true wine snob, you know this isn’t ideal.  The wine has limited space to be swirled and the aromas may not hit your nose properly, but sometimes you gotta work with what you have.

The aperitif glasses really did work very well for keeping track of glasses.  Each guest had their wine glass and their tasting glass and each was clearly distinguishable!  It was one of those rare times that – yes – my husband was right!

The only thing left to do is have fun, celebrate your friends and enjoy your wine!

Ok- maybe not so fast – you need to create your guest list, make invitations, put together a menu, think about decorations, go shopping…

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