Hosting a wine tasting party in your own home can be a great way to bring your friends together for a casual night of exploring wine. Setting up your party may seem daunting, but we break it down in 5 easy steps. Give this a try when you’re looking to put a twist on your next dinner party!
Step 1: Pick a theme
When planning a wine tasting party you’ll want to pick a theme. Your wine tasting party could explore different types of pinot noir, cabernet, syrah, even rose wines! Or, you could explore a region like Bordeaux, California, Greece, and more. If you’d like to get really specific, you could also taste different wines from one producer! No matter how you organize the theme of your party, the most important thing is to give your guests plenty of options. Everyone will appreciate the variety and you have a better chance of finding something for everyone.
Step 2: Choose the food
During the tasting itself, it’s customary to not have full meals while tasting as it can impact your impression of the taste of the wine. It’s best to serve bread or crackers as a palate cleanser during the tasting. However, it is a great option to offer passed appetizers before the tasting, and a light dinner following and small desserts. Try creating a menu that pairs well with the types of wine you’ll be serving since guests would probably like to have a full glass of their favorite from the tasting with dinner. For example, if you’re exploring different types of Sauvignon Blanc, try serving Mediterranean-inspired appetizers and a seafood dinner.
Step 3: Gather your supplies
It goes without question that Coravin will be the star of your wine tasting. With Coravin, you can easily pour tasting glasses from each wine for each of your guests without ever pulling the cork. That way, the wine that is leftover can be saved in your cabinet for weeks, months, even years! No wine will go to waste, and you can easily store your leftover wines with the rest of your collection instead of having them take up your fridge, or be poured down the drain if you can’t finish them.
Aside from your Coravin, you’ll need longer, less oval-shaped glasses for white wines and rounder, larger glasses for reds. Keep in mind the glasses should have stems so your guests don’t warm their drinks with their hands. You’ll also need a spittoon, or a large bowl, in the center of the group or an individual cup for each guest. An ice bucket is perfect for chilling wine to avoid running to the fridge. A white tablecloth or white napkins will help your guests see the color profiles of your wines. Finally, our Aerator accessory for your Coravin is a great tool to help bring out the flavors in your red wine. Using it is the equivalent of decanting for 60-90 minutes–perfect for any young wines that need some time to fully open up. Big-bodied reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and associated blends frequently benefit from a little aeration.
Step 4: Invite your friends
Send out your invites and gather all the wine lovers! When sending out your invites, let them know the particulars, the theme, and if you would like to set a dress code. A good time to start your party would be around 4:00 pm. This leads to a nice pacing and flow for appetizers, the tasting, and then light dinner following.
Step 5: Start your party!
It’s finally time to host your tasting party! Give a warm welcome to your guests with appetizers and make sure they feel comfortable and right at home.
Now, it’s time for the tasting. For planning which wines to pour at which time, it’s best to start trying the lightest wines and working your way to the darkest ones. If you have a dessert wine on the menu, you should taste it last, even if it’s a lighter color than the other red wines.
After pouring the first wine with your Coravin, start with sharing some wine tasting techniques like swirling the wine around in the glass to let it “breathe,” observing the hue and depth of color, and smelling it to get a better sense of the flavor. Next, ask your guests to take a small sip of wine, hold it for a couple of seconds, and either swallow or discard in the bowl or their cup. From there, repeat the process for as many wines you plan to serve.
And there you have it! Step by step instructions on how to host a proper wine tasting party. No matter how it turns out, just remember to have fun. If you tried these steps and hosted a wine tasting at home, let us know how it went! Share your photos + stories with us on social by tagging @Coravin on all channels.