How to Host a Wine Tasting Party
With a few simple basics, you can learn to swirl, sniff, and sip with the best of them.
- Have guests sample five different types of wine (more will overwhelm the palette). It's fine to mix reds and whites; just serve them in order from lightest to darkest, since darker wines tend to be heavier. For six guests, have two bottles of each: one for tasting (pour small amounts of about one ounce) and one for drinking afterward.
- For an easy theme, select vintages that all hail from a specific region: Tuscany, Napa, or your own state. Get local suggestions from your neighborhood wine shop or take a hint from one of these sites: Zachys Wine Online (zachys.com), Binny's (binnys.com), or Appellation America (wine.appelationamerica.com).
- Provide one Bordeaux glass (shown in photo) per person for the duration of the tasting. (Don't rinse the glass between servings, since even a drop or two of water can dilute the wine.)
- As a general rule, 15 to 30 minutes before guests arrive, put reds in the refrigerator. Take whites and rosés out a few minutes before pouring.