What You Need to Throw a Wine Tasting Party
As we have said before, to throw a wine tasting party all you need is wine, wine glasses and a group of people interested in having a good time. It really can be that simple. However, here we will give you a bit more of an in depth list of things you should have, or consider having, when hosting a wine tasting. For your first tasting, try to keep it simple. Let the wine be the focus. As you hone your entertaining and wine skills and knowledge you can get more fancy.
- A Plan: First of all, take a few minutes to think about what you want your wine tasting to be like. Have a plan for how you will serve wine and the theme of the tasting. For example, are you going to serve several wines all at the same time (which requires several glasses per guest) or are you going to taste one wine at a time? Are you going to serve any food? Are you going to have any unique wine tasting theme like a blind wine tasting or focusing on a single wine region?
- Wine: This is the obvious one, but decide what kind of wine you want to feature and how you are going to get it. You can supply all the wine, having your guests pitch in money to cover the cost, or you can have guests bring bottles themselves for a wine pot-luck. Just let them know what the theme is so that they can pick an appropriate wine. You can certainly just taste through various unrelated wines or focus on one wine region or country, one grape varietal, one vintage or other themes. You can get more ideas on our Wine Tasting Themes page.
- Wine Tasting Glasses: Appropriate wine tasting glasses do not have to be expensive or hard to come by. Be sure you have enough glasses for all your guests. If you don't want to buy them some wine shops or party rental suppliers rent them by the rack. Alternatively, you can ask your guests to bring their own glasses. For help picking appropriate wine glasses see our Wine Tasting Glasses page.
- Food: You don't have to serve anything when you throw a wine tasting party but we like to have at least bread or crackers available for guests to munch on. Besides being filling they also help to cleanse the palate between wines. Other simple additions which pair well with many wines are a cheese platter, dried nuts, cured olives or other simple finger foods. If you prefer, you can turn your wine tasting into a wine dinner party with a full dinner to accompany the wines. For more info on serving food with wine, check out our Food and Wine and Cheese and Wine sections.
- Wine Openers: Obviously you need something to open your wine bottles, unless they all have screwcaps (which are becoming more and more common as wine bottle closures!). There are many options and most of them are pretty easy to use. See our How to Open a Wine Bottle and Wine Opener pages for more information.
- Wine Tasting Invitations: To throw a wine tasting party easily, it helps to have a quick and easy wine tasting invitation you can forward to all your guests. It helps make your tasting seem more official and can raise the excitement level. Get a few tips on our Wine Tasting Invitations page.
- Wine Tasting Note Taking Sheets: Taking notes on wines helps you to focus your attention and to really get into the nuances of a wine. It can also help you train your palate and put your experience into words so you can communicate your ideas clearly. You can simply supply paper and pens to your guests but it can also help to print up wine note sheets that have a template so that beginners know what they should be focusing on when tasting wine. We have some downloadable and printable templates on our Wine Tasting Notes Template page.
We hope this helps you get started so you can throw a wine tasting party which is a great success! Since this page is really just an overview and jumping off point for many topics, be sure to visit our How to Taste Wine, How to Serve Wine, Wine Tasting Themes and Introduction to Wine sections to learn more.
Done learning what you need to Throw a Wine Tasting Party?
Return to the Hosting a Wine Tasting page.