Wine Scoring Party and
Wine Tasting Score Sheet

wine tasting score sheetA wine scoring party, where you supply guests with a wine tasting score sheet, is a great idea for a wine tasting theme. When you host wine tastings you goal is for it to be informative and educational but also fun with extensive conversation about the wines (and food if you are having a dinner party theme). However, some guests can be a bit slow to open their mouths and start sharing their opinions about the wine, especially if you are new to wine tasting and appreciation. It can help in these situations to create the wine tasting theme in such a way that it encourages the sharing of ideas and group discussion of the wines and makes it comfortable for everyone involved. There are several ways to do this but having a wine tasting notes template or wine tasting score sheet can help facilitate each guest forming opinions which can them be shared with the group and discussed.

So what is a Wine Scoring Party?

A wine scoring party wine tasting theme is one which has a built-in mechanism for getting guests to share their opinions on the wines in a fun and comfortable way. By planning ahead, you can have several opportunities set up which will encourage your guests to share their ideas and "scores" for each wine with the group. For example, a wine tasting score sheet can help even novice wine tasters formulate their opinions and scores so that they feel comfortable sharing them with everyone.

So how to do you set up a Wine Scoring Party?

Here's the fun part! As we said, there are several fun ideas to get this type of wine tasting theme going.

  • The first and most obvious is to print up several copies of a wine tasting score sheet. This is a wine tasting notes template which has guidelines for how to assess each aspect of a wine's character (color, nose, mouth, etc.) and how to assign points to award the positive qualities of the wine. There are several ways to score wines. Usually they involve some general number or other indicator of the quality. At the most simplistic, you can give wines zero, one, two or three stars (or glasses, or hearts, or whatever you choose). The very best wines of special character get 3 stars, poor wines get zero. Some people also use a zero or one to 5 scale. However, the most commonly used wine scoring schemes us a numerical scale, the most common being the 100-point scale, variations of which are used by most wine critic magazines, such as the Wine Advocate (Robert Parker) and the Wine Spectator. While some people arbitrarily assign a point score after tasting a wine, the more accurate and reproducible way to do it is to assign a set number of points for each thing you assess in a wine, from the color, to the aroma, to the mouth and the finish and balance. To make this simpler for you, you can download a printable wine tasting notes sheet with has a wine tasting score sheet incorporated into it. The Wine Tasting Score Sheet is available as a PDF file here. I have other versions of wine tasting notes templates available on my Wine Tasting Notes Template page.

    I recommend making several copies of these or other scoring sheets so that each guest can score each wine independently. Then, after they have had a chance to evaluate the wine, ask each guest to share their score with everyone else. You can go around the table and share the scores and then start a discussion on why people liked or didn't like the wine. This is a great way to get people out of their shell to begin the fun.

  • Another idea to encourage guests to share their ideas and discuss the wines is to ask each guest to try to write down three things the wine reminds them of. For example, for the aroma, have them each pick out three things it smells like. Let them know anything is possible, from fruits and vegetables to stones and earth, from wood and smoke to chocolate and vanilla! Go around the table and get everyone's opinions.
  • A final idea is to go around the table for each wine and ask each guest to give a poetic "quote" from their tasting notes about the wine. While a simple descriptor is fine, it is even more fun to encourage the guests to find a poetic, metaphorical way to describe the personality of a wine. For example, while one wine may remind someone of "a ballerina dancing gracefully across the floor", another may remind you of "a linebacker tackling your tonsils head first!" or a "sexy redhead riding a tractor". Get fun with it! There are no right or wrong answers. These just help make it more fun and to bring people out of their shells.

One thing I'd keep in mind, if you are planning to go around the table asking people to share their ideas or scores, alternate who you start with so one person doesn't feel like they are being put on the spot!

And remember, a wine scoring party with a wine tasting score sheet can be applied to just about any other wine tasting theme! You can use this idea with a blind wine tasting, a horizontal wine tasting, a dinner party theme wine tasting, a grape varietal-based wine tasting, etc. Get creative and, most importantly, have fun!

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