Hosting a wine tasting is a fantastic theme for a party. You can make it as formal or casual as you like. It gives you an opportunity to share your passion for wine with friends and family (possibly inspiring a new oenophile), an opportunity to collect the opinions of a variety of people, and an excuse to get people together to drink.
We’ve thrown a couple of wine inspired parties at Chez Stagg, these are two ideas we’ve used.
The Formal Wine Tasting
Inspired by a previous year’s trip to Napa and Sonoma during Crush season, we decided to bring the celebration to Baltimore with a California wine tasting. We invited about 20 people (which was a few too many, in retrospect, for this kind of event), and served heavy appetizers along with 5 wines from Napa/Sonoma/Russian River Valley. We tried to pair the food with the wines as well as we could. Since it was a big group and a lot of wine, we held the per bottle price to $15 or less, and found a couple of real gems (as well as a dog). We gave everyone a list of the wines with basic information about them, where we bought them, and the price, along with a note pad for their own notes. Not everyone present was necessarily a wine lover, but everyone engaged in lively discussion about the wines. A fun night.
The Bring Your Favorite Italian Wine Party
This is a great casual party for any size group, the only real drawback is not everyone may get a chance to taste every wine if it’s a big party. We did this with Italian wines, but you can pick anything. We prepared a large Italian themed meal and served it as a buffet, and asked our guests to bring two bottles of their favorite Italian wine. With the wine, we asked they bring an index card indicating where they got the wine and why it was their favorite. We provided note pads for everyone to keep track of what they had and what they liked. This was great fun, we ended up with a great variety of wines that matched well with all the food.
There aren’t many better ways to engage and inspire great conversations and new friendships than drinking wine. Take advantage of wine and food to bring diverse people together. Share your passion.
Have you hosted a wine themed event? Any ideas, tips or pointers you would like to share?