A wine tasting party can be a great way to bring friends together, have some great conversation, and learn something new. It can also be a whole lot of fun. There are a lot of things you can do to put together a successful wine tasting party, and to make it a special and memorable time for everyone (even those friends of yours who claim to not like wine). Here are some tips for hosting a wine tasting party.

Choosing Your Location

You need to start by deciding if you want a more formal setting, or if you’d like the party to be casual and informal. This is what will determine most of the party details. For example, the location, party d├ęcor, and guest list will be largely determined by the desired feel of the party.

You can have a wine tasting party anywhere, really. It just depends on what type of party you want to have. For a casual, personalized party, it’s a good idea to host the party at your house. For a formal party with a long guest list, it might be a good idea to meet in the banquet room of a local restaurant. Fortunately, you don’t need a whole lot to have a wine tasting. Tables and chairs and wine glasses (and wine) will do.

Choosing a Party Theme

You can be a bit creative here – the most important part is that you have a theme to choose your wine around. Options include having each guest bring a bottle of wine (kind of like a pot luck dinner), choosing a specific type of wine and varying the winery and/or year, designating a region, or (and this one can be a lot of fun) having a blind tasting.

Choosing Foods to Compliment Your Wine

Whichever type of wine you plan on tasting, you will need to serve some sort of palate cleanser (food) alongside it. When it comes to food, you can get as fancy as you like, with finger foods and oer d’oeuvres, or keep it simple with cheese wedges, chocolate, bread or crackers.

The Actual Tasting

It’s likely that some of your guests may not be familiar with wine tasting techniques, so it’s a great idea to choose a guest to be the resident expert (if you are not), who can guide party members through the process of “tasting” the wine. You can also expound some on the history and process of wine making. Not only will learning the art of wine tasting be an informative experience for your guests, but also one sure to spark some great conversation (and most definitely some laughs).

Hosting a wine tasting party is a great way to bring friends together and experience something new. There is no definitive right or wrong way to throw such a party, so use these tips to plan a wine tasting that is best suited to you and your guests. Just relax and have some fun!

Image credit: Jill Clardy