How to Host A Festive Wine Tasting Party for the Holidays

Wine Tasting Gathering Cheers

Don’t decide between red or white wine this holiday season, invite some of your loved ones over and have them all! A wine tasting party is an ideal way to get your family and friends gathered together during the holiday season. Throwing a wine tasting party can be daunting, but here are a few key things to keep in mind to leave you stress free during the planning process.

Narrowing Your Wine Selection

There are thousands of wines that you choose from for your holiday tasting. A great way to decide what wines to choose is by focusing on either vintage, region, style, price or grape variety.  This is ideal if many of your guests are wine aficionados and have a background in wine. You could also make it more interesting by asking your guests to bring their favorite wine to share at a more casual wine tasting. Sampling wine from different vintages, regions and grape varieties is also acceptable. There are endless options of what wines to sample, by try to choose wines that many of your guests will enjoy.

Establishing the Guest List

Wine tastings aren’t only for individuals with an extensive background in wine, they’re for everyone. It’s best if you keep the number of guests below 10. This also means that less bottles of each wine need to be purchased with a smaller guest list. Wine bottles are usually 24 ounces, which means that there are 12 2-ounce tastes. Purchase enough wine so that your guests can re-taste a wine they found intriguing. Wine experts estimate that you should purchase one bottle of wine per guest.

Setting Up Wine Testing

Wine glasses are a necessity when hosting a holiday tasting. Wine glasses should also be clear so your guests can swirl and examine the body and legs on the wines they are drinking. Similarly, try to use a white table cloth. This helps your guest see the exact color of the wine. Also make sure that there are spit buckets on the table so your guests can dump excess wine with water also readily available. In addition, provide your guests with pen and paper to jot notes. Many of your friends may find their new favorite wine at your party and they’ll want to take note. Finally, take note of how your wines should be served. Ideal temperature of red wines is 55 to 65 degrees and 40 to 50 degrees for white wines.

Should you serve food?

During the actual tasting, it’s best to only serve palate cleansers to your guests. You want your guests to be able to taste the oaky, vanilla or other notes in their wine, instead of a muddled mess of flavors. The best palate cleansers are water crackers or simple breads without extra seasoning.