Wine tasting parties are a wonderful way to bring friends and family together. While the event is one to remember, throwing a wine tasting party takes a lot of organization and planning…and the graciousness of a well-prepared host. At AVA Grace Vineyards, we love the planning and execution of such a party, which is why we’ve put together our top tips and wine tasting party ideas for you to enjoy.
Wine Tasting Party Themes
While many people simply open the wines they have on hand and serve them with their pre-planned dishes, we’ve prepared customized party themes that incorporate elegance and a touch of class to make your evening more memorable. Our two favorite party themes incorporate the fun of playing ‘judge’ and the deliciousness of pairing our luscious wines with complementary bites.
Blind Tasting Party:
One of the best ways to gauge the “best wine” of the evening is by putting on a blind tasting. Pour your guests their wine from a bottle in an unmarked paper bag so they cannot see the vintage or brand, thus eliminating any favoritism or bias. As they sip from their glasses, ask them to record their thoughts on color, aroma, taste, and overall quality of the wine, rating each on a scale from 1-5. Between tastings, offer guests palate cleansing snacks like crackers or bread. Once you have completed your tasting flight – we recommend no more than five wines in a tasting – collect everyone’s responses and compile their results to determine the “winning wine” of the evening. Once the winner has been chosen, pour a glass for all and discuss what you liked about each of the wines! For an added twist, ask everyone to also guess the price of each bottle. They may be surprised to find out that the most expensive wine doesn’t win the group favorite!
Pairing Tasting Party:
If you plan to open a few bottles for a wine tasting party, consider turning it into a pairing party, offering appetizers crafted to accompany your wine offerings. As you pour a glass from each bottle in your tasting flight, bring out an appetizer to complement its flavors. At the end of the evening, discuss your favorite pairings and then provide guests with its recipe as a parting gift. See below for some example pairing ideas.
Wine Tasting Party Menu
Pairing wine and food can be a complicated process, which is why we have put together our favorite pairings for each of our AVA Grace varietals, in order of how we would recommend you taste each of the wines.
- AVA Grace Sauvignon Blanc pairs perfectly with baked goat cheese, roasted green vegetables like artichokes or green beans, or a pesto dip and multi-grain crackers.
- AVA Grace Chardonnay pairs with crab cakes, a roasted nut medley, or a platter of sharper flavored cheeses like sharp cheddar or smoked gouda.
- AVA Grace Rosé pairs delightfully with asparagus-cheese tarts, watermelon feta salad, or light vinaigrette-based salads.
- AVA Grace Red Blend pairs with charcuterie such as salami and mortadella, and pastas with marina sauce or lasagna.
- AVA Grace Merlot pairs with well with red meat such as grilled steak or beef stew.
Wine Tasting Party Tips
You don’t need to be a sommelier to host a great wine tasting party. After trial and error with our own wine tasting parties, here are our tips to make sure that your party goes smoothly, and is the talk of the town!
Taste wines that are distinctly different from each other.
In other words, if you’re purchasing a rich and buttery Chardonnay, avoid adding another buttery white wine to the mix. Instead, offer a crisp and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc.
Ask your guests to come sans scented lotion or perfume.
These smells can throw off a wine’s aroma and interfere with a taster’s perception of the wine.
Warn your guests of the impact of gum or breathe mints on the flavors of the wine.
Don’t serve gum or mints and offer guests palate cleansers like crackers.
Conduct your tasting on a white backdrop/surface.
If you don’t have a white tablecloth, a few places of white paper will do the trick. This allows a taster to absorb the color of the wine, and, for more advanced wine tasters, this is a critical factor in their scoring and opinion of the wine.