We have hosted plenty of wine tastings and some blind tastings too. Today I’ll share some tips to success.
- When, Where and with Who?
You can use any place you prefer: home, wine cellar, restaurant, rented space, etc. I’ve hosted plenty of tastings at our home for 5-15 people. If you want to host in your home you need to have enough classes and equipment there, also you need to clean up and do dishes.
I’ve been in couple of tastings hosted in restaurants and wineries. Pros in those is that there is more space for people, plenty of glassware and tableware available and sometimes there is also personnel who can serve and clean up. This option is obviously more expensive but good for bigger groups and special occasions.
The idea of blind tasting is that you and the guests do not know what the wines are. You have to recognize the color, scent and flavors. Doing blind tasting requires some basic wine knowledge. If you want to make this easier for beginners you can type names of wines and their characteristics on post it notes and ask people to match name / characteristics and a wine.
- Inviting People
If you’re hosting a small event at home inviting people 1-4 weeks in prior is usually early enough. With bigger events earlier is better. When inviting people tell basic things like where and when the tasting is, if there is a dress code mention it and also, if you want guests to bring some wine or snacks mention that too.
- What Equipment You’ll Need?
Wine classes, wine bottle opening equipment, some bowls for snacks, white paper for color evaluations, tasting sheet or paper and pens for notes. With these basic equipment you can host your first tastings. After some time you might want to get some more equipment, here in my old post are some I’m using a lot.
- How to Choose Wines for the Tasting?
There is actually many different tasting options from which you can choose from. You can for example concentrate on one category like red wines, or more specifically wine from Bordeaux. I have written a post about this topic earlier. Click here to read that and learn how to choose wines for tasting
If you’re doing a blind tasting you can decide will you give some information about the wines or will you let your guests figure out everything from countries to grape varieties themselves. For beginners it’s good to offer some information but the more professional you come the less information you’ll need. Remember not only think your skills but also think the knowledge and experience level of your guests. It can be challenging but don’t make it impossible for them! 🙂
- How to Choose Food / Snacks?
At least you should have water and some kind of bread or crackers so that you can clear your mouth from the taste of previous wines. Other classy pairing are cheese and fruits. You can also combine wine tasting with dinner. It actually really fun to not only taste and analyze wines but also analyze how they pair with different flavors and textures from food.
Earlier I’ve written couple posts about pairing theme: