Wine Tasting

If your tasting will focus on a particular wine region, country or category, set the tone of your event venue with appropriate music and decorations. Greet your guests with a sampler of wine and escort them into the party area where they can meet and greet the guests of honor and other fellow guests.

Wine Tasting Invitations
A personalized wine invitation is a great way to invite everyone to a wine tasting. On the invitation let guests know that they should bring a selection of wine based on your party type, if you are hosting the party at your house.  You can also host a tasting at a local winery.

Another thought might be to buy mini wine bottles and tie on a scrolled invitation. Pretty paper with ivy, grapes or bread and cheese can be found at your local copy or invitation store. 

Want to really get fancy? If your group is small or if money is no object, send each guest a wine glass decorated with paint pens. Use grape and wine motifs. Use raffia to tie the invitation to the stem of the glass or make a little card with the invitation information and put it inside the glass. These can also be hand-delivered. Try Crate & Barrel, Target or Pier 1 for inexpensive glasses.

Wine Tasting Decorations and Party Supplies
Keep the decorations simple and beautiful. A rustic, old world feel is common and cute.  You can find grapes and vines at your local craft store.  Candles on rod iron holders are perfect. For a little extra color, grab some of these grape cluster decorationsLight up wine glasses are also great fun.
 
If you are so inclined, hunt for unique and entertaining single wine bottle holders and let each one hold a great bottle of wine that will be served at the party. We recently saw one of a sommelier hunched over and the wine bottle fit onto his back. Very cute! You can also find these at your local world food market.
 
There are several different wine tasting party types, where you can add some extra decoration based on the theme.  Here are a couple common types:
  • A Vertical Tasting - This involves sampling one type of wine from series years.  For example, pick one winery's Cab, years 2004, 2005, and 2006.
  • A Horizontal Tasting - no this doesn't mean you are horizontal (though you may be after the party!).  Pick a year (2007), and then pick up Merlots from 4-6 different wineries.
  • Old vs New World - Here you compare a grape varietal grown in the “Old World” (i.e. Europe – France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal) with the same varietal grown in the “New World” (i.e. North America, South America, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia).
  • Wine & Cheese - It's like PB & J, or toast & jam.  Wines and cheeses have their "perfect pairings".
  • Wine & Chocolate - A couple rules: the wine should be at least as sweet as the chocolate and match light wines with light chocolates, and stronger chocolate with a full-bodied wine.  Here's a good video about pairing wine and chocolate.
  • "Priceless" Tasting - Eliminate the "taster bias" by getting rid of the price tags.
  • Price Point Tasting - Give your guests a certain price point to stay in when they select a wine to bring.
  • The "Big Eight" Tasting - A more "educational" tasting.  The big eight is made up of Reds: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah/Shiraz; and Whites: Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio.
 
Wine Tasting Table Decorations and Menu
Of course, if you are doing wine and cheese, or wine and chocolate, those will be your menu choices. Grab some grape purple theme paper goods, for easy clean up! 

Use the obvious to establish beautiful centerpieces of fruit, wine and accessories. Try your own variations with wine chillers, bottles of wine, fruit and balloons. A nice platter of cheeses & fruit makes a tasty and visually appealing center as well. Sprinkle the table with corks as confetti or find foil or paper confetti at your local party store.
 
Why not write guests' names on corks for fun! Try using spreaders for seating cards and guests can take them home as a favor.

Wine Tasting games and Activities
This one is pretty easy, your main activity will be the wine tasting. If you personally know a wine expert or enthusiast, invite that person to help you choose your wine selections, plan your tasting and educate the crowd on how to taste wines. Your wine expert can educate the crowd on various wines, establishing a cellar and proper storage.
 
Another option is to call your local world food market, spirits retailer or wine and cheese shop to see if there are people available to help you with this effort. There is usually no fee if you purchase the wine from them.

Suddenly find yourself with a wine stain in an undesirable place? The Party Girl will tell you how to remove it.

Wine Tasting Party Favors
Bottle stoppers are great as favors for your guests.  Spreaders or other small accessories like bottle openers make great favors.

If you are feeling generous, have guests take home a bottle of their favorite wine from the tasting. Also, check out our personalized wine theme candy bar wrapper, you can get a milk or dark chocolate bar with them!

Cheers from Party411, and please consume your wine responsibly :)