An intimate party of 6-10 is the most comfortable tasting party size to manage. Anything bigger and things can get a little hard to handle. When you keep the group tight, you have a better chance of socializing, easy conversation, and involving everyone in the activities.
A great tasting will have a few wild-card style facts and surprises, which provide opportunities for everyone to learn – even the most experienced of wine drinkers.
We know what you’re thinking: How much wine is needed for a tasting party, exactly? It depends on how many people are attending—so don’t go shopping until everyone RSVPs!
You can get 12 traditional 2-ounce tasting pours from one bottle, so if you have fewer than 10 people, you probably will be OK with one bottle of each wine. However, if you’re a little heavy-handed when pouring, you might only get six to eight glasses from each bottle, so calculate accordingly.
While wine and cheese often go hand-in-hand, when it comes to a wine tasting party, resist the urge to serve cheese at the start. Instead, serve plain crackers, sliced baguette, and distilled water in between wines to cleanse the palate.
Cheese affects how you taste wine, so hold out on serving it and other flavorful hors d’oeuvres until after all the wines have been tasted. Gourmet cheeses, cured meats, fruit, nuts, vegetable sticks, and pâté make for excellent wine pairings, but a poorly placed charcuterie board can almost ruin an otherwise exceptional lineup of wines.
Ensure you have a rough plan of how the event will develop, and that each bottle of wine is properly served in regard to temperature and aeration.
Elect a pourer and prepare a list of questions to ask everyone after each wine is tasted. As mentioned, make sure you have enough wine glasses — ideally, each guest will have a new glass for each wine.
It may be worth renting glassware from a local event company for the occasion. Otherwise, you’ll need to rinse and dry the glasses in between every tasting, since residual water can interfere with the taste of a wine.
Enjoy the Party!