How to host a fabulous wine tasting party

Are you a budding sommelier in need of an occasion to showcase your wine knowledge? If so, a wine tasting party is the perfect avenue to invite your best pals over to share your passion. While you could just pick up a variety of whites and reds and a premade cheese plate, there are easy yet chic ways to give your shindig some extra pizzazz.

Invitations
Even if your wine tasting party is going to be a casual evening, go the extra mile with invitations. Send out customized invites with a fun pictorial representation of wine or grapes to help get your guests in the mood. Plus, you’ll need everyone to RSVP to know how much wine to buy.

Wine
There is so much flavorful wine to choose from, how do you settle on any? Throw a regional varietal party showcasing grapes from Australia, France, California or another iconic area. Or you can choose based on vintage. Be sure to pick up enough. A 750 milliliter bottle should serve six to eight tasting glasses.

Appetizers
Cheese and crackers may suffice for a wine tasting party, but go all out with a charcuterie plate. It’s filled with preserved meats, cheese, bread and cornichon pickles. Experts say it pairs well with crisp white wine such as sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio and sparkling varieties. Light- to mid-bodied red wine also has enough acid to cut through the fatty meat. So try pairing a dolcetto or barbera with this delicious appetizer.

Lessons
It means more to guests if you explain why a particular wine is important rather than telling them they should enjoy it. Customize napkins or fact sheets detailing information on the wine they will be sampling. To make the evening more interesting, have guests rate each one. Provide a demonstration on how to sample varietals. Guests should smell each first, swirling the wine around in the glass to unlock the true aroma.

Setup
Operate as a real wine tasting to have the process go smoothly. Set up a large table where guests will sit around. Then, give each person a wine glass and a pitcher of water. They will be able to cleanse their palates and the glass between each tasting.

Your wine tasting party or any themed shindig can be a hit with our range of customized napkins, coasters and party favors.

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