Hosting a party in your Loudoun home is fun as is tasting wine at your favorite local winery. Why not combine these two favorite activities and host a wine tasting party? Enjoy an evening swirling, sniffing and sipping an array of wines right in your own home!
Whether you are a novice or experienced wine drinker planning and hosting an entertaining event in your home is easier than you think. We’re sharing tips guaranteed to lead to a successful sipping soirée!
Pick a Theme
First things first….you must decide on the type of wine you will tasting. You may want to try multiple varietals from a single region. Tuscany, Napa and even Loudoun County produce a wide variety of wines to choose from. Perhaps you are more interested in tasting a specific type of wine that comes from various regions. Chardonnay, for example, is produced in California, Washington State, New Zealand and Spain. This option allows you to experience the way various regions add their own character to the same variety.
Whichever you choose, plan to taste 4-6 different wines. Doing more will overwhelm even the most sophisticated of palates.
Prep the Guest List
What’s a party without guests, right? In this case, bigger isn’t better. Keep your guest list to 6-8 people. An intimate setting will allow guests to share their impressions of each wine in a casual setting and encourages conversation.
Whether you choose to do it digitally, in print or even via a phone call, when inviting your guests let them know the type of wine you will be tasting at your event. Sad, but true, there are some people that have allergies or intolerances to certain varietals.
While you may have most of the supplies needed to host a successful event, you will want to take inventory at least a few days in advance so you can pick up any missing ones ahead of time.
Glasses. Of course, you need wine glasses. Optimally, it would be good to have 1 glass per person per type of wine. We know, this could mean a lot of glasses if you are hosting 8 people and trying 6 wines. Stemless glasses may be trendy, but we suggest steering clear. The warmth of your hand on the glass will heat up the wine and alter its taste.
Water. Yes, you need water at a wine tasting. Each guest should have access to a cold glass of water. It’s an easy, efficient way to cleanse the palate and wash away any unpleasant flavors.
Corkscrew. So many styles to choose from! Pick the one you like best — and grab an extra or two…just in case. A foil cutter is also a good idea.
Pourer. This handy-dandy gadget will allow you to serve more precisely. Additionally, it will help aerate the wine, releasing its full flavor.
Prepare to Pair
Serving food is a necessity at a wine tasting. An elaborate spread isn’t necessary. Instead, you will want to have a variety of palate cleansers available to you guests to rid strong tastes from their mouths. Crusty breads, fresh fruit, cheese and aged meats are perfect accompaniments. Having appetizers available before your tasting is a good idea so that your guests don’t drink on an empty stomach.
Preparing your table ahead of time is a good rule of thumb. A crisp, white tablecloth is the best choice as it will allow you and your guests to easily examine the color of the wine. You will also need to decide if you are going to do a blind tasting. If you are, you will want to wrap your bottles in foil or pour the wine into decanters and number them. This prevents you and your guests from “judging a bottle by its label!”
It’s time for the main event! When serving, keep in mind this is a tasting, so don’t over pour. A tasting serving is roughly 2-3 ounces. Stagger your pours 10-15 minutes apart so you and your guests have time to savor the flavors of each wine and analyze their complex notes. Get the conversation going and discuss what you like and dislike about each wine with your fellow tasters.
Grab a corkscrew, round up your besties and prepare yourself for an exciting evening of wine tasting!
Doukénie Winery is above all else a family operation located in Loudoun County, DC’s Wine Country. Nestled at the base of the Short Hill Mountains you will find our 520-acre vineyard that includes a pond and picnic area. From the moment you step through the door of the tasting room, you will feel the hospitality of the Bazaco family.