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Theme Party Planning Tips & Ideas - Wine Tasting Party

Party Resource Guide
Presented by Event & Wedding Planners

Wine Tasting Party

Wine Tasting Party

When wine is the star of the party.

Throwing a wine tasting party is limited only by your imagination. These Wine Tasting Party Ideas may help or come up with some ideas of your own.


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Wine Tasting Party Ideas

This is your big chance to do something different. You don't want one of those gatherings marked by the same people, same conversations, too much food, too much liquor, and the grape as an afterthought.

How about hosting a theme party, with wine as the theme? Since you're going to serve wine anyway, a little extra effort in selecting the right wines is all that's necessary to make the evening memorable. The preparation is simple, requiring only that you chill the Champagnes and white wines and then pop the corks on whatever you've chosen.

A wine tasting can have several themes to choose from. You can select exemplary wines paired with the foods you are serving or you can opt for wines from a particular country or region with foods to match. Anybody up for a make-believe evening in Madrid? Another option is going with oversized bottles or wines from different vintages.

We've put together a few tips and suggestions. Just pick your theme and let your spirit of adventure be your guide.

The Invitations

Your invitations will set the tone for your theme. After all, what good is a theme if your the only one that understands it. With all that computer power you have you can come up with an impressive little missive that says exactly what you want at practically no cost.

If you're planning a tasting of fine Burgundies -- perhaps the five best vintages since 1998 -- then say so in the invite. If your serving Australian wines, you might decorate your invitation with pictures of kangaroos and koalas, and the text might read something like:

G'day mate!
Join us for a little cheer, Oz-style,
on June 5, 2009
at 6 o'clock in the evening
We'll be pouring our favorite Australian wines
and throwing some shrimp on the barbie.

Well you get the idea. The point is to let your guests know that something special is afoot.

Getting Ready For The Party

Always make sure you have enough glassware. While that sounds obvious, unless your in-laws own a Riedel outlet, you are almost certain to run out of glasses. And there's nothing worse than having to wash glasses during your party. Renting or borrowing are far better alternatives.

If it's a more formal tasting party, it's good to provide scoring sheets. This gives structure to your tasting and helps people compare the wines in an organized way. Make sure to leave space for comments on color, aromas, flavors and finish, Even those who are relatively new to wine tasting seem to enjoy jotting down notes and ranking the wines. To make it simple, instruct your guests to grade the wine using a familiar scoring system, such as the A-to-F range from their school days, or the 100-point scale.

Spit buckets, the butt of so many jokes, are very important, particularly if some of your guests will be driving home. Encourage anyone who is planning to get in the car after the party to use them.

Stock up on bread and seltzer. Bread helps cleanse the palate between wines, while seltzer or club soda is especially useful not only to drink between sips of wine, but also as a stain remover should any red wine be spilled.

The Wine and Food Buffet

This is perhaps the simplest type of tasting party to throw: Line up a dozen or so dishes that can be eaten out of hand, and serve them with wines that match.

Oysters on the half shell with mineral-laden Chablis

Caviar, consider seeking out a bottle of bone-dry champagne, marketed under names like ultra-brut, brut savage and brut intégral.

Seared sea scallops with California Chardonnay.

Frenched lamb chops, Bordeaux is my first choice, especially when the lamb is cooked with rosemary and other herbs to match the natural herbaceous quality of the wine. But just about any dry red is fine, including Burgundies, Rhones, New World Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Syrah/Shiraz, and Northern Italian reds.

Smoked salmon on rye bread with an aromatic Viognier

Pear crescents rubbed with lemon juice and sprinkled with crumbled Roquefort cheese served with a tawny Port.

Pate de foie gras with Sauternes

The Big Bottle Bash

Bigger is definitely better at parties.

A magnum serves twice as many people and is twice as much fun as a regular 750ml bottle.

Party-size big bottles include:

Double magnums (equal to four regular bottles).
Jeroboams ( 6 bottles)
Imperials (8 bottles)

Big bottles also make for a great Trivia Game. You can even have prizes for the folks who know the answers.

Can the bubbly lovers name all the Champagne bottle sizes (including the Salmanazar and the Nebuchadnezzar)?

Does anybody know the name of the Bordeaux bottle that comes between the magnum and the double magnum? (It's the 2.5 liter marie-jeanne.)

The Port bottle that's bigger than a magnum and smaller than a jeroboam? (The 2.25-liter tappit hen.)

Just remember: The bigger the bottle, the more strength, pomp, and circumstance required to lift and pour. So it's wise to make sure you have a few extra decanters handy, since you will need to pour the wine from the large bottles into more manageable vessels.

The Progressive Party

This throwback from the 60s is the perfect party if you live in a neighborhood where people can walk from one house or apartment to the next. (Of course, this party requires that you know neighbors, an increasingly rare phenomenon. But it can be a good way to get to know them, too.)

Ideally, each house serves a different type of food, with wine chosen to match what everyone will be munching.

Progressive parties are a good way to combine several fiestas into one, and they keep everyone active, preventing conversation from growing stale. And you also get to work off some of those calories.

The BYOB Party

BYOBs are fun, as all your guests become involved in the staging, although as host you should coordinate the theme, which can be anything: red wines priced at $30, wines that have a score more then 90 points, a bottle from a significant year in your life (birth, graduation, year of marriage,, etc). It's an interesting way of getting to know people, and at the same time an excuse to open up some older wines.

The Wine Sniffing Party

This party requires a couple of props, a glass of wine for pleasure and a Bacchanales Tasting kit.

Divide your guests into two groups: often the men make one team and the women, another.

The referee, which can be you, or anyone for that matter, then takes one of the phials from the kit and gives it to one member of the team. If he or she can identify the smell, the team gets three points; if not, the remaining team members get together for another chance at identifying the aroma. A right answer earns one point, but if they still can't guess it correctly. the phial goes to the other team for a point.

I hate to say it, but chances are the winner will be the women. It has been scientifically proven that women have more acute senses of smell than do men.

The Horizontal, Vertical or Diagonal Tasting Party

These are fairly serious sit-down tastings. and can be done before a meal, but more often the wines are served with dinner.

The Horizontal Tasting Party
A horizontal tasting consists of different wines from a single year and matches them against each other. The wines can be completely unrelated or have something very specific in common, such as Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons from 1994.

The Vertical Tasting Party
A vertical tasting focuses on the same wine from several years, for instance Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from 1985 to 1995.

Be warned: Unless you already have the wines on hand, a vertical tasting can be a bit pricey and time-consuming to put together. But you'll be repaid in enjoyment, as the extra effort required will result in a fun and instructive evening for all involved.

The Diagonal Tasting Party
A diagonal tasting is akin to conducting a horizontal and vertical tasting at the same time. Fortunately, it is not as complicated as it sounds; a simple diagonal tasting entails selecting a couple of wineries and tasting wines of different vintages.

A great diagonal would pit a California wine against a Bordeaux. Serve the wines blind (covering up the labels, so that nobody is swayed by the names or where the wine is from) and, if possible, incorporate three vintages to show how the wines taste young, fully mature, and somewhere in between.

The Champagne Fountain and Saber Cutting Party

The Champagne Fountain is an eye-catching and extravagant way to get a party started. It does, however, take a little doing to build a pyramid of Champagne coupes. (That's coupes, not flutes; you'll definitively need to use those out-of-date Marie Antoinette-style wide-mouthed coupes, as modern flutes are too narrow for pyramid building.)

The idea is that you pour the bubbly into the top layer of glasses, and as the wine spills over it is caught in the glasses below. (Don't stack the glasses on a bare Louis XIV buffet; there's a good chance that some of the bubbly won't land in the glasses. and you need a surface that can be cleaned easily when the party is over.)

As for the saber, that's used to open the bottles with flourish. A well-placed cut will lift the neck cleanly off the Champagne bottle, making pouring a snap. All you need is a saber, and they're available in good wine stores or via mail order. (If you haven't been out dueling lately and your saber skills are rusty, you might want to practice a few times before the party.

Wine Enthusiast - Wine Cellars, Wine Accessories, Wine Glass and Many More!

Helpful Websites:

How to Wine Taste & Score Cards
What to serve, how many glasses, blind and double blind tastings

Host a Wine Tasting Party
Tips to hosting a wine tasting. Recipe and food pairings included.

Tapas Wine Tasting Party
Throw your own wine tasting party Enjoy tips, recipes and more!

How To Create A Wine Tasting Score Card
If you're planning to host a wine tasting, whether as a home party, or for a restaurant staff or some sort of event, you'll want to give out some sort of ...

Robin Garr's Wine Lover's Page - Food and Wine Matching Engine - Another really useful site... Pick the food from an A-Z list, click...and you'll be taken to a page where you can get wine suggestions to match ...

UC Davis Wine Scoring
The University of California at Davis 20 Point Scale System Organoleptic Evaluation Scoring Guide For Wine The Davis system was developed by Dr. Maynard A. ...

If you look at Steve de Long's site, as originally directed by Dr Ed, you will see a brief summary of various scoring methods. Robert Parker's Rating System
In terms of awarding points, my scoring system gives every wine a base of 50 points. The wine's general color and appearance merit up to 5 points. ...

Wine Scores
Scoring enables new, good, wine producers to make a name for themselves and .... system popularized by Michael Broadbent in his Great Vintage Wine Book. ...

Wine Tasting Score Card, How to Do a Wine Tasting
Wine Tasting Score Cards, How to do a Wine Tasting, wine tasting cards, blind wine tasting, double blind wine tasting


 Theme Parties N More is a wedding & event planning company located in Cypress, TX. Our party & wedding planners have put this website together to provide our visitors with ideas for planning their events, this includes links to products that can help you to make your event extra special. In accordance with the FTC Guidelines we are disclosing that some of the vendors that we link you to, pay us a commission when you purchase products from them, but some of the vendors do not provide us with any compensation.

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