I am hosting a couple of wine tastings soon and so far the easiest part has been choosing the wines! The hard part is what and how much to say about the wines. Having to entertain 10 guests for 2 hours with 6 bottles of wine should be fairly easy, but I like to get it right.
What makes a good tasting? Here is my rough guide to hosting a wine tasting.
- Get the numbers of guest right. Multiples of 10 is good, everyone gets a good share of the wine then. You should be able to get anywhere between 4 and 15 glasses out of a bottle depending on how generous you are.
- Select wines that will be interesting and maybe something that
people will not ordinarily drink. (A tasting is a chance to experience wines that you would not normally try.)
- Themes can be interesting for example “Chardonnay from around the world”, “Pinks”, “Fizz”, or wines from a specific country or region. For a mixed tasting I like to start with a bit of fizz to help get a fun feel to the evening, two white wines, two red wines and then finish with either a Passito, pudding wine or sweet fizz.
- Prepare the wines well in advance. (warm white wines will not go down well.)
- Make sure there is water on the table for your guests.
- Gauge the knowledge level of your guests. (Some tastings require lots more technical information, others require a more general approach.)
- Tasting sheets are useful to the guest to note their preferences (and if you are also trying to sell the wines it helps with that too.)
- Learn about the wines you are showing. Grape variety, region, wine maker, price etc.
- Add a little humour. (People will remember a funny story about a wine a lot more than they will facts and statistics.)
- Give people enough time to sample and discuss each wine. (especially if you have given them a generous amount to taste.)
- Let them know where they can buy these wines if they like them. (or give a competitors name if they don’t like them.)
- If you are doing food with the tasting then get foods that will enhance the wines not overpower them. Bread sticks or crackers are good, (they help to clean the palate for the next wine.) if you have big tannic red wines then some cheese will help soften the tannins. Serve a little pudding or sweet biscuit with the final wine if it is a pud wine or Passito.
- Most importantly of all HAVE FUN!
If you live locally then I would be very happy to host a wine tasting for you (if you don’t live nearby why not host your own.) It is a great way to spend an evening. Either way…
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Alex the Wine Lady
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