Tips to Having a Wine Tasting Party

Wine tasting 3

In the past year, and especially since becoming a Sommelier, I get asked to do wine tasting parties quite frequently, and I just love doing them.  I love getting together with people who want to learn about new wines, and more importantly try new wines.  So I thought I would dedicate this week’s wine blog to all my friends out there who want to host a wine-tasting party.  And although you don’t necessarily need a Sommelier to have one, it does help to have someone knowledgeable about wine.

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  1.  Pick a Theme

Some people like to do  a wine tasting on ‘local’ wines, or wines from a certain region.  I have had tremendous success with mixing it up a bit with 2 white, a rose, and 3 reds for a total of 6 wines.  Another popular array is 1 sparkling, 1 white, 1 rose´, 2 reds and 1 dessert wine.

2.  Pick A Value 

How much would you like to spend on wine? The most common way to do this is set a budget and the person with the knowledge will choose the wines, so that it is a blind taste-testing for all the guests.  Each pour is approximately 2 ounces, so there are 12 pours per bottle.  And most Sommeliers will pick a variety of price ranges, you want all guests to feel they are getting value.

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3.  Keep The Party Intimate.

Now I have done tastings with 22 people but the room was able to accomodate and I had two volunteers who helped to pour.   For home tasting parties I recommend 6 to 8 people, a group of 10 the absolute max.  You want a nice relaxed atmosphere for home tastings that people feel comfortable asking lots of questions.

4.  The Necessary Supplies

  • Glassware – each person will need 3 wine glasses
  • Spit Buckets for the designated drivers – Red solo plastic cups work just fine
  • Water
  • Palate cleansers like a baguette cut up or simple crackers.
  • Corkscrew
  • Napkins
  • Snacks are Welcome
    • Cheese and crackers are always a big hit at wine tastings.
    • Small bites are recommended
    • Recommendations include cheese, fresh fruit, bread and cured meats. Think charcuterie board.

Wine tasting 2

5.  The Set Up

If the amount of wine glasses is an issue, give people 3.  1 for white, one for rose or dessert wines, and the other for the Reds.  Ask your guests not to wear heavy perfumes, scented lotions or after-shaves, as this can really affect a wine tasting in a big way, since aromas play a huge role in wine.  Avoid decorating with scented candles for the same reason.

Have a little room in your refrigerator for the wines. Especially whites and rose´ wines.  And most importantly… Have fun!!  After all, it’s a wine tasting.

And now for my wine of the week….


As a Congratulations on becoming a Sommelier, my friend Judy bought me this wonderful Tuscan wine from Italy.  I guess it’s no coincidence, since I’m heading to the Tuscany region in Italy May 18th.  This was so good.  She paid a surprise visit to me on Monday or Tuesday of this past week and we popped it open.  A blend of Sangiovese, Syrah and Merlot, this wine truly is a Super Tuscan.  Super Tuscan wines are wines that feature an Italian grape (Sangiovese) with traditional grapes, like the Merlot and Syrah.  Ruffino introduced Il Ducale in 2005 to  express a style of Tuscan wine that marries the refinement of traditional Tuscan wine-making with a modern, fruit-driven style.  Great with pizza, charcuterie boards and would be welcome at any wine-tasting event.


Well the framing is done, and this is now hanging in my home.  Thanks for reading and sharing the wine journey with me.  There is be no wine blog on two Saturday’s in May, the 20th and 27th, as I will be away.

Till next week, Cheers



  1. Randy Strickland. says:

    Darlene I have a question for you. I have had an ice wine in my wine fridge for about 3 years. Would that still be ok to drink? It hasn’t been open,

    1. darmyers says:

      Ice wines tend to age very well. They even change colour as they age. The only way to know for sure is to try it

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