In DC, Happy Hours and Corporate Networking events are a standard aspect of living and working in the Nation’s Capital. My favorite way to break the routine mold is to host a wine tasting party. Even controlling the overall budget by choosing wines that fit any price point, wine tastings and pairings always feel high-end and add a fun, interactive element for your guests.
There are three main facets to designing a wine tasting party.
Today, we’ll look at the most important aspect ~ THE WINE!
For my basic wine tasting parties, I use 6 various wines ~ a sparkling, 2 whites, 2 reds, and a dessert. I use a range of regions and countries. Living so close to Virginia’s booming wine country, I like to use a local selection or to highlight local grapes from their original locations like Rhône Viognier or Bordeaux Cab Franc. I estimate about 1 bottle of each wine for every 15 people. This leaves a little extra for people who would like to taste one again or have a glass.
wines from First Vine for a recent wine tasting client-appreciation reception
You can also choose wines by a theme. Some ideas to get you started are:
By grape ~ compare Chardonnays from Burgundy, California, Virginia, Chile, Australia, and/or even a Blanc de Blanc Champagne. Make sure to have some that were aged in stainless steel and some in oak to really compare the differences. Another option would be to highlight dry to sweet Rieslings.
By region ~ choose all Spanish wines or South African. France and Italy are classic regions to begin with. Play around with learning an area that isn’t well known such as Greece or other Eastern European regions.
By type ~ these tastings can be great to pair around holidays. Port and chocolates make for a fun Valentine’s celebration. Rosé in summer or sparkling for New Years. You can delve into Sherries by sampling dry Fino to sweet Pedro Ximénez.
All in all, remember that wine tasting for a crowd should be fun. Include a variety so everyone can find something they enjoy and add something new that you have never experienced. Develop a relationship with a local wine shop to ask for recommendations.
Tom Natan of First Vine and I had a great time teaching about the wines and food pairings.