Hosting A Wine Tasting Party

How to conduct and host a wine tasting party in your own home.

The jury may still be out concerning the possible medicinal values of wine, but one thing is for sure--tasting wine will always be in vogue. A professional wine-tasting circuit consisting of wine merchants, producers, buyers and sommeliers makes the rounds each year to sample new crops of

the drink. And, you, too, can get into the fun of it by hosting your own wine-tasting party for your friends in your own home.

Here is how you can take tips from the experts and do it yourself.

First, select three to six bottles of different varieties of wine. Choose a cross-section of types from red to white. About a half hour before the testing begins, chill those bottles that recommend being served chilled in ice buckets containing cold water and ice cubes. A good rule of thumb is to mix the water and ice at a ratio of one to one. Be sure to allow room in the buckets for the displacement of the water and ice by the wine bottle. Depending on the size of the bucket and the size of the bottle, you should fill the bucket to between one-half and two-thirds full with the water-and-ice mixture. Then plunge the unopened wine bottle into the ice bucket, and it will be chilled in time for your party.



Provide stemmed wine glasses for each of your guests. Since they will be rinsing their glasses out between tastes, one glass per person is ample.

Have plenty of fresh water available for your guests to drink between wine samples to cleanse their palates and snacks such as cheese and crackers, fruit, or crusty bread appetizers so they can determine which wines best enhance the flavors of food on their tongues.

To begin, open the first bottle of wine and let it breathe for a few minutes. Pour each guest a sample from the bottle. About one to one and a half inches (around 2 ounces) of wine in the bottom of each glass is sufficient.

Now, tell each guest to swirl the wine around the inside edge of his glass and to smell the bouquet or aroma of the wine. The smell is an important part of the wine-tasting experience because it actually adds to the taste you experience when you take the wine into your mouth.

Next, have your guests sip the wine, but not swallow it. Professional wine tasters swirl the liquid in their mouths and then discreetly spit it out. Provide receptacles for your tasters to do so if they wish. For your party, though, your guests will probably want to swallow their sample. Then, each guest should eat a bit of food from the snack tray and then taste the wine again. This may change the opinion he forms from the first taste.

If you want to discuss the wines at the conclusion of the party like professional tasters do, you may want to provide your guests with paper and pencils so they can take notes on each sample and share their opinions when all the tasting is done.

After everyone has sampled the first bottle of wine, rinse each of their glasses well with clear water and begin the procedure with the second bottle of wine. Continue these steps until all bottles have been sampled. Discuss your findings after tasting. By this time, each should have good opinions (and should be happy to express them) on each of the wine samples.

So, whether or not wine is medicinal and can actually lower one's cholesterol as some studies claim, a wine-tasting party can certainly cheer the spirits of those involved. Raise your glass to your guests and give toast to each one's health. A wine-tasting party is just the way to do it.

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