How to Host a Wine Tasting

March 28, 2011


how to host a wine tasting

[T]he world of wine can be ovewhelming and intimidating with all its lingo and formality and swishing and spitting.  The simple fact is wine is made to be enjoyed – and nothing is more enjoyable than sharing some with friends.

Hosting a wine tasting doesn’t have to be stress-inducing and you don’t have to be an expert.  It’s a way to taste and discover what you like – and what you don’t – and then eat some great food with great friends and laugh your ass off.

What’s hard about THAT?

Please welcome our fabulous guest author today, Jennifer Knighton, of Baptist Wine Club – where guilt, pleasure and rebellion all point to some great wine recommendations at great price points.  You should also know she has fantastic taste in shoes.

Here are Jennifer’s tips on hosting an easy, relaxed and fun wine tasting.


My wine tasting parties are generally impromptu events resulting from opening three or four bottles of wine for a dinner party at home. Invariably, each person will sample each of the wines on offer, choosing their favorite to accompany dinner. It’s kind of a backward way to manage a wine tasting, even if it works at Chez Knighton.

Since you are probably a far more well-organized hostess, you might want to do things a little differently. You know, the right way. (Hi Mom!)

First It’s about wine. Hold off dinner till later in the evening to keep kitchen aromas at a minimum, so your guests can focus on what they’re tasting.

Next It’s about wine. Select three to six bottles with a theme.

Example: California reds, New Zealand whites, Chardonnay from several regions, several varietals from a single winery, sparkling wines from around the world. Mix up your price points. Experiment. Anything goes!

Then It’s about wine. Hide the labels of your chosen bottles.

Use the paper wrapper from the store or wine gift bags or this wine tasting party set from Cost Plus.

Provide your guests with a wine tasting card, where they can write down their observations of appearance, fragrance, and flavor. Here’s a downloadable wine card.

Lastly It’s about wine. After your guests have tasted all the offerings, compare your thoughts.

Share with each other what you liked, what you didn’t, and what you want to drink some more. And then remove the covers, pour a full glass, and enjoy your discoveries!



Thanks, Jennifer! Want some recommendations for wines to sample at your tasting? Go check out some of her favorites at Baptist Wine Club. Or, maybe if you ask nicely and tell her how pretty her shoes are, she’ll answer some questions right here in the comments!

GIVEAWAY! Leave a comment or question and you could win the fantastic Wine Tasting kit up above courtesy of Jennifer and Baptist Wine Club to kick start your own wine tasting party! Contest closes Friday at 9pm CST. Good luck!

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14 Responses to “How to Host a Wine Tasting”

  1. Julie Baker Says:

    We are planning a wine tasting featuring Texas wines as a way to show our friends what great wines our state has to offer. Many people aren’t aware of just how big the wine industry is here. The wines we will feature will be from grapes GROWN here!

    • Knighton Says:

      Hi Julie! That sounds like fun. We did a similar tasting with my Napa Valley in-laws and had a great time comparing the two states. Texas wines are unique in my slightly biased option. 😉

      BTW, my favorite Texas wine is the Becker Claret, which tastes like Texas in a bottle. So good!

    • pamlewis Says:

      SUCH a great idea! The party planner in me runs down the road with Texas themed everything… the food, the wine, the art, … Fun! You’ll have to tell us how it goes!

      • Julie Baker Says:

        Thanks…we’re pretty excited about it! I’m also planning to have finger foods, etc. that spotlight Texas. I think we’re going to a cheese tasting this weekend… 😉

  2. ashley Says:

    Ooooh, I never knew about the hiding of the labels. That would be really interesting. I’m learning more about wine and I find the more I drink, the more those fancy adjectives seem to make sense. I actually called a wine “playful” the other night (and my husband didn’t even laugh at me!)

    I think the most important thing I’ve learned is that the price of the wine and the taste/quality of the wine are completely unrelated.

  3. stephanie Says:

    My friends recently through a “bubbles” tasting party to help choose the sparkling wine to serve at their wedding. It was tons of fun!

  4. Jenny Johnson Says:

    “Baptist wine club” makes me giggle to myself every time I hear it.