Tips for hosting an unforgettable wine tasting party

A fun way to share a taste of Tuscany with your friends is hosting a wine tasting party. You don’t have to be a Tuscan wine expert and you can even do it virtually, using apps like FaceTime or Zoom. The idea is to learn more about wine and to enjoy it with others. As Ernest Hemingway said, “Wine and friends are a great blend.”

No matter how you do it, here are some tips for hosting an unforgettable wine tasting party:

Choose a theme

Naturally, we think that an “Evening in Tuscany” is the perfect theme for a wine tasting party. You could select a range of Tuscan wines from Chianti to Super Tuscans, and finish up with our sweet wine, Vin Santo. Or you could explore just one variety. For example, although all Chianti wines are made with Sangiovese grapes, your guests will notice the differences between standard Chianti, Chianti Classico and Chianti Riserva. Consider adding an element of mystery by disguising the wine bottles for a blind tasting.

Set the scene

Create a warm and inviting atmosphere. However, keep the lighting bright enough to see the wine and avoid scented candles or flowers that could interfere with the aromas of the wine.

Give each guest two glasses, so they can taste two wines side-by-side. As well, put out some pens and paper so everyone can note their thoughts on the wine.

Typically at formal wine tastings, crackers or bread and water are provided to help cleanse the palate in between tastings. But, this is a party, so you’ll also want to share some food. Besides, it can be a mistake to offer generous amounts of wine and not enough food to soak it up. It’s also a good idea to have pouring buckets so that people can taste, but control the volume of wine they drink.

Serving food that comes from the same region as the wine is ideal. For an evening in Tuscany, we recommend a classic board with Italian cheese, salami and prosciutto. Some sweet fruit conserve or honey to drizzle on the cheese will bring out the rich fruit flavours of the wine.

Serving the wine

When serving the wine, you’ll usually want to work from light to full-bodied wines. How much wine do you serve? Four to six different wines is the right amount for an intimate wine-tasting party. Pour two ounce servings for tasting (about half the amount of a normal serving). One bottle of wine contains about 13 two-ounce servings, so you’ll need only one bottle of each wine for a small party.

At the end of the tastings, ask your guests to share what they thought about each wine and then it’s time for the big reveal of each wine’s identity. Guests will almost always be surprised to learn which ones they liked best.

These tips will require some adjustment for a virtual wine tasting party. Remember to keep it simple and focus on that special blend of wine and friends.

We’d love to take you on a wine tasting tour in Tuscany. See our most popular tours here.