How to Host a Wine Tasting Party

As I’ve mentioned before, food, wine, and entertaining are three of my very favorite things! A while back, I was invited to a wonderful party given by one of my best girlfriends and her super savvy mom. It was an in-home wine tasting at which we sipped new wines and discussed each wine’s perfect food pairings.

On the way home, I thought “Wow! What a fabulous alternative to the traditional couple’s dinner party or Girls Night Out (make it Girls Night In instead!)”. It’s a budget friendly form of entertaining, a fantastic way to sample new wines, and, fun for everyone! What’s involved in hosting a wine tasting party?

  • Send an Evite to eight to ten fellow wine enthusiasts with the date and time of your party.

Ask each guest to bring a bottle of wine (under $20) to share with the group and have everyone “reply all” to the group with the wine they’ve chosen to avoid duplicates. Finally, ask each guest to bring a dish that pairs perfectly with the particular wine they’ve chosen.

  • Have a place setting for each guest complete with wineglasses, plates and silverware.

It’s best to have at least three wineglasses per person; this includes a champagne flute, white wine glass, and red wine glass. While this is the perfect opportunity to show off your fancy Riedel collection, it’s also perfectly fine to mix and match the wineglasses that you’ve pieced together over the years.

  • Don’t forget the spit buckets and have plenty of water on hand for your guests.

Be sure to offer pens and wine tasting sheets (they can be found at your local wine shop or online) so that guests can write down their favorite wine/food pairings of the evening.

  • Start the tasting with the lightest of the white wines and end with the heaviest of the reds.  Ask each guest to talk about the specific wine they’ve chosen (region it’s from, where to buy it, price, etc), offer tasting notes for the group, and discuss food pairings. Pour each guest 2 oz of wine (it’s a tasting!) and pass around the dish it’s paired with for everyone to try.
  • End the party with a decadent dessert and coffee.

As you may know, chocolate pairs perfectly with a BIG, BOLD, red wine. So, for that final wine of the evening, serve it to your guests with a Chocolate Ganache Tart or Chocolate Truffles. AND, don’t forget to offer guests plenty of strong coffee!

After reading this, I hope that you’ll soon be planning your own Wine Tasting Party! Let me know, what’s your favorite wine under $20 that you’d choose to serve?


  1. Crystal:What a fun idea! It might even be nice to bring recipe cards for your dish to share with everyone :-).
  2. Rusty:A bottle of Graffigna Centenario Estate Bottled Reserve (Malbec) along with a perfectly grilled beef tenderloin is culinary heaven at a wine tasting party!
  3. Megan:Love this idea! A good idea for people who maybe aren't that wine savvy too! Will teach them about detecting flavors!
  4. Kelley:What a genius idea and an inexpensive entertaining suggestion for a broad age range of friends!!! My friends loved the in home party encouragement and we're planning a wine tasting soon thanks to your easy-to-follow outline!! my favorite is Sancerre , Les Longues Fins - 2012, which is great just for sipping at sunset or served with any seafood. T ry it with Crab Toast with Lemon Aioli or Lobster Benedict for a taste treat!!
  5. Lindsay:Love this "how-to"!! I am a bit challenged when it comes to party planning. I will definitely use this framework for my next party!! Thanks for the idea.