Last weekend my husband and I were lucky enough to get down to Napa Valley for the annual fall crush and a little wine tasting. It is always so amazingly beautiful down there at this time of year, and as always, I came away full of plans and ideas to do a little wine tasting with my friends once I got back home. Here are some of the wine tasting party inspirations that I brought back from California. Maybe they will light a spark in you to get together with some special people and share some special vintages!
Start with a beautiful setting. If weather allows, think about sharing your wine in the backyard or garden. You might even pack a basket full of some great wines and snacks and have a get together in a local park. We saw some really cool gel freeze wine bags that were popular down in Napa. These would be great for transporting your wines to a picnic in the park!
A fun and inexpensive idea for your table is to use a roll of butcher paper for a table cloth. Then use chalkboard paint on parts or all of the paper to label the wines and foods you put out. You could also paint on quotation bubbles for your friends to write their comments about the different wines they sample. You can find a great DIY tutorial for this cool tablecloth at athoughtfulplace.com.
Serving a variety of finger foods is also a good idea at a wine tasting party. Assorted cheeses, charcuterie such as salami or prosciutto, bread sticks, dried fruit, and of course, chocolates, can all help bring out the flavors in wine.
Some other things to have on hand include water and a vessel for dumping extra wine (not that there will be any, of course!) and at least one or two glasses per guest.
Also, wines are usually tasted from lightest to heaviest, and with whites served before reds.
Want a fun keepsake to remember your party? Make a bulletin board out of the corks of your favorite wines. This is a great way to remember the vintages that you especially liked, and it can also help keep you organized!
Want a few great apps for your wine tasting? Try Hello Vino, which will help you choose the perfect wine for any occasion or food pairing (free). Want to keep track of your favorite wines? You might like Drync, which allows you to make an online wine journal that stores the name and information about a wine and has a space for you to take a picture of the wine label for your records so it’s easy to find again on the shelf. (This one is also free)
For lots of other great ideas for a wine tasting, be sure to take a look at our wine tasting party page, where we have many ideas to help you host an amazing get together.