how to

How to Host an Easy Wine Tasting Party

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through them I will receive compensation at no additional cost to you.

If you aren’t a drinker, then a post about an easy wine tasting party is not the one for you. I try to make food and booze interchangeable, but unless you’re going to do a prepackaged food party, it would take a lot more work to incorporate food. I’ve talked about having mini-cooking competitions before, so maybe that is the way to go for you. But if you do like wine, one of my favorite ways to have a classy little gathering is to host an easy wine tasting party.

Readers, you do not have to be a wine expert to do this. You honestly don’t need to know anything about wine at all, as long as you can read the labels when you’re buying the bottles. If you do want to know a little something before you start, you might want to pick up The Wine Bible or Wine for Dummies. Be warned: They’re not quick reads. There are other books about wine that are a lot smaller, but I haven’t read them so I can’t recommend any. When my sister and I started drinking wine, we went all in. You don’t have to read the whole book to host an easy wine tasting party though; once you decide what you’re tasting you’ll be able to find that specific chapter.

Steps to Hosting an Easy Wine Tasting Party

Preparation

Okay, so this is going to be a super easy prep. First choose, your guest list. I usually invite a couple or two, or friends that really love wine. Sometimes I’ll do a combination, but I try not to make anyone a fifth wheel during a wine tasting. I don’t normally mind being a third or fifth wheel but if you put me in Napa Valley with two couples and not  my husband, I think I’d wind up drinking too much.

Anyway, who you invite isn’t really that important, except for their level of wine knowledge. Do they like wine, but basically know nothing past red or white? Are they so advanced you’ll have to impress them with a tasting of Bordeaux by year? (Good luck with that one.) Knowing this will help you pick what wine to drink. Now, you can ask them to bring wine, or buy it all yourself, but that’s up to you. Just make sure they know what to bring. Last time I did various white wines; we each picked one and tried to see if we could guess what it was. Fun fact: We could not.

Execution

mini wine tasting

You already decided whether you’re buying all the wine or not. If you are, better go get some! You also absolutely need to make sure you have enough wine glasses. Guys, this is the easiest kind of gathering to throw. You’re not cooking or decorating anything. It would just be silly to put your good wine in plastic cups to avoid cleaning a few glasses. Everything else is going to go straight in the garbage, so get out the good dishware.

Next, you’re going to want some kind of a palate cleanser (like oyster crackers), or even little bites to go with the wines. Again, this is something you can ask your guests to bring if you like. Sometimes if I get the wine, my sister will get cheese, or vice versa. If you decide to have snacks, I would look at a wine pairing guide like this one. You can find others on my Pinterest wine board if you don’t like that one. To continue prep, set out your food nice and pretty, and then cut a few pieces of printer paper in half for tasting notes. If you want to get really fancy, you can print out your tasting notes instead. That’s it! Totally easy wine tasting party, right?

Wine Tasting Example

White wines

Need

1 bottle chardonnay
1 bottle sauvignon blanc
1 bottle pinot grigio

Cheese Pairings

Brie & chardonnay
mozzarella & sauvignon blanc
ricotta & pinot grigio

Tasting notes

You’ll definitely want to list what type of wine it is, along with taste. Some other ideas are aroma/smell, taste, finish, appearance, and points. I’m attaching a downloadable version of my own super simple notes here:

Notes for Wine

Things to write on tasting notes if you are not into wine but want to feel like you are: fruity, leafy, earthy, oaky, buttery. Or, my personal favorite, bramble. A sommelier once told me to call all wines brambley and everyone will be confused enough to agree.

I really do hope you can enjoy a little tasting party like this. There’s not a lot of effort to it, but you know what? Making wine the focal point of the event honestly does make it seem like it’s a high class affair. I don’t know why that is – I guess rich people have succeeded in their trickery of getting us to believe whatever they want to tell us. We’ll talk about beer tastings at some other time. If you don’t drink at all, I do apologize! I’m sure you could come up with an alternative; apple cider maybe? That actually sounds kind of fun. Maybe next time…

 

Holding a wine tasting doesn't have to be hard, and you don't even need to know anything about wine! #wine #winetasting #wineparty #tastingparty #easypartyideas #partyideas #winebeginner
recipe for (1)

The Difficulties of Throwing a Man Party

Have you ever had a hard time coming up with a theme for a man party? I mean, a party for an adult male. I have, and I know I’m not the only one. My husband notoriously doesn’t care about parties, doesn’t want to decorate for anything, doesn’t care if there’s a theme, and basically just doesn’t care what I do as long as there are people there he enjoys and food he wants to eat. So why bother with him at all? Well friends, he still wants to have a good time. He just doesn’t want to participate in planning it.

I personally love birthdays. I know they come around every year and every person has them, but celebrating anything is fun and birthdays allow each person one day to feel special. That’s why I make a big deal out of all my family’s, including my husband’s. Most of the time, we don’t throw parties; we go on trips. Those are fun too, and maybe I’ll talk about how to host a vacation sometimes, but until then, let’s talk about the years I do throw a party. Here are my basic rules for throwing a man party when you don’t have time to make everything perfect:

Cut the Decorations.

I will almost always cut the decorations before I cut anything else, but that’s especially the case in a man party. If you do decorate, your husband/boyfriend/brother/whoever is probably going to say, oh, that looks nice. But he won’t notice the painstaking detail you put into every single hand-painted plate or the three weeks of calligraphy chalkboard lessons you took. Here’s my decorations for my husband’s thirtieth booze an bacon party:

See that? That’s a bacon bouquet in half a wine bottle. Know how long it took me to do all of that? Not including cooking the bacon, ten minutes. (Here’s a good tutorial for the bouquet; I do the wine bottles the dangerous way with flames and nail polisher remover. I won’t be responsible for sharing that with you.) He loved it. He actually looked at it – and eventually he ate it. And I didn’t have to do anything else.

Man Party, Man Chooses Guests.

It’s the one time where you have to like his friends. You don’t have to invite the alcoholic one who’s going to hit on everyone then barf in your kitchen, unless he’s your husband’s best friend, but you should invite the ones he likes, whether you do or not. Don’t spend much time on this. Either get him to tell you the list or pick however many you need if it’s a surprise. But, the guest list is going to help you decide what comes next so it is important. Are these guys/gals gamers? Drinkers? Outdoorsmen?

Food, Drinks, or Activities?

Pick what’s most important to the guy and focus on that – for my husband, it’s always food or drink, but for yours perhaps it’s what you’re going to do at the party. Remember, I’m not talking about an offsite event here. I’m only talking about a things you can do at your house. Perhaps you have a cornhole set. Would it be more important that you set up a tournament, complete with brackets and trophies, instead of serving something time-consuming? Or would he be more insistent that you have a special whiskey cocktail prepared and he and his friends can deal with the cornhole on their own? Once you decide what aspect of the party is the most important, it’s time to focus. If it’s food, you probably have the most work ahead of you, so get started planning asap.

Focus on One Thing.

You know what’s the most important, so you work on that. Let’s go back to my husband’s thirtieth. I chose booze and bacon as a theme, but I don’t want you to think that I put a lot of effort into both food and drinks. We had Bud Light and whiskey in the alcohol department. That was it. My efforts were solely on food; it’s just that I put booze in the food. Here’s a little sample of my menu: beer-candied bacon, wine bundt cakes, BLT cups, and bacon whiskey brownies.  I think my next attempt is going to be barbecue based. Good grief does that man like barbecue. He’ll be so excited for that, he won’t care what he’s doing or drinking.

I imagine that most men will be similar to my husband; if you make their favorite party of the party the best part of the party, you can skimp on the effort everywhere else. Actually, most women are probably that way too – except you might also want to consider decorations, unless the woman in question is me. 🙂 One day, when your kids are grown up a little bit, or you’re no longer working 80 hours a week to become a partner, you’ll have time to throw a party that’s fabulous in every single way. Until then, pick what the gentleman likes best and work on that!