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How to Host a Wine Tasting Party

Wine tasting parties are a fun, educational and interactive way to bring your guests, clients or friends together. Wine tastings encourage communication amongst the participants in a joyful and relaxed atmosphere. Guests will learn about new varietals, wine regions and the proper way to taste wine. They may even discover a new favorite or two!

I recently coordinated a wine tasting bridal shower. I chose wines for the guests that were primarily light and crisp since it was an outdoor summer party, and wines that I knew most guests never experienced. At the start of the tasting, I was met with some resistance by a number of guests. "You don't have Pinot Grigio?", I was asked. I explained to the guests that since they are already familiar with that varietal, this is an opportunity to try a wine they've never tasted before. Once the guests understood my reasoning, they agreed to try these new wines. They were pleasantly surprised at how much they enjoyed Vinho Verde, Riesling and Nero d'Avola, to name a few.

Event Options

Wine tastings are a great addition to many different types of occasions. A wine tasting can be included at events such as:

Corporate team building

Corporate incentive trip

Corporate holiday party

Client entertaining dinner

Retail store open house

Bridal Shower

Friends gathering

Dinner party


Holiday party

Birthday party

Anniversary party

Choosing the Wines

There are a number of different options when planning which wines to taste. Is there a theme? A Tuscan themed corporate dinner is the perfect occasion to incorporate a Tuscan or Italian wine tasting. Do you want to try wines that are the same varietal, but from different wine regions?

For example, if you chose Chardonnay as the varietal, you can pick regions such as Sonoma, Chablis, Burgundy and South Africa. It would be very interesting to compare the same grape from these varied regions. A blind tasting is always a blast and forces the participants to really focus on what they are tasting. How about by price? Pick a few bottles of wine that are all the same price, discuss what is different, and what is the same, about each bottle. Or my favorite - sparkling wines. Compare Prosecco, Champagne, Cava, a California get the idea!

It's all in the Details

In order to have a proper wine tasting, there are a number of necessities needed to make the event happen. Of course the first item is the wine, but the second most important is the glasses. I feel an all purpose wine glass is fine for most wine tastings. The glass can get a small rinse using the next wine to be tasted. This clears away residual from the previous wine. For more intimate tastings, you may want to have one glass per wine. This allows guests to retry wines and compare them. Plain crackers and cheese are nice palate cleansers. It is best to not serve anything that may overwhelm the flavors of the wines being tasted. A dump bucket is a handy item for leftover wine and pitchers of water for refreshing between wines.

Get Creative!

There are many creative options to enhance and customize your wine tasting. Some of these include:

  • Custom name labels tied to each guest's glass

  • Etch guest's name on the wine glass

  • Display maps of the different wine regions being explored

  • Framed wine notes on each wine

  • Create a slide show with beautiful pictures of the wine region. Include pictures of the wineries, foods from that region and even the wine maker!

  • Provide each guest with a custom notepad or sheets for taking notes and impression

Have Fun!

Wine tastings allow us the opportunity to experience a different culture and part of the world without having to renew our passport! Give it a try at your next party, you and your guests will not be disappointed!

Events by Gayle creates custom wine tasting parties. Contact us for any questions or for more information at

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