The dos and don’ts of hosting a wine tasting

Two men and two women drinking white wine

When it comes to hosting an at-home wine tasting, there are a few golden rules to follow. Here are some tips to help you plan your next tasting.

Crunch the numbers.

Predetermine your guest list and decide how many bottles of wine you’d like to feature. One bottle can easily accommodate up to 12 people tasting (at 2 oz. per person.) A suggested number of wines to taste is 4 to 6 per person.

Share the expense.

It’s completely acceptable to ask your guests to BYOW to contribute to the tasting. Or, if you’d rather take care of the buying, you may also consider calculating the per-person cost in advance and sharing it with the invitation.

Nominate a point person.

It’s easy to get off track with lively chatter. To keep everyone attentive, appoint either yourself or a friendly enthusiast to guide the tasting. Structure the flight from whites to reds and lightest to fullest wine. Our Wine Discovery Guide can help you determine this by using the intensity scale.

The 5 S’s.

Refresh guests on the simple 5 “S”s of wine tasting: Swirl, Sniff, Sip, Savour, Swallow or Spit. Make sure to keep plastic cups at each place setting, or a few small buckets on the table.

Keep score.

A tasting scorecard is a great tool to help you remember which wines you enjoyed at a tasting. Hand out scorecards to your guests–like this unique take in the form of a placemat–so they can keep track of their favourite wines as the night goes on.

Responsible hosting.

Don’t let your friends worry about arranging a ride home. Discuss who will be the designated driver(s) for the evening and have the local taxi number on hand to call when your guests are ready to leave.


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