Have you ever wanted to host a wine tasting party at home, but thought it might be too difficult?  It’s not as hard as you might think.  Really.

While we offer a fantastic deal on wine tastings at Pinot, sometimes it’s nice to host your own tasting party.  It’s really quite simple!  Here are some quick-and-easy steps to follow.  Consider this a checklist.  1.  Put together your guest list.  Come up with some friends and family that you would like to invite, and don’t discriminate!  Invite those who like wine, but be sure to include some who don’t.  You’d be surprised, but many of the people that say they don’t like wine are actually intimidated by it.  There are so many options to choose from it can be rather overwhelming, so they don’t even know where to begin.  A wine tasting party is a fantastic place for them to sample different types of wine, and pairing food with the wines is an added bonus.  Everyone’s got to eat!  By the end of your party, you will be a hero for introducing them to the wonderful world of wine.

2.  Gather your supplies.  Before your party, start saving your corks.  You can use them as decorations.  Fill vases with corks, add some silk flowers, and voilà!  You have a centerpiece.  Purchase some chalkboard contact paper.  It makes a great tablecloth.  You can write which wines and foods pair together.

3.  Select your wines.  This is where you may want to ask an expert for some assistance.  You want to make sure that you have a variety of reds, whites, and blush wines.  There should also be an assortment dry, semi-sweet and sweet (or dessert) wines.  Our wonderful staff at Pinot can assist you and suggest some great wines from Auburn Road, Paradocx, and Pinnacle Ridge.

4.  Choose your food pairings.  You may want to get some suggestions on this one as well, but really, it’s all about things you think go together.  There are no hard and fast rules.  If you think something goes well together, chances are that it does.  You’ll need a good mix of cheeses, breads, fruit, chocolates and/or cakes and sweets.  You could even have some salads and an entrée or two.  It’s your party, so you make the rules!  Wine goes with everything.  If you’re not sure what to serve, search for food and wine pairings on the internet.

5.  Sit back, relax, and enjoy!  You put together a great party.  It’s one that people will probably be talking about for a while, too.  Who knows, you may start a trend among your friends and family.  Take pride in your efforts.  Remember that imitation is the best form of flattery.

Do you have one or two wine snobs in your group?  Well, there’s an answer for that, too.  Host a blind tasting party.  Cover up the labels on all of the wine bottles.  If you have some of that chalkboard paper left, you can use that.  Write the type of varietal on the bottle (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, etc.), but nothing more!  Be sure you don’t give away any hints as to the vintage (year), region, or even the winery.  I can guarantee they will be pleasantly surprised by some of the wines you’ve chosen.

By the way, this works well with beer also.  Grab some of your favorite brews and favorite foods, replace the corks with bottle caps, and you’ve got yourself a party.  Football season is right around the corner.  Can you imagine a football Sunday with different beers to sample, along with some football staples like wings, cheesesteaks, pretzels, and pizza?  It’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser!