Think wine tasting and chances are you’ll be thinking high-society and elite circles the likes of which may have all the sophistication in the world but where’s the sense of fun?

In reality though wine tasting hasn’t been an elitist sport for a few decades now and you’d be surprised just how much fun a wine tasting party can be for pretty much any occasion you can think of. With such huge availability of wine gifts online and even next day deliveries for those last-minute celebrations, there’s really no scenario that isn’t suited to a wine tasting party.

Of course, you and you alone – the host, will determine the success and general enjoyment of the party! What you’re looking to do is create a relaxed and informal environment in which both budding wine fans and curious newcomers can experience new wines, learn a fact or two and generally deepen their passion for wine.

What you’re not looking to chair is a glorified lecture – chances are your friends will think twice before ever coming back again!

So before taking advantage of those oh-so tempting wine by the case offers you’ve come across online, take a quick look at our ten-point guide for throwing a successful and enjoyable wine tasting party aimed at first-timers and newbies:


How to Organise an Enjoyable and Successful Wine Tasting Party


1 – Consider a Theme

We’re not talking Pirates of the Caribbean or Wild West here, but rather a theme that’s in some way connected with the wine itself. For example, you could choose red wine only for this particular party or maybe opt for a specific country or region. Champagne parties are of course wonderful for special occasions, as too are dessert wine tasting sessions when accompanied by all manner of sweet treats. A focused theme will help you plan and give the event cohesion.


2 – Make Notes

If you’ll be allowing your guests to help themselves to each wine, look up a few VERY simple tasting notes for each and leave them by each bottle. This in turn will prevent you from having to spend the whole night repeating yourself until blue in the face.


3 – Keep the Numbers Down

If you invite too many people, you’ll really struggle to keep things running smoothly. If this is to be your first wine tasting party it’s in everyone’s best interests to invite no more than a few of your closest friends. What’s more, fewer guests means you could always choose a gift from a range of wine accessories for each attendee to take home with them.


4 – Forget Formality

Don’t make the whole environment in any way stuffy or pretentious – if light piano music and black ties aren’t your thing, don’t think you have to endure them just for the sake of the wine tasting. Keep it friendly, informal and exactly as you’d run any other party atmosphere-wise.


5 – Budget Wisely

You can order mixed cases of wine online easily and inexpensively these days so there's really no need to spend beyond your means just for the sake of it. Assuming you and your guests are fairly new to wine…at least in a serious capacity…chances are you won’t appreciate the subtle differences between a £6 bottle and a £36 bottle. Things will get very expensive for you if you don’t budget wisely and sensibly.


6 – Check Your Glassware

Your guests will not be able to take you or your party seriously if you have one person drinking red wine out of a tea cup, another sipping champagne from a pint glass and any number of others swigging from the bottle. What’s more, you also have to allow for breakage, which means having enough identical wine glasses for every guest plus a few spares.


7 – Go With Your Gut

If you’re going to drink white wine for the partythen buy white wine that you actually like and not just the wine you’ve been told is great by the critics. Share and celebrate what you know is good, not what just might be good. Ask the advice of your wine merchant - here at The Cardinal's Cellar we're always glad to help, just give us a call or drop us an email and we'll get back to you quickly.


8 – Bone Up

Look up each of the wines you’re looking to serve online and learn at least a little of its origins, its characteristics and perhaps its ideal food pairings. Chances are you will be asked a fair few questions, so be ready to answer them!


9 – Don’t Forget the Water

Remember that too much wine on its own can be very dehydrating and you don’t want your guests to go home with a stinking headache to remember you by. Provide plenty of water and other soft drinks as desired.


10 – Have Fun!

Last but not least, the moment you appear to be stressed out or taking things too seriously, your guests will lose interest and just pray for the thing to be over. So above all else, remember to have fun and treat the whole thing as a casual gathering… that is of course, what it is!