Organising a wine event at home is a fun way to share your love of the grape with friends and family. The beauty of tasting wine is that it can be done either in person or by video link, so you can easily gather your nearest and dearest for a celebration of your favourite vintages.
Before you launch into a wine event, however, there are a few things you’ll need to prepare. This section is dedicated to the ins and outs of organising a wine event at home.
Choosing a theme or topic for your home wine tasting
In order to steer your wine tasting effectively, it can be useful to follow a theme so that everyone stays on the same page. Dean, who regularly hosts tastings, believes that choosing a theme adds more fun and variety to a tasting event, and shares some ideas on how to choose a suitable one below:
• Compare similar grapes from different regions – taste a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc alongside a Chilean or French Sauvignon; French Malbec vs Argentinian; or maybe a Pinot Gris vs Pinot Grigio. Grapes respond in very different ways according to the conditions in which they’re grown, and this becomes apparent when you compare the same grape that has been grown in two very different climates, in different soils or sometimes even on different sides of the same valley
• Challenge tasters with some less well-known grapes – try some wines you might not be aware of, something a little less well-known. Catarratto, Viognier, Macabeo, Torrontes or Furmint, for example. Wines from Portugal are always a good choice as they grow a wealth of indigenous grapes.
• Concentrate on a specific country or region – for the larger wine-producing countries, we recommended sticking to a region or a specific grape if it is grown all over that country. Argentinian Malbec is always a good one and easy to get a hold of, or maybe wines from Alsace in France. Try a session on Hungarian wines for something a bit different.
• Theme it around a specific future event – great barbecue wines, for example, in summer, or a selection of Christmas wines in Autumn.
• Try a blind tasting – challenge everyone coming to bring something along and try tasting blind, always great fun and it really doesn’t matter who gets what right.
Serving and preparing wine
How wine is served, both in terms of its temperature and glassware, can affect the overall tasting experience – so it pays to get it right. Here, Chris shares his essential top tips on serving and preparing wine for a tasting.