Wine Tasting Party Ideas

I'd love to share my wine tasting party ideas with you! I attend a wine tasting party every year with the same group of friends, and it is an annual tradition we all look forward to. It is a wonderful evening with friends and you'll get to taste many different types of wine!

There are many different ways you can host this, but I will share how we have done this from year to year. Feel free to add in your comments and ideas (there is a place at the bottom of this page). We can all learn from each other some different ways to throw a great wine party!


Wine Tasting Party Ideas: How it Works

There are eight to ten couples that attend our annual wine party, and each year a couple takes a turn hosting the party at their house.

The host and hostess are responsible for hosting the party, organizing and pouring the wine for all the tastings, grading the score sheets, and providing a prize for thehomemade wine charms winner. You will need to have enough wine glasses for everyone, or you can use the disposable plastic ones. It is also a nice touch to have wine charms on your glasses so no one loses track of their glass. You can make your own wine charms as shown below using Shrinky Dink printer paper. Or, try writing the person's name on the base of the wine glass with a non-permanent marker (test to make sure it will wipe off first).

Each couple (guest) is asked to bring two bottles of the SAME type/brand of wine (to allow enough for plentiful tastings!) Keep in mind that your party may only require one bottle of wine. We have learned over the years that our group likes having some wine left over after the tasting to enjoy for the rest of the evening, so we increase the number of bottles to TWO per couple.

Each couple (guest) is also asked to bring an appetizer to share. Therefore, the host/hostess does not have to worry about providing food or beverage, only the small plates, napkins, and silverware that may be needed. It also is a good idea to have plenty of bottled water around to keep your guests hydrated in between tastings. Small crackers to cleanse the palette is recommended as well.

plastic wine glassesAfter mingling, guests are are given a wine glass and score card and asked to take a seat.

The host/hostess then begins with the first wine and pours everyone a taste.

Keep the wine covered up with a towel, so no one knows the brand or type of wine (or if it is their own).

Guests then score the wine A through F based on how well they like it. I include a my downloadable wine tasting score card for your convenience. This is a PDF file with two score sheets per paper, so just cut it in half for two. There is room for the grading of 10 different wines.

wine tasting score card

When tastings have finished, the host/hostess determines the wine winner. This is the wine that received the highest grades.

Wine Tasting Party Ideas: The Scoring

Here is how the scoring works: If a wine receives an "A" from someone, the wine gets 5 points, a B gets 4 points, and so on:

A = 5 points
B = 4 points
C = 3 points
D = 2 points
F = 1 point

Party Tip:

I like to print the results sheet out and give it to each person. This gives everyone a great resource for knowing great wines. I have also referred to it to see what type of wine a particular friend gave an "A". I instantly have a birthday present I know they will like!

If you have Microsoft Excel, I have a free downloadable scoring results worksheet for you to use. This sheet automatically assigns the appropriate point value for each letter, and determines the total. All you need to do is type in everyone's grades from their score sheet and this Excel sheet will do the rest. The wine with the highest point value wins!

If you choose to use this sheet, make sure to read tab 3 labeled "Instructions" to learn how to use the sheet. Easy!

wine tasting results

Wine Tasting Party Ideas: The Prizes

wine gift basket
Wine tasting party ideas for the prizes: I keep the prizes pretty easy. I usually give away a bottle of last year's winning wine (that is another reason to keep your results sheet from year to year!). I add it to a basket with some gourmet crackers and dip or cheese. Wrap it up with some cellophane, add a ribbon, and you have a beautiful wine gift basket for the winner.

One year I also made the grape cluster ornament shown below, but I changed the tag to say "2012 Wine Party Winner". My friends display in on their Christmas tree every year!

wine ornament

Wine Tasting Party Ideas: Another Variation

Of course, there are many different ways to host this party. It can be as simple as just opening all the bottles your friends bring and have a fun evening sipping them all. No grading required!

One year our friend put a fun twist on the party. He had us all try a wine that he provided, and then we had to try to correctly classify the wine by its type (Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Grigio, Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, etc.). He passed out a little note card which described each type of wine, such as its signature color, body, notes on its taste (nutty, woody, fruity, for example).

This was a fun way to get to know different varieties of wine and seeing how good we were at distinguishing between types, just based on a taste!

Party Tip:

Be a responsible host or hostess and make sure your guests have a safe way home.

In closing, I must mention to be sure your guests have a designated driver or a safe way home. I solve this problem by letting my guests spend the night at my house. This is a given whenever I have a party. I would rather keep everyone safe and I know my guests appreciate this, and look forward to it too! I always have a breakfast casserole ready prepared the day before so breakfast in the morning is a snap!

If you have wine tasting party ideas, please share! Thank you so much!

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