Wine tasting night in with friends is one of our most favourite ways to enjoy wine without having to go out and splash money on a night out. I decided to share some tips with you as wine tasting night is a very nice way to spend a quality time with friends. Knowing how to organise it and where to start might inspire you to have organise one yourself. It’s easy. You organise one and you are an expert. The most amazing thing is that friends will love it, because it is an unusual night in. Why not to create some memorable moments for ourselves and our best friends?
First of all here are some myths about wine tastings and our take on it:
MYTH: Wine tasting is a professional event for wine experts.
WHAT WE THINK: wine is one of the oldest and most common drink in the world. It is for everyone to enjoy and explore.
MYTH: wine tasting is an event that has set rules.
WHAT WE THINK: the only rule that exists is that wine tasting has to have at least one wine on the menu. There are so many different wine tasting formats that it’s just not possible to have very strict rules. Ok. Some professional wine tasting sommelier events have very specific rules, but as we are keeping all goodness at home, let’s not focus on sommelier’s job for now 🙂
How do I know that all these are myths? From my experience. I started organising wine tasting events for my friends 5 years ago, without having much knowledge about wines at all. I’ve noticed that it’s just a format that has many shapes and forms, and that everyone can become uniq wine tasting event organiser amongst their friends.
So here are 6 steps you need to take:
Step one: decide how many friends you want to invite
Then invite them to come around to your place. You can tell them you have some wines that you would like to taste with them.
Usually when I’m organising wine tasting for my friends I inform them that I will take care of the wine for the wine tasting. We agree that we all can chip in equally to cover the wine cost. Also it’s up to you, but I often suggest my friends to bring some snacks with them to accompany wine.
Step two: decide how much wine you need
Once you know how many friends are joining the party calculate how much wine you need. I usually count 1 bottle for two people. Let’s say you have 8 friends. You can buy 4 or 5 bottles.
Step three: choose wine or theme for the tasting evening
I usually decide on this first, but I am putting it here as number 3, because it doesn’t really matter whether you already know which wines you want to taste, or you decide this once you invited your friends.
Here is a list of different ideas that will help you to decide what wine tasting you want to organise:
- You can have sparkling wine tasting to explore differences between different kinds of sparkling wines. For example: champagne, prosecco, franciacorta (italian sparkling wine), cava or other.
- You can select a grape (for example sauvignon blanc, pinot noir and so on) and buy 5 bottles of the wine made from that grape from different regions of the world like France, Australia, South Africa, Italy and so on. Having this type of tasting will allow you to see how different a single grape tastes depending on the location where it is from. No grape is the same even if the name says so :).
- You can select to taste wine from a single country, or even more specific from one region of a country.
- You can choose to taste different wines from one wine maker. For example I recently organised an evening with my friends where we had a chance to try different wines from one of our winemakers, Campolargo. Taste the entire range, explore the difference of lower range wines and the premium ones. This kind of tasting really gives you an opportunity to get to know wine maker better. Check out our wine cellar if you decide to get a real taste of Portugal.
Step four: buy the wine
If you are interested in wines, you probably know what you want and you can purchase your wines online or from a specialty shop.
When I need a suggestion which wines to choose for my wine tasting evening I ussualy go to my favourite wine shops. I tell them that I’m having a friends’ gathering, mini wine tasting event and what I’m looking for. For example: If it’s a sparkling wine tasting evening, I just ask wine shop keeper to recommend different wines that would allow us to explore the different spectrum of sparkling wines. I also sometimes make notes in the shop so I can tell this info to my friends in the evening.
Also ask a shopkeeper which one you should taste first, which follow later. Shop keeper will often recommend you how to serve it so the wine tastes it’s best.
Step five: in the evening
Prepare wines. When all friends gather choose one of the wines to start the night with. It can be an informal welcome drink. Then introduce what wines you will be trying. Tell them more about why you chose to select these wines. Share some facts that you gathered online about the grape or the facts from the shop keeper who recommended you wines. Keep it short.
If it’s 4 or 5 wines that you are tasting I would recommend opening them all up at the same time. Pour very little into the glass. Try all of them. Share glasses so you can taste one after another one to see the difference. Once all wines have been tried I usually recommend friends to simply keep enjoying the one they loved most.
Step six: share your findings
What I have discovered is that these simple informal events make even my non-wine-loving friends come around to explore the wines in a very „safe“ and „non-pretentious“ friends’ environment. We accept that none of us are real sommeliers and simply discuss what we like, what we don’t like, what tastes we find interesting, what’s is quite ordinary about the wiens that we tasted..
You will see, soon you will become „the one who knows wines“ amongst your friends and the memorable night organiser.
Additional recommendations for weddings:
If you are planning a wedding and are not sure which wines to choose order them all and try with friends. Don’t tell them that this is going to be your wedding wine. Just ask which one they like most. This way you will get the answers directly from your guest. This way you can be sure your guests will love the wine at your wedding.
At My Uniq Wines we always encourage people to discover what they love & to create something that will be memorable for them. You can order tasting cases of different wines from us too. PLUS you can choose different labels for each of them or have all of them with a single label & tell you friends they all came from your vineyard 🙂 Explore our personalised wine label gallery.
BTW: if you are planning your wedding and choosing wine you might like to read a four step guide on choose wine for wedding?