Learn how to throw a blind wine tasting party at home! Below is everything you need to know, including how to organize and host a home wine tasting, what you will need, plus fun extra touches!
Wine tasting at home
Blind wine tasting parties are a fun and interactive way to get guests to mingle. Also known as brown bag wine parties, are effortless to host, invite a lot of interaction between guests, and are a great reason to experience new wines.
Before you send out those invitations, though, here are some important things to consider.
- Number of guests – Home wine tasting parties are better for a more intimate crowd, generally between 8-12 guests. The amount of wine to “judge” is more manageable and it helps keeps the pace more relaxed.
- Safety – Even if you provide spittoon buckets, chances are great guests will get buzzed up. Therefore, home wine tastings make great neighborhood parties, where everyone is in walking distance. Otherwise, plan ahead for guests to have safe rides home, such as suggesting they use public transportation, use a rideshare, or have someone pick them up.
- Wine – Are you going to provide all the wine or have guests bring their own bottle? For a brown bag tasting party I ask guests to bring a bottle with a suggested price to keep the playing field even. Also consider if you will have them bring a bottle of red and white, their choice, or keep the tasting to a more selective variety.
what you will need
Now it’s time to get your party supplies ready! Have these items prepared so you can relax when guests arrive.
- Plenty of glassware – If you don’t have enough wine glasses, or don’t want to wash out glasses between samplings, consider getting disposable wine glasses.
- Spittoon / Dump Buckets
- Brown Bags or aluminum foil – For a blind tasting party wrap the wine bottles in aluminum foil to keep them concealed, or use brown paper wine bags. You can premake identifier labels as pictured, or write on the bags with Sharpie to label each entry. If you want to real cutsie, but eliminate any work, pick up these blind wine tasting bags on Amazon.
- Score cards – This can be as simple as handing everyone small notebooks and a pen, or purchase premade home wine tasting notecards. Alternatively display a large dry erase or chalkboard where guests can go up and vote on their favorites.
- Water – Have plenty of water readily available and easily accessible. Set out pitchers of water with glasses, or cold water bottles to easily grab.
- Food – This is just as important as water! Have lots of easy small bites and appetizers to nosh on, so guests have something to absorb all the libations! See below for my favorite wine party recipes.
How To Judge brown bag wine tasting
If there is a variety of reds and whites, you may award a winner for each category. A wine that received the most votes overall, may also be deemed “Best in Show.”
Since guests will be trying several wines, have notepads available so they can make notes as they taste. They can refer back to their notes to circle back, compare wines, or choose their winners.
Give guests warnings as you are drawing close to judging time. They can either place wine ballots in a box or mark their winning wine on a large display scoreboard.
alternative home wine tasting party
Rather than deeming a “winning” wine you can put guests wine palettes to the test. Have guests bring, or provide, different wine varietals. The guest that correctly identifies the most wine types, wins!
- Dry Riesling
- Pinot Grigio
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Sweet Riesling
- Pinot Noir
- Sangiovese or Chianti
- Shiraz / Syrah
- Cabernet Sauvignon
wine tasting party Prizes
What’s a contest without prizes? Once you know how you are going to lay out your wine tasting party, you will know how many prizes you’ll need. Perhaps you will have a red and white winner? Or add a Best-in-Show prize? More simply, have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes.
I love to give prizes that go hand-in-hand with the wine tasting theme, so here are some of my favorite prizes!
food for wine tasting party
Equally as important as the sips, are the bites! It’s important to keep guests fed with all the drinking. Plus wine is meant to be enjoyed with delicious food.
My favorite party appetizers can be made ahead, are effortless to make, and are such hits, guests often ask for the recipe!
- Baked Feta
- Spinach Balls
- Creamy Bacon Dip
- Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip
- Easy Baked Ricotta
- Fresh Avocado and Shrimp Salsa
Now that you have all the essentials figured out, why not choose one of these extra touches to make your home wine tasting party a smashing success?
- Take home gift bags with a water bottle, aspirin, and a snack for the next morning, like a homemade muffin or everything bagel.
- Have wine markers or charms so guests can quickly identify their glass.
- At the party snap a quick pic of each wine bottle. The next day send guests a list of the wines sampled with the picture of the bottle.
SAVE HOW TO THROW A WINE TASTING PARTY TO YOUR PINTEREST BOARD!
Let’s be friends on Pinterest! I’m always sharing great recipes!
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Disposable Wine Glasses Wine Markers Blind Testing Wine Bags
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What were your prizes for the winning wine?
Under step 2 in the post I have links to 2 of the prizes I used. They were a huge hit! Of course, you could also do a nice bottle of wine!
I threw one of these in an effort to meet my new neighbors. It was SO easy to put together, everyone had a great time and I made some new friends! I asked everyone to bring one red and one white and we had roughly 2 glasses of wine left the next day, lol.
Yes if you want to dispose of wine quickly this is definitely the way to handle it! I’m so glad this party was a success for you. I like that it’s a little different than your standard get together and it seems like there is always a lot of fun had by all. (How could you not?!)
I absolutely love your writing style! You had me laughing out loud. Thanks for the tips. 🙂
Thank you so much for saying that! It’s always nice to hear you’ve reached someone personally. Hope your party is a success!