After visiting dozens of vineyards, AND actually HOSTING my own wine tasting. I want to share my knowledge with you.
Believe or not, I hosted two tastings as an adult fellowship program at our home church back in Georgia.
The wine events were very popular. For such a small congregation, I think we had almost all the adults show up.
Preparing for the event was fun! Most importantly, I also had to consider what wine to taste.
Was the tasting going to have a theme?
Red or white?
What food to serve?
The tips below include exactly what I said during the event I hosted.
I featured Banrock Station of Austrailia.
Why did I pick Banrock Station?
- experience with the wine and I thoroughly researched the product.
- I really like their product.
- I picked something readily available and inexpensive, so attendees could purchase it for themselves
Five tips for hosting a wine tasting
1. Decide a theme for your tasting.
In my opinion the easiest theme is picking a particular vineyard you want to profile, and feature varietals they produce.
So I chose, Banrock Station. They produce a wide range of varietals, but we limited our tasting to (3) whites and (3) reds for an even balance.
Because whites are typically lighter on the palette, sample whites first and finish with the reds.
2. Educate your attendees without insulting their skill level.
Don’t interrogate your attendees about their wine knowledge. Most people do not want to divulge this information for fear of sounding “uncultured” or “snobbish,” so it is best to avoid it all together.
Start by introducing yourself and your experience with wine.
“I’ve been attending wine tastings for over 10 years and I found Banrock Station to be my favorite white shiraz ever.”
Then educate your tasters by telling them about the region where the wine is grown.
“Austraila, like the U.S., follows the tradition of categorizing their finer wines by grape variety. The top five grape varieties grown in Austrailia are Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Semillon.”
You can talk about the grapes further, or do it later as you taste each sample.
***Remember – RESEARCH, you don’t need to know everything, but you need to be confident in your selection.
3. Provide the necessities
There are few things you must supply, in order to provide a good tasting event.
Clean, proper stemware. Realize wine does taste differently from the type of glass it is drank.
Provide water for each taster.
Provide food at the event. Whether it be heavy horderves or a concluding meal. And make it conducive for wine.
Set up and label dump buckets for participants to dispose unwanted wine.
Helpful Hint: Think of wine as a food, instead of a beverage. The sense of smell and taste are as interrelated with wine as they are with food.
4. Provide tasting notes and worksheet
Each taster at my event received a list of descriptive words which could be applied to their tasting experience and a chart describing each wine we sampled, as well as an area for them to make their own notes.
At almost every tasting or vineyard I have visited, a worksheets describing their wines was provided.
5. Put on your patience hat
A good wine host will patiently walk attendees through each wine.
Have an assistant or two, go around and pour a small sample of each wine, in each person’s glass, as you introduce each wine.
“First, we will sample Banrock Station’s Chardonnay. This is a sassy wine with tropical fruit flavors and a crisp finish.”
Hold the corresponding bottle up as you speak about the wine.
Encourage participates to use ALL their senses before actually tasting the wine.
“Is the textue light or heavy?” “Does it taste like a fruit?”
“Is it sweet, dry, spicy or plain?” “Is it bitter?”
Some wines include effervescence, therefore, they will have a sound.
Take your time – DO NOT rush through the tasting. Tasting six wines, at my first event, took about 60-70 minutes.
My first wine hosting event was so popular and successful, I was asked to do another one.
Remember, the goal is to provide an enjoyable, uplifting event – not to get trashed on wine. Happy sipping!