Blind wine tastings are a fun and unique way to drink wine. It allows your wine connoisseur friends to put their passion and skills to the test and serves as an opportunity for your them to learn more about their favourite beverage. Tastings offer a great opportunity to explore Handpicked Wine’s tasting profiles and discover the regions they come from. Use the guide below to learn how to successfully plan a blind wine tasting event for your friends, family or other company.
Compose Your Guest List
Once you finalize the brilliant idea to host your first blind tasting event, set a date two to three weeks in advance and put together your guest list. Before compiling your list, determine the style in which you want to host the event: casual vs. formal tasting. Once you’ve decided on that, identify your audience and build your guest list accordingly. The number of people you invite should be based upon your tasting space. You don't want too many guesting crowding the wine table.
If you are planning for a larger group of people such as coworkers and colleagues, it may be a good idea to create an event online that allows guests to conveniently rsvp via their mobile device which will help you plan a well-arranged tasting.
Pick your category
Selecting a wine category is one of the most exciting portions of the tasting as it sets the tone for the entire event. Select six wines to sample during your tasting. Your wine category selection can be based on just about anything. You can select a category that is suitable for more summer, chill vibes or go for wine types that are centred around a specific region, varietal, food pairing, style or colour category. You can eliminate this part of the planning process by purchasing our “Get the Party Started Pack”. This pack contains everything you will need for your bling tasting: six wines, five kinds of cheese, three types of meat, crackers and condiments. This will save you trips to the store and make your party planning seamless.
If you decide to host a more casual event for family and friends, let them know which wine category you've selected and allow them to bring a wine (disguised, of course) that fits the said category. If you’re hosting a more formal tasting, provide wines that fit the category and make your guests aware of the wine group or go with the element of surprise and keep it a secret.
Pair the Food
We all know that cheese, fruit and chocolate pair well with wine, but why not take it a step further and pair the meal to go along with the wine category that you’ve selected for your tasting. Avoid a sit-down dinner and prepare heavy hors d'oeuvres or finger foods that perfectly pair with the wines that you have chosen. Some wines like rose allow for more creative pairings so use this as your guide. To completely alleviate the food portion of the event, invite your guests to bring a plate to share. Write a list of suggested dishes for each of the guests to bring that will go with your wine category. Take it a step further and embrace the summer spirit by bringing out the grill! Invite your guests to bring something to throw on their barbie.
Prepare the Table
This is where the planning gets very easy. You will need to have a disguised bag for each of the wines you’ve selected so that your guests can’t see the labels. You can use brown paper bags or have an eclectic mix of bags that fit your style. Label each one with a number. If you chose to go with six wines as recommended above, label your bags one through six. Once your bags are marked, place your sweeter wines in your lower numbered bags and your dryer wines in your higher numbered bags. As a general sampling rule, sample wines sweet to dry or white to red allowing for a proper tasting. *Pro tip: chill white wines in advance.
Next, create a spot for each of your tasters and place six wine glasses in each space. Guests will need a wine glass for each wine. Place a notepad and pen next to each of your guests' wine tasting stations so that they can take tasting notes.
Leave Time for Conversation
As the host, it is critical that you make time for conversation before, during and at the end of your blind tasting event. Your introduction may take some time as you explain the format of the tasting. As you and your guests sample the wine, you will need time to go through tasting notes and questions.Lastly, you will need time for the reveals and choosing the winning wine.
Remember, this is not only a learning experience but an exciting journey! Expand your wine tasting skills and get more confident engaging in wine talk. We guarantee this won't be your last blind tasting event as your desire to become a blind tasting pro will grow over time. Check out our monthly top picks to enlighten your palate and inspire your next wine function.