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Cheers! How to Start a Wine Tasting Group

SS Member Image By   ajr1005
06.27.09
Cheers! How to Start a Wine Tasting Group

There’s no better passion to indulge than wine. The beauty of starting or continuing the wine journey is that the more you learn, the more you realize that you don’t know, so it’s an awesome hobby hard to quench. Best of all, learning about wine can be done in the comfort of your own home and in the company of good friends. Up to 15 guests can enjoy a “taste” of each bottle of wine- and 4-6 wines make a true tasting.

If you’re really interested in learning a lot, you can even sign up for the Jetsetters Wine Club by Bottlenotes, where we’ll send you to a different region in the world. Your wine tasting “kit in a box” will arrive with tasting notes, pairing suggestions, and as of July 2009, even an educational wine video featuring me and my business partner, Kim Donaldson tasting the wines along side you! http://www.bottlenotes.com/wine-club/jetsetters

Whether you sign up for a Bottlenotes wine club or simply leverage the advice of your favorite wine steward at your local retail shop, my top ten recommendations for organizing a monthly wine tasting group are as follows:

1) Set the date and location one month in advance; book people for 90 minutes so they think they can squeeze it into their schedule; they’ll end up staying 2-3 hours. Guaranteed.


2) Invite your 20 favorite wine tasting companions, expecting to get 10 to each tasting.

"One of the many silver linings of this macro-economic climate is that it's inspiring many of us to spend more time at home. "
3) Delegate the wine selection (whether outsourced to Bottlenotes.com, your favorite buyer at your local wine shop, your best friend’s wife who’s training for her Master Sommelier exam, etc.) to one group member. 6-7 wines seems to be the max number a small group can enjoy when tasting casually over 2 hours.

4) Delegate the relevant cheese/appetizer acquisition to another attendee.

5) Decide if you would like a cultural component for the evening and if so, delegate yet another “cultural curator” for the evening. Again, this is truly optional in my mind; the wine alone can provide ample topic for discussion.

6) Ask the host to be prepared with at least 2 wine glasses per person (for side by side comparison purposes), glasses of water, and spittoons (1 per 3 attendees) for the tasting.

7) Pick your favorite album to play in the background so the music is consistent throughout the evening.

8) Start with a half-glass of sparkling wine or the first white as a palate-awakener as everyone arrives.

9) Ask people to rate the wines as they taste them, so you can have an active conversation about the merits of each wine.

10) If you’re inclined to track all that you taste, fax the completed tasting notes to Bottlenotes.com so we can upload the attendees’ ratings to their own online wine cellar - or you can upload your tasting notes and ratings directly to Bottlenotes.com (and soon by Bottlenotes Mobile!).

Most of all, we’re happy to help organize your tasting anytime; simply email sommelier@bottlenotes.com for personalized tasting tips.

Lastly, if a whole wine tasting series seems a little intimidating, I recommend picking a regional theme, give a preliminary tasting a go as a trial, and you can always lock in for a multi-event series if it’s a success.

By and large, our recommendation is to plan on a half-bottle, of 2.5 glasses, per person per tasting. There are roughly 20 one-ounce pours, or 10 2-ounce pours, per bottle.
 

 


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  • didama By didama
    06.27.09  

    Great ideas! My girlfriends and I would love to do this! I can't wait to get one organized.

  • cupcake330 By cupcake330
    06.27.09  

    we already do this but we call them pool parties. some are involved with the platters and others bring different wines for us too try.

  • agaphmou By agaphmou
    06.28.09  

    It's also great to have a wine and cheese party.The combination is fabulous!

  • kp100451 By kp100451
    06.28.09  

    Sounds great to me. My friends and I get together to drink wine so this idea sounds fabulous.

  • merritt1976 By merritt1976
    06.30.09  

    we live near a lot of wineries, so our little neighborhood schedules wine tastings fairly often. We also love to taste cheese too so that those that don't drink aren't left out!

  • AZMOMOF2 By AZMOMOF2
    07.01.09  

    Love it!!! My friends and I love to try new wines and this is just a good start to a monthly tradition. Thanks!!!

  • margs88 By margs88
    07.01.09  

    Thanks for the tips! It's good to know the amount of wine/person ratio!

  • PollyGraham By PollyGraham
    07.05.09  

    I can't wait to have a wine tasting party. You can send free invitations online and track RSVP's through evites.com. You can even let guests sign up there to bring something!

  • vanadmiral By vanadmiral
    07.05.09  

    Vanadmiral says: This sounds like "my cup of tea". My girl-friends would love this. Can't wait to introduce my friends to some of my favorite German wines.

  • Jozinnert By Jozinnert
    07.05.09  

    Would love to have a wine tasting party. My girlfriends are always looking for an exscuse to get together and chill. I visit wineries any where I can and love to bring a new bottle home from each.

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