If you’re interested in hosting a wine tasting event and you are unsure about how to get started, this guide is here to help. This could be for a get together from the comfort of your own home or a black-tie event.

For those that want to turn this hobby into a passion, and start their own business. You may need to be insured to deliver food if you’re offering bottles or other forms of catering to customers in your town or city. The food and drink industry has seen tremendous growth over the past decade as many customers appreciate the convenience.

Where are you hosting?

The theme of your event should be in sync with your chosen venue. If you don’t have a specific theme in mind, any classy venue will do just fine. Some of the most popular wine tasting venues in London include the following:

  • Bordeaux
  • The Wine Room
  • Market Cellar
  • Twickenham Cellar

If you’re hosting the taste test at home, consider the following tips before getting started:

Do I need a professional sommelier?

A professional sommelier doesn’t need to be present at your wine tasting event. However, working alongside one can make it much easier when organising the event. In essence, a sommelier will be able to help you prepare a wine list and have deep knowledge about the creation process and the origin of each wine. They will also be able to suggest suitable wine pairings with your food menu. A professional sommelier will typically cost around £200 to hire, in addition to the cost of the wine.

Tasting the wine

If you’ve chosen not to use the services of a sommelier, and would prefer to carry out these tasks yourself, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to taste the wine. This will enable you to provide easy and straightforward instructions to those attending. The 5 S’s are a good starting point:

  • See if the wine is clear and has a deep colour.
  • Swirl the wine to release the aromas.
  • Smell the aromas to stimulate your palate.
  • Sip the wine.
  • Swallow the wine.

Do I need a wine tasting sheet?

Not necessarily, although they can enhance the experience in a remarkable way. A wine tasting sheet, sometimes referred to as a wine tasting scorecard is a piece of paper you would print out and give to those attending the event before it’s due to commence.

This will help the tasters keep track of what they think of each wine. Once the event has concluded, you can review these scorecards to understand why one choice was more popular than another.

How many tasters will be attending the event?

There isn’t a limit on how many guests you can invite, although this will be dependent on the venue capacity or space in your home. Remember to keep the number small to create an intimate atmosphere. Inviting no more than 8 to 12 guests is perhaps the right amount. If you’re trying to convey the story behind a particular drink, there won’t be any excessive noise causing disruption in the room.

How much wine do I need?

There is no actual limit, but you’ll need to remain cautious not to have too many litres available. Typically, a small glass of wine will contain 125ml. A tasting will mean that you will have to fill this glass half way. It’s recommended that you have 8 to 10 bottles of wine if you’ve got 12 guests attending. This should be more than enough.

The types of wine and grapes

Having a basic understanding of the different types of grapes used in white and red wine is fundamental. Here are the most common grapes.

White wine grapes:

  • Chardonnay
  • Gewürztraminer
  • Moscato
  • Pinot grigio
  • Riesling
  • Sauvignon blanc
  • Semillon

Red wine grapes:

  • Barbera
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Malbec
  • Merlot
  • Pinot noir
  • Sangiovese
  • Syrah (Shiraz)
  • Zinfandel

Did you know that there are more than 10,000 different wine grapes? Many winemakers will use several different types of grape to produce their unique blend of wine. After taking into account how many individual grapes and combinations are available, it won’t come as a surprise that there are a whole range of different wine glasses designed to accentuate the various aromas.

Wine tasting checklist

After taking the above information into consideration, you’ll understand why a professional sommelier requires a certificate to operate in this industry. Because you haven’t got the time to work towards this qualification, a simple wine tasting checklist will have to do. You can download a free checklist online.

Time for the taste test

You should now have a good overview on what is required to arrange and host a successful wine tasting event. If this is your first event, working with others can help make things go as planned, you should also note down what aspects can be improved for subsequent iterations in the near future.

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