Ditch the expensive winery and invite your friends to a BLIND Wine Tasting Party at Home instead! It is an easy, budget-friendly way to sample a limitless amount of wine while laughing with friends in the comfort of your own home.
Below I will share my tips for throwing the best blind wine tasting as well as some tasty appetizers to pair with all that wine! The best part is, no sommelier is needed.
Now let's get pouring!!
Here at AGT, I love a good theme party. And this blind wine tasting, is one of the easiest "themes parties" you can throw! Have everyone bring a bottle of wine, choice of cheese and box of crackers for all to enjoy while blind wine tasting!
How To Hosting A Blind Wine Tasting At Home
A blind wine tasting can make for a fun get-together with friends and/or family. It would be great for a Galentines Day party or a couples night out!
Blind wine tastings can be done in any sized home. All you need is a larger table and some other materials which I listed below.
The entire tasting took about 30 minutes but may take longer depending upon how many people are tasting. Below I offer some tips based on my experience so I urge you to read on! 🙂
Stock Up On The Right Supplies!
Make sure to have the following on hand to make sure your guests are wine tasting properly! These items are not a must but will make the experience 100x better!
- A spittoon/dump bucket- this is to ensure your guests have someone to dispose of the wine they may not like. This could be an ice bucket or an actual spittoon! This makes it less "nasty" since the contents are nicely concealed.
- Brown paper or wine bags- this is to conceal the wine and is a must for a blind wine tasting. Place each bottle inside a bag and keep it on so no one will have a preconceived notion of the wine before they taste it.
- Wine charms- If using stemmed wine glasses, have everyone add a charm so no one confuses which wine glass is theirs! It's a super cheap way to keep things organized and you're guests will be so appreciative later on.
- Number Stamps- You can stamp each bag so everyone can clearly see which wine they're tasting or simply add a little tag to the neck of the bottle.
- Number tags- These are adorable and pair well with the wine bags I linked to above! It allows your guests to write down the number wine bottle they liked most.
- Corkscrew- Get a few corkscrews or even better get yourself an electric wine opener to make things MUCH easier and quicker.
- Wine pourers- These help to aerate the wine better.
- Water pitcher- have a pitcher of water nearby and keep it filled throughout the party!
- Mini Pencils- Sure you can use any pencils but these are adorable!
- Blind Wine Tasting Cards- I used index cards but if you want to be extra fancy, grab a pack of these cards!
- Wine Glasses- You can use any wine glasses you have at home however for a blind tasting, it's best to have all the wines poured to compare which means you'll need a lot of glasses. These are plastic and small.
- Aerator Pourer Spout- This is a great addition to any wine tasting because it aerates the wine as it pours AND prevents drips which we had a ton of.
Now that you are stocked up on materials. Let's make sure we get the rest of this blind tasting right! Here are some other tips I suggest you follow.
Keep The Guest List SMALL
- Make sure to keep your wine tasting party SMALL. You don't want everyone's conversation taking away from why you are all there. This type of gathering is more of an intimite get-together than a 'get-drunk banger'. You want everyone to focus on the WINE. I would keep it to less than 12 guests MAX.
- This may seem obvious but make sure to invite guests who actually enjoy drinking wine. They do not have to be a wine connoisseur either!
- Keep kids home for this one. Kindly ask your friends to find a sitter so everyone can enjoy the wine without needing to worry about spilling or screaming kids.
Stamp or Label Your Bags
Use an ink pad with the number (I linked to above) and stamp the numbers onto your wine bags (however many wines your tasting).
You can use a wine tag instead but it won't be easily noticeable so whatever you do make sure everyone can see which wine is which number!
Purchase Enough Wine Glasses
Okay let's talk glasses. I am a bit of a wine glass snob but before you click back on your browser, hear me out.
What makes drinking wine more enjoyable? A plastic no stemmed cup or a large goblet with a long skinny stem? I'm betting it's the goblet.
So if your budget allows, look for enough wine glasses for everyone. Don't serve the wine in plastic cups. It's tacky. If you're going out of your way to throw a fabulous wine tasting party, make it worthwhile!
Set Things Up!
About an hour before guests arrive, set up the wine bottels by placing them inside their bags, note cards, pencils, wine glasses and whatever else you have for an awesome wine tasting!
Choose A Good Selection of Wine
This is the most important part of your party so plan to do a little research. (Which I assume you are which is why you're reading this!) 🙂
I would stick to tasting 4-6 wines. Too many will become too confusing.
I know most people like a variety of wines from white to red to sweet to dry. So when choosing which wines to taste, you have TWO options.
Go to your local wine store and ask for help!
Find someone knowledeable to help you choose 6-10 different bottles of wine. Ask them to include everything from a sweet rose to a dry merlot and everything in between.
Ask them to also include wines from different regions of the country AND world. California, France, Spain, Australia and Italy produce some of the best wines around so make sure to include one from each country. Ask them to throw in wines that are all different prices too!
Ask your friends to BYOW!
What's BYOW you ask? Bring Your Own Wine! 🙂 Ask your friends to each bring one or two of either their favorite wine OR wines they want to try! This is a great way to make sure everyone has something they like while not needing to worry about the cost!
Popular Wines To Try
- Pinot Grigio
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Pinot Noir
Popular Inexpensive Wine Brands To Try
- Beringer- What I like to use in my white wine spritzer!
- Chateau Ste. Michelle
- Kendall Jackson
- Foxglove Central Coast
- Rancho Zabaco
- Robert Mondavi
- Rodney Strong
- Concha y Toro
- Santa Rita
- Louis Jadot
Educate Your Guests Prior
No you don't have to be a wine sommelier to enjoy a proper wine tasting! But tannins?? What the heck are tannins?!
It will be more fun if your guests will be able to learn what to look for while tasting their wine.
So do some research prior and jot down some notes about how to taste wine and properly develop your palate. Then share them with everyone prior to the tasting.
Talk about how to swirl, sniff and taste the wine.
Also mention how wine can have notes of spices, figs, blackberries, cherries, cranberries, figs, plums, raisins, raspberries, apricots, bananas, citrus, kiwis or pineapples. They can also be more floral.
Some wines can be more acidic, bitter or sweet than others.
If you know what wines your tasting, research that wine in advance and write down what flavors and notes that wine offers.
Make sure to include some wines from different geographical locations and regions so you can talk about how they play a role in the taste of wine.
Try tasting a singular type of wine from different regions and compare the differences
How To Start Your Blind Wine Tasting
- Once you're ready to start the wine tasting, YOU be the one to pour the wines. Plan on pouring 2-3 oz. per tasting. If you have more wine to go through, maybe pour a bit less.
- Allow about 5 minutes between each tasting to give everyone enough time to taste, take notes and discuss it. Move onto the next wine until all have been tasted.
- When everyone is finished, discuss everyones notes and favorites before finally revealing the wines!
- Decide if the more expensive wines are really worth their price tag or if it's better to go with an less expensive bottle.
- Then allow everyone to have more of whichever wine they liked best!
Take The Lead!
You are the host of the party so make sure to take the lead.
Have everything set up before your guests arrive so they know what to expect.
- Set out glasses with wine charms, spittoon bucket, ice buckets, water, wine openers, paper/pencils, wine labels, wine bags, snacks.
- Have the music playing softly in the background.
- Set out some food that pairs well with wine. Keep it warm in a chafing dish to make things easy.
- Be ready to open the bottles right away to allow them to aerate a bit before.
- Share some things you learned about wine tasting including what to look out for and how to properly taste wine including the sniff and swirl (or is it swirl and sniff?)
- Ask your guests to share what they know about tasting and the wines they brought (if you did a BYO).
- If you supplied the wines, add notes about each wine below it. This will allow your guests to know what notes or flavors to look out for.
Consider Setting Out Palate Cleansers
Palate cleansers are a neutral flavored food served between meals, or in this case, tastings, that will allow your guests to taste each wine better.
Some palate cleansers to serve between wine tasting are:
- Crackers or bread
- Fresh herbs
A cheeseboard is the perfect thing since it often has everything list above.
Appetizers That Pair Well With Wine:
Final Blind Wine Tasting Tips
Remember that when hosting a blind wine tasting at home, it can be both educational AND fun! There are no rules to wine tasting so don't stress if someone comes late to the tasting, someone does not taste wine correctly or if the tasting goes longer than you planned.
The idea is to have fun and allow everyone the opportunity to find a new wine they may not have found on their own.
If you love podcasts, you have to check out the Wine For Normal People podcast. Their tagline is, "For people who like wine but not the snobbery that goes with it". Listen to an episode or ask your friends to each listen to a different episode on their way over and share a few things they learned!