How to Host a Dark Wine Tasting Party

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Do you appetite to host a dark wine tasting affair for you and your friends? It’s a absolutely fun affair abstraction and affair that anybody will adore and apprentice from. Alike if you don’t apperceive that abundant about wine, and aren’t able to accurately acquaint a Merlot from a Cabernet Sauvignon aloof from the aroma, you can still host a fun and acknowledged dark wine tasting party.

I’m not activity to say it’s accessible to accurately analyze wine while tasting it blind. That’s why there are actual few adept sommeliers in the world. And I’m absolutely not one of them, but I do adulation aggravating my duke at it. It takes a lot of convenance to get good, and that’s why we adulation hosting a dark wine tasting affair for our accompany every year.

wine bottles covered with blind tasting bags

If you adulation wine and appetite to try article fun and amusing, don’t delay for the befalling to appear – host it yourself! At this dark wine tasting party, you and your guests will dark aftertaste 6 wines and try to accurately analyze them. At the end of the night, a champ is announced.

» You ability additionally be absorbed in how to Host your Own Supper Club and Best Wine Refrigerators for Wine Accumulator at Home.

Why Host a Dark Wine Tasting Party

Nearly 10 years ago I started hosting a dark wine tasting affair every year. My wine tasting abilities still bare a lot of cutting at the point, and I don’t anticipate I could accept articular a Zinfandel from a Merlot, but I abiding capital to try.

I didn’t allure anyone who was a adept beaker or alike that big of a wine drinker. It was aloof a agglomeration of my friends, abounding of whom were weekend wine sipper, and a few who’d never absolutely drank abundant wine. The affairs of any of us accurately anecdotic the wines that I chose for the tasting was appealing slim.

It actuality my aboriginal party, I wasn’t abiding how difficult to accomplish it, and absolutely I anticipation we’d be bigger at it than we were, but admitting the difficulty, it was one of the best parties I’ve anytime hosted. None of us were acceptable at it, but we all put in our best effort, fabricated our best guesses and laughed at ourselves back we heard the results.

I’ve back captivated an anniversary dark wine tasting and it’s become somewhat of a fable amid my friends. It’s absolutely one of the best affair account and anybody arrive can adore it, alike if they don’t consistently alcohol wine. It’s aloof as abundant fun to assumption and get it wrong, as it is to win!

In case you’re cerebration it’s activity to be difficult to put calm a dark tasting party, or that you charge be a wine astrologer in adjustment to accept the wines, let me aloof annihilate at angle appropriate now. It’s absolutely absolutely accessible and it’s fun for alike the best benighted of wine drinkers.

How to Plan a Wine Tasting Party

Set a Date and Allure Your Guests

Obviously the aboriginal footfall to acclimation a affair is ambience a date and agreeable guests. You can accomplish it as academic or accidental as you like.

  1. Choose the bedfellow list – Accomplish abiding you don’t allure too abounding people. Guests charge time to sip and brainstorm on anniversary wine. If there are too abounding bodies bottleneck the wine table, it’ll be difficult for guests to focus. We about plan for 20-25 participants. One canteen of anniversary wine covers that abounding guests. If you appetite to allure a beyond cardinal of people, accomplish abiding to buy two or added bottles of anniversary wine.
  2. Set a Date – Allotment back to authority a dark wine affair can depend on a cardinal of factors. If it’s winter, abreast from weather-related problems, guests ability not be aflame to sip on algid white wines. If it’s summer and you’re captivation the affair outside, it ability be too hot for guests to adore bubbler bolder red wines. I’ve consistently captivated my affair in April or May, back it offers aloof acclimate and people’s schedules tend to be lighter.
  3. Send Invitations – I allure guests via Facebook and chat of mouth, to accumulate it accidental and easy. However, you can accelerate academic invitations if you want. Aloof accomplish abiding you accord guests at atomic 3 weeks notice, so they can block it on their calender.

Choose and Adapt the Wines

Choosing the wines that you will dark aftertaste at your affair is fun and exciting, but can additionally be cutting abnormally if you’re not a wine able yourself. If you charge help, I acclaim activity to your bounded wine abundance and allurement the sales being to advice with the selections.

The ideal cardinal of wines to aftertaste is six: three whites and three reds. You should accept alone distinct anthologized wines, not blends. For instance, you ability accept a Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Sangiovese for the reds and a Sauvignon Blanc, Voignier, and Chardonnay for whites.

The bottles you accept should be based on the akin of ability of your guests. You can accomplish it harder if the guests are wine aficionados, contrarily accumulate it easy.

This is area advice from your bounded wine purveyor comes in accessible if you don’t apperceive a lot about wine varietals yourself.

red and white wine bottles
Choose three reds and three whites in analogously shaped bottles

There are a few added considerations you should accomplish back acrimonious bottles. These are important in adjustment to accumulate the academic bold fair and to not accord abroad any clues.

1. Aces archetypal varietals

  • Choose archetypal varietals that anybody will know, like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec or Syrah.
  • Pinot Noir is generally accessible to analyze due to its lighter anatomy and color. Abacus this with two added concentrated wines can be a asleep giveaway.
  • Pick bottles that are analogously shaped and colored, unless you plan to use a decanter.
  • Pick bottles that are all spiral cap or all corks. Why? It ability be a betrayal as to which wine is which. For instance, Cabernet Sauvignon is rarely bottled with a spiral cap. Shiraz will about consistently accept a spiral cap.
  • If you appetite to participate in the dark tasting yourself, you don’t appetite to “cheat” by accepting 3 antithetical bottles that you can calmly identify.

3. Accede your amount point

You can absorb as little as $10 a canteen and get some acceptable options. There’s no charge to absorb added than $20 a bottle. About a $10 vs $30 canteen of Merlot will not be noticed by your guests. It’s added important to get a canteen that’s accurate to its anthologized than to absorb a lot on it.

wrapped and labeled bottles
Wrap the bottles in tinfoil and characterization them with numbers

4. Blanket the bottles

Each canteen needs to be captivated so you can’t see the label. If you buy agnate shaped and black bottles, you can blanket them with tin foil, as I did above, and band or address on the canteen number. This is a abundant way to acquiesce yourself to participate after alive which canteen is which.

We’ve additionally appear up with a bargain adjustment that allows the white bottles to be placed in the ice after ruining the bag. Use tinfoil to awning the capital allotment of the bottle. Already I’ve created a label template that you can use on the bottles. Aloof download and print.

If you don’t appetite to accomplish the covers yourself, there are blind wine-tasting bags you can acquirement from Amazon that accept aggregate you’ll charge to blanket the bottles.

These burlap accoutrements can be placed in a brazier of ice with no problem, so the whites break algid during the tasting.

Remember to abolish the antithesis from the canteen close too, abnormally if you’re absent to comedy yourself. If you leave the foils on, you ability calmly bethink which canteen it is. There should be no anecdotic appearance on the bottle.

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How to Serve the Wine

A actual important aspect of a acknowledged wine affair is how you serve the wine. You charge a wine bottle in adjustment to appropriately smell, agitate and aftertaste wine. You can’t aces up on the nuances of the adenoids with a artificial cup, and you can’t agitate to see the blush or the bendability of the wine in plastic. It absolutely has to be glass. 

If you don’t accept abundant wine glasses for everyone, you’ll charge to get your easily on more. Borrow from your friends, arch to the Amicableness or acquirement a large backpack of wine glasses on Amazon. You can mix and bout shapes and sizes, so don’t anguish about them all actuality the same, unless you’re activity for an absolutely flush experience.

Another affair to accede is whether the wine needs to be algid or decanted. If you accept all big, adventurous wines, you ability accede appointment them anniversary to a wine canteen (here’s one we like, if you don’t accept one) and confined them that way.

wine decanter

Most adventurous red wines account from breath in a canteen for an hour or so afore actuality served. You can additionally accept to serve reds with a wine aerator which will advice them accessible up.

For the white wines, you’ll charge a wine bucket and ice to accumulate the bottles chilled. Consistently accumulate added ice accessible to alter it back it accordingly melts.

Set up the wines on a table that is abroad from area bodies will besiege (not in the kitchen or abreast the aliment table). There needs to be abundant allowance about the table to set the wines, the tasting glasses, and the access forms. And additionally for guests to be able to comminute about talking and tasting the wines.

You may accept to affectation all of the wines calm on one table, or advance them out about the room. We tend to put the whites in one area in the ice bucket, again advance the red wine bottles throughout the room. This encourages assortment and keeps there from actuality a army about the wine table.

Lastly, accomplish abiding you accept a way for your guests to acquaint their wine glasses apart. Guests are consistently ambience bottomward the bottle and accident it.

Preparing for the Party

Now that the wines are chosen, you can get bottomward to the capacity of advancing for the party. You’ll charge to adjudge if you’ll serve aliment or ask guests to accompany aliment to share. I consistently use our affair as a adventitious to try out new affair aliment recipes that I’ve been accession all year. I advance befitting it as chic as possible, to bout the mood.

We serve feel foods, a alternative of cheeses and fruits, a charcuterie bowl and some ablaze desserts. Actuality are some abundant appetizers that can be served alongside the wine.

party food on platters
Blind wine tasting affair food

I additionally like to put a characterization abutting to anniversary of the aliment items so I don’t accept to absorb time again answering questions about the food. Actuality is a template you can download and use to accomplish aliment labels (it’s a Microsoft Chat document). Aloof blazon in the name of the dish, print, cut and fold.

During the party, guests can mix and mingle, eat the food, and allege to the added guests. Back they’re ready, they can access the wine table and try the wines at their own pace.

Blind Tasting the Wines

blind tasting the wines

The tasting and anecdotic of the wines is the centerpiece of the evening.

We ask anniversary bedfellow to accompany a canteen of wine they adulation to allotment with the accumulation and we use those wines as “sip and mingle” wines. They are abstracted from the dark tasting wines. Guests can sip on these wines back they access and ask they mingle, rather than bubbler the dark wines.

We’ve begin that the best way to go about this is to accept your guests grab a bottle of approved wine to alpha and admix about until they’re accessible to alpha blinding tasting the absolute wines.

To access their answers, anniversary bedfellow will charge a tasting sheet. Feel chargeless to download and use the tasting area template I fabricated (it’s a Microsoft Chat document, so you can alter the Anthologized Name with the ones you’ve chosen). The area gives the anthologized of all of the wines additional amplitude for notes. Abutting to anniversary anthologized is a box area you will mark with # canteen you anticipate it is.

Wine tasting sheet
Wine tasting sheet

We aggregate the completed bedding in a basin and already anybody has finished, we abreast booty the tinfoil covers off the wine bottles and account the scores. We afresh acknowledge the top three winners and can afresh accept a award-winning from three wine-related items we purchased for the party. And lastly, we acknowledge the bottles so anybody can analysis out the labels, try them afresh and accept active discussions on why they absent some and got others.


In the end, the accomplishment put into acclimation a dark wine tasting affair is added than account it, back you see your guests accepting such a abundant time. For months afterwards anniversary of our dark wine tasting parties, we accept bags of adulation on how fun it was and queries about back the abutting one will be. Conceivably we’ll accept to accomplish it a twice-yearly affair now!

If you accept to put on your own dark wine tasting party, you and your accompany will absolutely adulation it. Acceptable luck! Already you’ve captivated your party, acquaint us about it in the comments, or if you accept added tips and techniques for putting on an alarming dark wine tasting party, allotment it below!

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hosting a blind wine tasting party

12 thoughts on “How to Host a Dark Wine Tasting Party

  1. Cellars Wine Club says:

    Wine tasting is exciting! Hosting a affair like this will be fun. Your accompany will be shock on the wines that they could taste. According to their taste, it can be absolutely difficult back its wrapped. Also, try to mix some of it so that it will be actual difficult for them to apperceive on what wine is it.

  2. Patty Smith says:

    I adulation the way you anticipation to characterization the bottles! I consistently wondered how I would accumulate the wines beeline back hosting a affair like this. Actual able way of accomplishing it, and easier than demography the labels off or taping over them. It reminds me of the adventure of Frasier area Niles and Frasier had a wine aftertaste of. The final one was a alloy and they were 1% off from eachother. Absolutely trips bodies up!

  3. Jpost says:

    Wow…its a acceptable abstraction of hosting a wine tasting party. I had never host such a affectionate of affair but now I am cerebration appear it and absolutely it will be abounding of fun with friends.

    Wine tasting affair can abide of red wine, white wine, sparkling wine, or a aggregate of all three. One can serve unsalted aliment or absurd with baptize in adjustment for your guests to absolve the aftertaste of the wine afore tasting another.

    While captivation the axis of the bottle and befitting the abject on the table, acclaim agitate the wine in the glass. Accomplishing this allows the wine to mix with the surrounding air, which releases it balm into the air. While you drag deeply, booty in the aroma of the wine.

  4. Rod Scott says:

    Have you anytime anticipation of acceptable a Wine Guide? Its a lot of fun and you advise others how to aftertaste wine, area they are from, altered varietals from about the apple and you get paid for it. Its awesome! Or host one and we will accompany 5 bottles from about the world.

  5. Denisio says:

    So, aloof out of curiosity, I’m a wine client and accept conducted hundreds of wine tastings in venues I’ve been the client for. Accompany of abundance and I are absorbing the anticipation of supper clubs and accumulation wine pairings and alike dark tastings into the experience. Accountant in New Mexico, the accompaniment insists on permits alike for accidental parties . Had you dealt with any acknowledged or accountability issues back administering your events?? Do you charge?? Is this artlessly a acquisition of accompany and a affable soiree??

    Just curious..

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Hi Denisio – this column is meant to advice bodies bandy a wine affair at home with their friends. There are, of course, a lot of added issues to anticipate about if you’re activity to do it as a business. I do accept a acquaintance who has an calm supper club, but to abstain all of the added red tape, he doesn’t serve alcohol, but allows guests to accompany their own.

  6. Pingback: 12 Fun & Advantageous Wine Ability For Your Wine-Loving Friends

  7. Verg says:

    I this begin over Cellar.Asia and I’d say anybody charge accede this tip:
    “make abiding your accumulation arrives with a apple-pie palate”
    That agency they should not go agrarian with coffee, cigarettes, able aliment or drinks afore the tasting

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