How to Host a Winter Wine Tasting

It may be cold outside, but you don’t have to give up enjoying a glass of wine or two. How else will you have enough corks for your next DIY project? Better yet, the winter season provides lots of inspiration you can incorporate into a wine tasting party. Here’s how to host an entertaining wine-themed celebration for your buddies:

Theme

First, think of a theme for the party. Because it’s winter, you can have a holiday party or you can stick with the season and host a winter wonderland bash. For the latter, make snowflakes out of paper to decorate your apartment. Place them on the table and serving dishes. You can also use holiday lights around your apartment. The white bulbs that extend downward like icicles can be hung to symbolize the season.

Varietals

During winter, offer guests robust wines that can handle heartier meals. You’ll especially want to consider this if you are serving an entire meal at your wine tasting. Popular winter comfort food includes beef stew, chili and pork roast. Keep this in mind while you’re planning for the wine tasting. For example, two great red and white wines for winter are cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc, respectively.

Setup

Have four to six different types of wine to offer guests. This way each person can sample every glass without overwhelming their palette. Act as the bartender and pour each wine for your guests. Set the bottle on the table so they can see the packaging and pick it up for themselves if they wish. Start with lighter varietals and finish with the more robust vintages. While your friends sample each wine, talk about the region in which it was made and what flavor notes were paired with the grapes.

Accompaniments

If you aren’t serving an entire meal, you’ll want to offer guests light snacks. Think of cocktail party food like cheese, hard meats, roasted peppers and crunchy bread. Spread everything out decoratively on a platter and add spicy mustard and other dipping sauces.

Seasonal Drinks

You can take the winter theme even further if you make some mulled wine. This popular cold-weather beverage is made with cloves, cinnamon, citrus and other additions, allowing you to enjoy a good drink and holiday flavors all at once. And if the drink wasn’t exciting enough, it’s served warm!

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