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wine tastingYour guide to a successful wine tasting event

Want to pull your friends together for a special event? Why not hold a wine tasting? In our neck of the country, we’ve got the best wines to offer along with the finest accompaniments ranging from fresh produce to creamy cheeses.

Tasting options

Many events are based on one of two types of tastings:

  • Same grape variety from different geographic regions—A good choice if your guests are mostly beginners. Wines for the tasting should be of about the same age for easier comparison.
  • Wines from a single category and a single vintage—A good choice for the more experienced taster who can discern the differences in flavor, complexity, and intensity. 

Setting up the room

To ensure your tasting goes smoothly, you’ll need to control some aspects of the experience:

  • Scents—A contributing factor to a successful tasting is the appreciation of the wine’s appeal to the nose. Keep other scents, such as potpourri, room deodorizers, and perfumes at a minimum.
  • Palate cleansing—Set out crackers or bread for guests to nibble on between glasses. You may even want to try fresh, lightly-salted mozzarella.
  • A place to spit—Mugs, plastic cups, and buckets can become receptacles to empty the mouth and glass after swirling the wine around. Swallowing need not be part of the experience and the less swallowed, the sharper your guests can remain.
  • Wine temperature—Ideally, white wines should be chilled to between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit and reds between 60 and 65 degrees.
  • Paper and pencil—Allow guests to jot down some notes after each sampling. 

The actual tasting

Share with your guests the following steps:

  • Look for brightness
  • Release the aroma by swirling the wine around in your glass
  • Sniff the aroma
  • Sip and swish the wine in your mouth, coating your palate
  • Describe the feeling—rich or thin, for instance
  • Savor with your tongue and with the back of your mouth 

Guide your guests to experience the following:

  • Aroma and flavor—Let your guests come up with their own adjectives that describe the scent and taste of the wines.
  • Texture and weight—Rough or smooth? Light or heavy?
  • Balance—Does any element outweigh the others? For example, does a woody scent overwhelm other sensations?
  • Aftertaste—A good wine lingers on the palate 

Get expert help

With assistance from Just Catering, you can make your pre-lunch or pre-dinner wine tasting the best ever. We generally recommend no more than eight tasters, in two groups of four. Your guests can choose their favorite wines to drink with their meals after the tasting.

A professional sommelier can provide your guests with scintillating descriptions of each wine. To the inexperienced taster, wines can taste pretty much the same. They may not yet know or appreciate the nuances. By the end of the event, with a little education, they may come to more fully understand the differences—and their own preferences. Contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

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