It can be really fun to host a blind wine tasting party. Over the years, I’ve hosted many blind wine tastings, and thought I’d pass on some tips for a successful party.
Once you’ve set the date, I’d suggest finding someone who can give you a hand the day of the party. I’ve been so grateful to have a friend who was on hand to take bottles as they were arriving, quickly concealing the bottles, and adding each wine to the blind tasting list.
Before the party
I found it helps to determine a specific varietal, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon and bottle price. Your guests will then be comparing similar wines, and flavour profiles. I’ll sometimes provide a range of a price point – for example between $20-$30. You make it more or less expensive according to the wines you are tasting, and what varietal you’ll showcase.
Make sure you have enough glassware. Consider using wine charms or a wine marker so that everyone can keep track of their wine glass.
Determine how you will hide the wine label and track the bottles. I’ve used these wine dresses pictured above, and put numbered labels or hang tags around the neck of each bottle. You can also wrap bottles in foil or use paper bags and tie the neck with a string.
Create a way for guests to track notes on the wine.
Here’s a sample of what I’ve used for a rating system and I tailored this tasting sheet to how many bottles of wine I think we will be tasting.
If you are tasting a lot of wines you may want to provide spittoons or cups in case your guests want to taste a little and spit the remaining wine.
Plan your menu, and think of providing some substantial appetizers or finger foods.
Day of party
Get ice buckets or containers ready for chilling wine if you are tasting whites or rosés. The fastest way to chill wines is to fill the container with water along with some ice.
Buff your wine glasses.
Have a couple of corkscrews ready.
Print off your tasting sheets and have a sheet of paper to write down each wine and the number allocated to that wine.
When guests arrive, quickly conceal the wine labels so other guests do not see. This is where your helper is invaluable!
At some point in the evening, you can ask your guests to give you their tasting sheets. Tally up the scores, and reveal the winners.
This really can be a fun party and everyone learns about some new wines to try.