Elevating Your Holiday Wine Game

December 13, 2019

by: Terry Langston, Wealth Advisor

Hosting family & friends for the holidays usually means a trip to the wine aisle. This year, rather than simply offering a red, a white, & possibly a rosé, why not consider turning your wine offering into a mini tasting? Wine tastings with themes are not only entertaining, but they help elevate your guests’ knowledge of wine, creating a richer experience. Here are some tips to create a fantastic and festive wine tasting for your holiday party.

  • Choose a tasting theme that is both fun and apropos to your guest list.
  • Unless you and your guests spend your days comparing cellar inventories, set a reasonable price level. Remember that higher priced wines do not guarantee a great tasting.
  • Get your wine purveyor involved & look for wines with a fun background or story. A tasting allows you to really take some chances, so be adventurous and include unusual varietals from different countries.
  • Ask your purveyor for a wine technical sheet for each label. This is usually a single page produced by or on behalf of the winemaker that gives details & provenance for each wine. Take the key details from these tech sheets and do a little online research to create fun & educational tasting notes to include beside each bottle.

Wondering how much to purchase? The thrill for most guests is to be offered a “taste” (1 oz or less) of several different wines in order to discover something new about their own tastes and maybe just find a new favorite.  After a tasting of each of the selections, your guests will then be able to enjoy a glass or two of their favorites (5.5 oz). The tasting math per guest: 7 x 1oz (tastes) + 2 x 5.5oz (glasses). My rule of thumb is to purchase 1 bottle (25.4 oz) of each of the 7 labels for every 12 guests I’ve invited. This provides one extra bottle per 12 guests (just to be on the safe side).

At a recent Covenant event, I hosted a tasting and rather than offering one red, white, & rosé, I turned the red selection into a mini tasting (all bottles were under $20).

-Marchesi Futurosa Rose Italy/Provence – Rose’ – Guest Favorite

-Annabella Chardonnay Napa – White

Red Tasting – Theme “Diverse Global Reds under $20”:

-The Game Reserve Shiraz South Africa

-Bending Branch Comfort Texas Red NV – Guest Favorite

-Chasing Lions Cabernet Sauvignon Napa – Guest Favorite

-Haute de Lagarde Bordeaux AOC

-Oblivion Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles – Guest Favorite

-Painted Wolf Pinotage Western Cape SAfrica

-CataRegia Gran Reserva Catalonia Spain – Guest Favorite

Prior to your guest’s arrival, open the first bottle of each label and enjoy your own tasting. Pick your own favorites because “what was your favorite wine” will be a party icebreaker. If you will not be pouring the tasting yourself (i.e. larger parties), it’s advisable to have someone designated to pour & guide guests through the tasting experience.

Cheers & Happy Holidays.