How to host a wine tasting for a bridal shower

Bridal Shower Wine TastingMany people think they have to be a wine expert in order to enjoy it. Some are intimidated at wine tastings by the presence of knowledgeable wine aficionados. Others love wine, but think that it will be too expensive to host a wine tasting.

Hosting a wine tasting during a bridal shower can be a great — and inexpensive — way to acquaint yourself and your friends with new wines (as well as each other). You do not have to be a wine expert to make your party a great success. Furthermore, a wine tasting  can be a great way to introduce beginners to tasting wine and will allow more experienced tasters to share their knowledge.

How much wine do I need?

How much wine you need will depend on the size of your bridal shower.

Try this equation to plan how much wine you need based on the number of guests attending your party:

Number of guests x 1.5 = Total number of bottles needed (Round up to nearest even number).

Divide the total by two to get the number of different wines to try, and purchase two bottles of each wine. For example, if your party will have seven guests: 7 guests x 1.5 = 10.5, rounded up to the nearest even number = 12. You should buy six varieties of wine; two bottles each, for a total of 12 bottles.

This equation assumes that you will need about a bottle and a half per guest. Purchasing two bottles of each wine will allow your guests to sample from one bottle, while leaving a bottle to enjoy later.

Hosting a wine tasting doesn’t have to break the bank. Some store owners offer a discount for large wine purchases. Another great way to save is to ask guests to bring one or two bottles of their favorite wine to share with the group.

What kind of wine should I serve?

Hosting a wine tasting is a lot like curating a museum. Choose a maximum of five or six varieties of wine to sample; more may be overwhelming for your bridal shower guests. You can mix white, roses and reds. Generally, you should serve them in order from lightest to darkest. Dark reds are usually the “heaviest” in flavor.

If you’re not a wine expert, consider getting recommendations from friends about where to shop locally for wine. Most store owners have a passion for their product and are very knowledgeable about wines from all over the world. Many will be able to direct you to wines that are within your budget, and some will even allow you to sample them right in the store.

Sometimes a theme is helpful in determining which wines to serve. Choosing wines from a particular region always makes for an easy theme, just consult the bride-to-be on what her favorite wine is and run with it.

Is there a special way to taste wine?

There are no hard-and-fast rules about how to enjoy wine, but there are some generally accepted traditions when it comes to wine tasting. It is important to remember to engage all of your senses when tasting wine. Here are some questions to ask before bottoms up:

How does the wine look? Is it cloudy or clear, bright or dark?

How does it smell? Give your glass a swirl to help release the scent of the wine, and don’t be afraid to stick your nose right in the glass. Describe what you smell; there are no wrong answers.

Finally, taste the wine. Take a sip of the wine while breathing in; this will aerate the wine, bringing out its flavors. Hold the wine in your mouth and observe what you taste. Some common phrases that are used to describe wine are:

Dry — Table wines are usually considered “dry” as opposed to sweet.

Full-bodied — Silky, buttery texture in the mouth.

Acidic — Tartness or sourness.

Serving wine at the right temperature will help to maximize its flavor. Serving a wine overly warm or chilled can negatively affect the taste. A good rule of thumb is that whites and rosés should be removed from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before serving, and reds should be chilled for about 15 minutes before serving.