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Happy People Home Wine Tasting

How to Host The Best Home Wine Tasting Parties

Four Festive Ways to Entertain Guests When You Have a Wine Cellar – Let’s Have a Home Wine Tasting Event

It’s no secret that as wine cellars have become more popular and affordable, they are no longer seen as something you’d only find in a luxurious ten-bedroom mansion. In fact, wine cellars are fast becoming a sought-after feature in real estate. With designs catering to anything from a featured wine wall to an underground cavern, there are now a number of opportunities to make the most of this elegant feature as well your ever-growing collection by hosting a home wine tasting event.

 With a year that’s been incredibly limited in terms of social gatherings, we have decided to optimistically look to the future with four festive themed parties using your wine cellar as the focal point of your event. From suitable wine and food to the décor and entertainment, you and your wine cellar will be thrilled to embrace the return of social mingling with a champagne cork style bang.

So, here it is! The ultimate guide to hosting a year of festive home wine tasting/wine cellar parties that will make you the talk of the local vineyard.

 

Valentine’s Day

Valentine Home Wine Tasting

Ah, the most romantic day of the year. The perfect excuse to invite an intimate group of friends over to show off your stunning wine cellar and taste some romantic rosé’s and promiscuous prosecco’s! Think of it as one big collective date. (Just make sure the olive pit bowl isn’t mistaken for a key swap bowl…)

Wine Tasting & Food

Sparkling Rosé

Nothing like adding a splash of pink to your fizz to say: “This is romantic!” Sparkling rose is a crowd pleaser that’s refreshing and easy to drink to get the evening off to a flying start. Rosé flavors include strawberry, citrus, cream and white cherry. So, get a few bottles in and get the party off to a sparking start.  Throw a few strawberries into the drinks for an additional splash of color.

 Extra Brut Sparkling

If you want to avoid your guests having too big a sugar crash from loading up on sparking rosé, consider having some extra brut sparking on hand. Thanks to it having less than six grams of residual sugar per liter, this wine won’t just keep you perky, but it’ll keep the carbs down and the post dinner snoozes at bay.

Opt for a bottle of champagne or cava and watch the room bubble over with joy.

 

Cheeky Zinfandel or a French Rose

If you’re treating your guests to a full meal, then these are two great options that tie in beautifully with the Valentine’s Day theme. Classic wines with deep flavors that will impress your guests no end.

 Food

You can’t go wrong with a selection of luxury chocolates and champagne truffles to complement the sparkling wines you’re serving. A Valentine’s Day wine party tends not to warrant the need for heavy meals that lead to bloat and potentially noxious gasses. Not very romantic! Opt for light finger food or a buffet of nibbles involving smoked salmon, cheeses, olives and cured meats so guests can eat as much or as little as they want in order to maintain their sleek, enticing appearance.

 Entertainment

Your options are pretty endless when it comes to a Valentine’s themed wine party.

  • If your guests are in couples, you can easily play “how well do you know your spouse” and relate the questions to wine. Test how well they know each other’s preferences.
  • If you have a selection of rosé, sparkling and dessert wines you’ve been wanting to trial then it’s easy to have an on-theme taste test game. Pair them with a selection of recommended chocolates for the full experience.
  • Draw the Label: Have your guests taste a selection of wines and draw a romantic label they think would suit the flavor. The best label wins a bottle of wine from your cellar. High stakes indeed!

Setting the Scene

Decorating your cellar space for a Valentine’s Day party can be simple but effective. Cherry blossom fairy lights are budget friendly, will easily set the tone and help keep the lighting intimate. Scented strawberry, rose or cherry candles will also contribute to the ambiance. Sprinkle some rose petals on the wine tasting table for an elegant effect.

 Easter

You may think Easter is all about chocolate and rabbits, but in fact, it’s all about celebrating rebirth and welcoming in the new. This is ideal for incorporating into a very special spring themed home wine tasting party centered around regeneration and new beginnings. 

 

Wine Tasting & Food

Your Easter wine selection will be very dependent on what you’re planning to serve food wise. This is a wonderful season with a wealth of options between rich red meats and lighter white meats. Your wine choice will be based on your overall choice of meat in order to balance your palate.

It’s not just the meat you choose, but how you flavor and spice it that will determine your wine choices.

 

LAMB: A beautifully tender meat that is complemented by richly flavored spring vegetables, the key to pairing your lamb with the right wine is all about how you choose to prepare it.

            A leg of lamb will be oven roasted and brimming with a selection of strong flavored spices. Zinfandel and Malbec are the perfect choice to complement a garlic infused leg of lamb, while a Cabernet Sauvignon is better paired with rosemary undertones.

            Lamb chops on the other hand often suit a full-bodied, stronger red such as a Cabernet or Petit Syrah. Their deep plum and berry notes, along with their natural spice flavors pair beautifully with the spices used to prepare the lamb chops.

 

HAM: A lighter meat, ham is often roasted in sweet flavors that favor a fruiter wine. For honey roast ham a Pinot Grigio is a wonderful choice or a semi-dry Riesling.

If you’re fully intent on boarding the train to sweet town by opting for pineapple ham, then a light and fruity Sauvignon Blanc will bring the food alive and enhance the sweet flavors.

 

Entertainment

What is Easter famous for? Easter egg hunts! But instead of the traditional chocolate egg hunt, you can make your wine cellar a feature by turning it into a wine hunt.

  • Plant a number of clues around your cellar and the grounds of your house that lead one keen hunter to a special wine shaped prize at the end of the trail.
  • Another traditional Easter game is to paint your own eggs. Set up a painting station but instead buy in some basic wine glasses and have your guests paint their own in unique designs. You could equally do this with empty wine bottles and have your guests paint their own bottle and label design.
  • Chocolate tasting: Just because you are all grown-ups doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in the more childish side of Easter. Plan a chocolate tasting and ask your guests to pair them with a selection of wines you have available for the occasion.

 

Setting the Scene

With spring and rebirth in the air, you want to keep décor light, bright and airy. Opt for pastel colors, bright bunting, bunches of bright flowers and of course, maybe an Easter bunny or two.

 

Thanksgiving

What could be better than inviting some select guests to your wine cellar to give thanks at this warm and cozy autumnal time of year? Not much, really. Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to make the most of your wine cellar. The weather is cooler, the trees have turned a wonderful shade of red and brown and huddling around a rustic wine barrel feature table to taste some spicy reds will have you feeling very thankful indeed.

 

Wine Barrel Table 

 

Wine Tasting & Food

There’s no two ways about it. Thanksgiving is all about FOOD! It can be tricky for pairing the right wines as it’s easy to allow the array of sides, sauces and salads (oh my) to overwhelm your mind as well as your taste buds. But fear not! There is a way to pair your food and wines up so that you’ll please your guests and put even the most renowned sommeliers to shame. (Or at least that’s what you’ll tell yourself.)

 

So, while you may be tempted to pair your wine with the centerpiece of your dinner, the turkey, resist now! Turn away and walk in another direction. The key to complementing the myriad of flavors a Thanksgiving meal offers up is to opt for a broader wine choice that goes with a wide range of foods.

Your sure-fire crowd pleasers are:

  • RED: Pinot Noir or Zinfandel – a light-bodied red that offers fall friendly flavors such as cranberry, allspice, apple skin and dried leaves, this wine will offer enough fruity notes without overshadowing the food.
  • WHITE: Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling – Two more excellent options when you are serving a broad range of food, the sharper notes of these wines will easily carry a delicious and complementary flavor with the assorted dishes that adorn your Thanksgiving table.

 

Of course, don’t forget to welcome your guests with a glass of something sparkly. A dry prosecco is a good option as there will be a lot of sweetness to come, so don’t overload your guests with too sweet a fizz to start.

And when it comes to the dessert course, a slice of pumpkin pie goes beautifully with a glass of port.

 

Entertainment

Take the tradition of saying what you’re thankful for a step further. 

  • Ahead of dinner invite your guests to your wine tasting room to try a selection of sparkling wines and ask them to select the wine they are most thankful for.
  • Save up your corks and use them to encourage your guests to create their own autumnal centerpiece. Gather some fall leaves and some small squashes. The color of the corks will blend beautifully with the oranges, browns and reds of fall and will encourage your guests to create some beautiful decorations.
  • Just Desserts: Thanksgiving is a time when we tend to indulge. After dinner, take a break from the food and perhaps host a dessert wine and food tasting menu in the tasting room of your wine cellar. This gives your guests a chance to have a walk around and digest ahead of the sweet course, and it also means they have the chance to sample an array of pies with complementary dessert wines, ports and sherry’s. It will certainly be a memorable way to end the day.

 

Setting the Scene

Thanksgiving décor is a favorite for many as the colors of fall encourage feelings of warmth and security. Placing a variety of pumpkins around your wine cellar with some feature pieces such as glass vases filled with wine bottle corks, leaves and apples will evoke cozy surroundings your guests will feel right at home in.

 

Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? So, what better way to make your Christmas season a bit different by hosting a Christmas party to show off your wine cellar? The main day aside, there are a number of other ways to celebrate the holiday season and this is the perfect time of year to really show off your wine cellar and taste some incredible wines.

 

Wine Tasting & Food

As opposed to hosting Christmas dinner, you have a lot more food freedom when it comes to hosting a Christmas themed wine cellar party. You can carefully design your menu so a select choice of fine wines that complement the food and the season can be enjoyed by your guests. This means you don’t have to worry about selecting a broad wine like at Thanksgiving.

Christmas is a perfect time to break out the cheese board and cracker selection. A Christmas party would be best served by a buffet with plenty to nibble on, as guests will be enjoying the sociable season in the lead up to Christmas Day and will prefer to mingle and pick at food as they go.  

 

Sparkling Wine & Champagne

It wouldn’t feel like Christmas without a cold glass of white fizz sparkling like diamante crystals is a glass. Though champagne is traditional, light and dry Prosecco’s have become more and more popular over the years due to their affordability, meaning you can buy and enjoy more, which at Christmas is mainly the point, right?

Perhaps for many, but for those who do hanker after something more traditional, there are a number of non-vintage brut champagnes that come in on the lower end of the price scale so you can make your guests feel a little bit fancy!

 

White, Rosé and Red

At Christmas, your guests are looking to have a good time and enjoy the festivities. This isn’t the time for in depth wines that they have to think a lot about or even work a little harder to drink. You don’t want wines that are too rich, too tannic or too acidic.

The best plan is to pick one type of each that are pleasant, easy drinkers that guests will enjoy coming back to for copious refills such as Chilean Merlot or a Pinot Noir. Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc are also classic favorites in these situations.

This also helps keep your budget down as you can buy cases in bulk and it prevents confusion when guests come for refills when they can’t remember which wine they were drinking. Remember, this party is a chance to really show off your glorious wine cellar and enjoy the space.

 

Dessert Wine

A couple of select sherry’s, ports and dessert wines to complement after dinner cheeses and chocolates are the perfect way to round off this party and a year of what should now be infamous wine cellar parties!

 

Entertainment

When it comes to Christmas entertainment you are basically limitless. You may prefer an understated evening enjoying a few rounds of Christmas songs amongst your guests, or you may opt for a true winter wonderland transformation of your home hiring carol singers and your very own Santa Claus to hand out gifts. It really is down to how much of a big kid you are at heart and how much you love Christmas.

But regardless of the scale of your Christmas Wine Cellar Extravaganza, there’s always room for a few festive party games.

  • Musical Chairs: Though more familiar at a children’s birthday, don’t know the hilarity that can ensure when a group of adults who have already had a few glasses of good wine trying to circle around an ever-dwindling number of chairs. Sometimes the classic ones are the best. Winner gets a festive bottle of sparkling wine to take home!
  • Secret Santa/White Elephant: A classic Christmas tradition. Ahead of the party, give your guests a modest budget and a wine theme to shop towards and have everyone bring a wine themed gift for some festive gift swapping that’s on theme with your wine cellar location.
  • Cocktail Making Session: Christmas is all about indulgence, and though you are showing off your wine cellar, if you have the space it may be an idea to hire a cocktail expert to teach your guests some festive cocktails that they can enjoy ahead of the food.

 

Setting the Scene

As already mentioned, this is very much down to your own excitement and whether you’re a subtle Sally or an extravagant Eddie. You could simply add some festive fairy lights, rustic centerpieces and some tasteful Christmas wine glass charms to set the scene or you could make it look like your wine cellar experienced a surprise snowstorm in Lapland. (Getting reindeer in there may be a step too far, however. Particularly if your wine cellar has a spiral staircase entrance.)

But this is why Christmas parties are so much fun and so versatile, because you can really create a bespoke experience for your guests while keeping any party favors and gifts wine themed.

 

Conclusion

Whether you’re a sucker for celebrating each new season or simply prefer to host wine tasting party to share your wine cellar at your leisure, the above suggestions can certainly be adapted to suit a party outside of a festive occasion.

But tying your home wine tasting party in with a festive event is a great excuse to gather close friends and show off your wine cellar in style. If you’re new to hosting people in your wine cellar but keen to show it off, then building it around a festive season automatically gives you a number of ideas that you can run with and easily impress your friends not just with your glorious wine cellar, but your excellent festive party skills.

 Don’t forget to send us an invitation! 

Visit us at Wine Cellar HQ for tips and information on storing your wine and building the perfect wine cellar. 

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