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In Good Taste

Top 8 Tips for Hosting a Wine Tasting

Top 8 Tips for Hosting a Wine Tasting

Wine Party Hostess with the Mostest

Learning about wine doesn't have to be intimidating. There’s no need for an abundance of expensive bottles, monocles, or gold-flake-covered caviar. In fact, keeping it simple can make the night more enjoyable and help you to focus on what your tastebuds are telling you. All you need to host a wine tasting is a computer with a webcam and microphone, a couple of snacks, a few supplies, and a Wine Tasting Flight from In Good Taste. So don’t rush to Google to search for “wine tasting near me” or anything similar. Rather, lean on our team for your virtual wine tasting and you will have an absolute blast from the comfort of your home.

Plan Your Wine List

1. Plan Your Wine List

Whether you’re finally gathering in person or meeting virtually from across the country, it’s great to enjoy the company of friends and family while tasting some truly delicious wine. Prepare your Wine Tasting Flight, as referenced above, or, at the bare minimum, have a wide range of reds and whites to ensure the wine tasting event has a chance to meet its true potential. It will certainly help to have two unique wines of the same varietal or from the same region, so you and your fellow wine aficionados-to-be can compare them to one another, head-to-head.

Above all, it is imperative that you and your fellow wine enthusiasts have exactly the same wines to enjoy during the virtual wine tasting. Otherwise, you won’t be able to discuss the best tasting wine as well as each unique wine’s strengths, weaknesses, and other characteristics. This is precisely why it makes sense for everyone to have the same IGT Wine Tasting Flight.

An IGT Wine Tasting Flight is not the sole necessity for your virtual wine tasting from home. In terms of sundries, be mindful of the subtleties that are easy to overlook. Prepare ahead of time by setting out your wine bottle opener, wine glasses, and snacks. When in doubt, opt for a wine tasting kit. It will also help to have a glass of water readily available to cleanse your palate in between sips of wine.

Schedule Your Wine Tasting

2. Schedule Your Wine Tasting With In Good Taste

In Good Taste makes virtual wine tasting easy. Simply sign up for your virtual tasting on In Good Taste, and you will be well on your way to a truly enjoyable and memorable virtual wine tasting event. Please note: if you’re ordering for a large group or corporate event, the process works a little differently! For either general or corporate events, be sure to book at least 14 days in advance to ensure that all guests receive their Tasting Flight Kits in time.

Once you are signed up, you can invite friends to join you in purchasing Wine Tasting Flights. If you would like a complimentary private tasting, you will need a minimum of six flights purchased for your event; however, you can also join in the IGT Social Hour, a public, complimentary, weekly wine tasting event. Now that your virtual wine tasting is scheduled, a Zoom link will be sent to your email, and which you can share this with your group.

Try to order your Tasting Flight as soon as possible to guarantee it arrives well ahead of the scheduled wine tasting. It is important to note that booking the event does not automatically reserve the wine kit. If you wait even a few days to buy the Tasting Flights after booking the event, there is no guarantee that the flight you want will still be available. Each guest in your virtual wine tasting will purchase the exact same Tasting Flight so you have a common ground for your discussion. Once shipped, you will receive an email with your tracking information and expected delivery date remember, because this is alcohol, someone over the age of 21 has to be there to sign for the kit!

Our team runs the entirety of the event from the beginning to the end. Our wine experts will talk you through each of the wines you and your group sample so you know exactly what you are drinking and what makes it unique compared to other wines.

Your wine tasting guide will also share interesting informational tidbits about the wine, provide wine trivia, and serve up fun facts related to wine and other helpful information regarding how to properly taste wine or shop for truly elite bottles. This is your opportunity to sit back, sip some tasty wine, and take all the credit for your successful wine tasting event.

Invite Your Friends

3. Invite Your Favorite Friends

Now that you know what is involved in hosting a virtual wine tasting, you won’t be nearly so intimidated by the prospect of such an event. In short, we do the majority of the work for you so you can focus on getting your group together, choosing the wines best for your group, and sipping the night away while having a blast with your friends. This is the perfect way to reconnect with friends, distant family, colleagues, and others when you can’t get together in person. The beauty of a virtual wine tasting is that it bridges the gap between you and your friends and/or loved ones, even though you might be thousands or even tens of thousands of miles away from one another.

Some people host wine tastings as a means of connecting with friends and significant others for social interaction over the internet. Perhaps you are looking for something to do during your Girls' Night In. Maybe you are looking for an activity to enjoy during a Date Night on the web. Let us help you host a wine tasting, and you will agree the experience is easy to arrange, proves fulfilling, and helps you enjoy the company of others while learning that much more about your shared hobby of wine tasting. In short, wine tasting is hands down one of the most fun things to do online.

Set the Mood

4. Set the Mood with a Little Ambience

The wine tasting will prove that much more enjoyable for everyone involved if you pay close attention to the subtleties of this shared experience. Though our team will be there to “drop the knowledge” in regard to the best wines and the overarching wine industry, there will be time to socialize during the wine tasting.

Plan ahead by preparing a playlist on YouTube, Spotify, or another music service, and share it with everyone who will attend the wine tasting. Encourage everyone to play the playlist softly in the background during the wine tasting to make the atmosphere that much more enjoyable. And who knows: an impromptu Zoom dance-off might just be the highlight of your night!

Aside from music, lighting is another subtlety that seems minor yet matters a great deal for your wine tasting. Slightly dim the lights, and the mood will be set for a truly enjoyable wine party. Just make sure the lights are bright enough so that you can still see the wine you are enjoying. If you decide to light candles, opt for the unscented variety. The last thing you want is for a scented candle to overpower the fulfilling aroma emerging from your wine glass.

Sips & Snacks

5. Sips and Snacks

If you were to down one swig of wine after another within an hour’s time, you would end up quite tipsy. While a wine tasting is undoubtedly one of the best Girls’ Night ideas, they’re also a great way to woo a new client or celebrate milestones with your team! Mix in some tasty snacks to soak up the alcohol and ultimately make the wine tasting event as fulfilling as possible. Though it is not as important for everyone to have exactly the same snacks as it is for everyone to have the same wines, uniformity in terms of sustenance will certainly help keep the conversation going. If you are like most wine enthusiasts, you can discuss the “nectar of the gods” for quite a lengthy period of time (and even more so as the night goes on, and the glass refills). Though the In Good Taste virtual tasting team is great at keeping events light and conversation flowing, if lulls in conversation do pop up, chats about snacks can act as a buffer between sips of wine and other topics, ranging from the news to sports and beyond.

In terms of snacks, the more diversity, the better. After all, certain snacks are that much more enjoyable with specific wines, whether they are red, white, dry, sweet, comparably strong, etc. Need some ideas for your spread? Be sure to have everything from cheese to crackers, trail mix, dried fruits, seeds, nuts, and other tasty snacks set out ahead of time in their respective bowls (or elaborate boards), so you can nibble as desired while enjoying your virtual wine tasting from home.

How to Build the Ultimate Charcuterie Board

Best Snacks for a Charcuterie Board

Need Some Snack-spiration?

Creating the best charcuterie board means looking at all of the components, from the meats, cheeses, and spreads to the complimentary wine selection. You need to find the perfect balance between salty and sweet, crisp and savory, acidic and umami. Presentation is key to making the charcuterie board a party centerpiece. All of these components are explored below and, as a bonus, we will also look at how to theme your charcuterie board to make it stand out and taste delicious.

Read More
Read More

 

If you are still on the fence as to which foods are best for your wine tasting, opt for a cheese platter, so you have a wide variety of scrumptious cheese to choose from when tasting different wines. At a minimum, you should have three unique types of cheese. Keep this in mind when pairing wine with cheese. Some easy cheeses that pair well with wines are Mozzarella or goat cheese with a light and fruity Riesling; funky bleu cheese or creamy Brie with a full-bodied white, like an Oaked Chardonnay; Feta and Havarti when you rosé all day; smoky Gouda or Brie with a light-bodied red wine; and aged Cheddar or Manchego with a full-bodied red wine. Examples of additional snacks to include in addition to cheese are olives, cherries, charcuterie, and dried apricots.

Proper Order of Wines for Tasting

6. The Proper Order of a Wine Tasting

It is a mistake to simply shift from one wine to the next, assuming the order in which each wine is enjoyed is meaningless. Even if the serving order of wine does not mean much to you, it will likely matter to at least one or a couple of people in your virtual wine tasting event and can even influence your palate and tastes. Ideally, the proper order for wine tasting will be sparkling wines, followed by light whites, rich whites, light reds, dark reds, and finally fortified dessert wines.

You will want to chill some of your wines prior to the tasting as well. As a rule, sparkling wines, white wines, and rosés should all be served chilled, while reds are best enjoyed just under room temperature.

While you don’t necessarily need to have multiple glasses on-hand, having at least two can enhance your experience as you compare two similar styles at once. Check out our helpful guide on recommended types of wine glasses and universal wine glass options.

Take Notes About the Wines

7. Take Notes, and Learn About Your Taste in Wine

Our team is here to ensure your that wine tasting not only is successful but serves as a lasting memory that you look back on fondly. Our goal is to ensure that it proves informative, insightful, and educational. No, you don’t need a tasting placemat or journal. The world of wine doesn’t have to be intimidating! But taking short notes as you go can help you to remember what you liked (or didn’t like) about a certain style of wine. A wine tasting wheel can also help you to put into words the flavors and aromas you are experiencing.

In short, we want to share our high level of wine knowledge with you and your friends in a fun, informal, and interactive way. Whether you are interested in learning the proper ways to taste wine; would like to learn more about the regions and grapes where our wines are harvested, and the proper temperature for serving wine; or are curious about what to zero in on when purchasing wines at local wine shops and stores, our team will provide you with all the information you could possibly hope for.

In fact, our Wine Experts will field your questions and comments during the wine tasting to help guide you through your journey and ultimately maximize your wine knowledge. In the end, you will have a ton of fun and look back on your wine tasting event with rosé-colored glasses, crediting it with not only expanding your knowledge of wine but also helping you enjoy a social experience, albeit in a virtual sense.

Guest Favorite Wines

8. Ask Your Guests About Their Favorites

Once all of the wines are tasted, and your group has learned about the nuances of wine from our insightful wine experts, you will socialize with one another for at least for a couple more minutes to wrap up the night. Though you’ve certainly been talking about the wines throughout the evening or event, the end of a wine tasting is a great time to check in again and see which wines your guests preferred. This way, you can gift them full bottles of their favorite wines as a thank you for attending or keep a bottle locked away to surprise them for their birthday!

No doubt, by the end of your event, you’ll be eager to sign up for another wine tasting with In Good Taste and invite more friends to join you on your journey of wine discovery.

How to Host a Wine Tasting

Summer Picks

Our Favorites

Warm, sunny days require wines that are crisp and oh-so refreshing. With two delicious rosés and a delightful Sauvignon Blanc, our Summer Picks are the perfect addition to your sunshine-filled adventures.

$61.97

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California Wine Mixer Top 3

Our Favorites

Californian wine is a state of mind. The Cabernet Sauvignon, Rosé, and Red Wine from our California Wine Mixer bundle can transport your state of mind (and palate) all the way to The Golden State.

$77.97

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International Whites

Our Favorites

Experience a world-class wine tour for your tastebuds from the comfort of home. This bundle features incredible selections from France and Italy that will have you ready to grab your passport and hop a plane.

$67.97

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Vine Voyage Top 3

Our Favorites

The Vine Voyage bundle will remind you why France and Italy are two of the most well-known, wine-producing countries in the world. Take your senses to the European countryside with Montepulciano, Rosé of Sangiovese, and Nerello Cappuccio.

$58.97

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Light Reds

Our Favorites

Like the infectious laugh of a best friend, these wines will warm your soul and lighten your mood. Our Light Reds bundle with a Grenache, Coteaux Borguignons AOC, and Pinot Noir are sure to be your new wine besties!

$79.97

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Big Reds

Our Favorites

Big. Bold. Unapologetic. The rich, unmistakable flavors of the Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, and Bordeaux Rouge in our Big Reds collection are perfect for the unwavering palate that demands something more.

$81.97

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Rosé of Sangiovese

Andiamo

Sangiovese can be found in both the Chianti and Montalcino regions of Tuscany (it all sounds so romantic, right?) and is known for producing classic medium-bodied wines. Rosé wine is actually made from red grapes, and this is where the Rosé of Sangiovese comes to play. Crisp, fruit-forward, and easy-to-drink, it's everything you want in your bottle of Rosé and more.

$19.99

Sauvignon Blanc

La Pluma

We couldn't have rosé and Pinot Grigio at the La Pluma party without inviting its ring leader, Sauvignon Blanc. If Pinot Grigio is the dry, acidic friend of the group and rosé is the always highly affable one, Sauvignon Blanc exists between the two to create true Zen. An interesting and addictive blend of grapefruits and herbs set this white wine apart and makes it incredibly difficult to resist, especially when the temperature is high and your desire for refreshment is higher. La Pluma Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect poolside or beach companion; just be sure to bring a few bottles because your friends will definitely want to partake, and we don't blame them!

$23.99

Barbera

Wild Child

The perfect pizza wine. Barbera is a simple wine that’s not only easy for winemakers to make, but easier to drink. It’s low in alcohol and an Italian red wine we implore you try chilled because it’s truly *chef’s kiss*. Classic Barberas are fruity, medium bodied and offer the perfect hint of tartness. It’s also the best of both worlds in terms of light and heavy red wines. Let’s say you’re having a friend over who always prefers a cab, but you’re more of a Pinot Noir kinda gal. Order a pizza and open the Barbera for a perfect middle ground kind of evening. After all, the combo of good red wine and pizza is the great equalizer.

$24.99

Montepulciano

Andiamo

Big, bold, and full of flavor—exactly what you’d expect an Italian wine to be! This classic Italian grape produces some of Italy’s most straightforward red wines and is often used as a blending grape. Not here, though. We let Montepulciano do the heavy lifting as a heavy red wine and shine on its own. If you enjoy the smell of leather bound books, nibbling on dried fruit, and complementary notes of bitter, dark chocolate and sweet plums, you will love this Italian wine. No need to pair it with any certain dish—Montepulciano tastes great with all the Italian classics.

$20.99

Cabernet Sauvignon

Unprecedented

If Pinot Noir is the light and juicy queen of reds, Cabernet Sauvignon is her bolder, heavier, meatier sister. Often referred to as just “cab,” it’s the wine of France’s Bordeaux and California’s Napa Valley. There’s nothing subtle about Cabernet Sauvignon—high in alcohol, full-bodied and robust, you can usually find this red served with a ribeye, New York Strip, or filet mignon (re: carnivores love cab). Classic cabs usually offer tasting notes of chocolate, coffee, and darker fruits like prunes and plums. The Unprecedented Cabernet Sauvignon is as classic as they come, and we highly recommend letting the bottle sit and mellow until your next red meat and potatoes dinner!

$34.99

Rosé

La Pluma

While it's the unofficial official wine of summer and warm weather situations, La Pluma's Rosé is one you can drink year-round, no matter the occasion. All rosé wine is derived from red grapes, and the result exceeds expectations in terms of highly-sippable, easy-drinking wine. This La Pluma Rosé is as light as its feathery namesake and is best served extremely chilled for an extremely chill afternoon of nothing but vibes. And maybe a few snacks.

$17.99

Pinot Grigio

La Pluma

If you’re looking for more zest in your life, a bottle of Pinot Grigio can provide that. We included a classic Pinot Grigio in the La Pluma collection because we’re all about light and easy here, which is exactly what this grape from Italy is. It has that dry sense of humor that seems so effortless with a punchy acidity to keep you on your toes, all while offering notes of lemon, limes, green apples, and honeysuckle. Long story short; when it’s been a heavy day and your soul is seeking light things only, you’ll be happy to have this bottle on hand.

$19.99

Pinot Noir

Unprecedented

We couldn’t create the In Good Taste Unprecedented collection without the Golden Retriever of wines: Pinot Noir. Pinot is likable, it’s easy, and its natural state of being is simply charming. It’s an incredibly easy red wine to love, which is why so many people do. The grape itself is from the Burgundy region of France, but has made its way to California, Oregon, Australia, Italy, Argentina, and Germany since. Our Pinot Noir has no surprise twists—it’s a classic light red with just the right amount of sweetness to keep you coming back for another glass (or two).

$25.99

Coteaux Bourguignons

Passport

The Burgundy region of France is home to their best Pinot Noirs, but we took the grapes into our own hands to create something extra special with our Coteaux Bourguignons. It’s a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay, which results in a French red that’s light in body but full in flavor. The ripest blueberries and freshest herbs can be easily detected in this French burgundy blend. May we suggest pairing it with some creamy brie and freshly baked bread? It’s a oui-ning combo.

$25.99

Nerello Cappuccio

Wild Child

This is not your average Italian red. Nerello Cappuccio is a dark-skinned grape variety from Sicily, the Mount Etna region to be exact (yes, the volcano). Although its color is vibrant, you might be surprised to know that it’s a much softer red than it looks to be. Our Nerello Cappuccio is cherry-forward, with other tasting notes of vanilla, light coffee (like your favorite breakfast blend), and minerals. The delicate tannins in this Sicilian wine will surprise and delight you and tastes exceptionally good paired with margherita pizza or arancini balls (drool).

$17.99

Chardonnay

Unprecedented

Ah, Chardonnay. This full-bodied and diverse wine is polarizing in its very nature: from an oak barrel-aged buttery, oaky, rich white wine, to a stainless steel-aged, mineral-driven neutral wine. Our classic Unprecedented California Chardonnay is the former, and will surely become a new favorite. Its buttery vanilla nature pairs extremely well with like-minded buttery, creamy foods such as brie cheese, lobster, crab cakes, crème brûlée, squash, corn, and mushrooms.

$33.00

Verdicchio

Andiamo

A little sweet. A little tart. A little salty? You truly get it all with this white Italian wine. If you're into that biting acidity, Verdicchio will probably be high on your list of most-loved wines from our Andiamo collection. Citrus fruits like mandarin, lemon, and grapefruit are at the forefront, but what really sets this Italian wine apart is its distinct notes of almond. While our Verdicchio can start out tasting a bit tart, the more you sip, the smoother it becomes. In fact, we suggest approaching it as an aperitif (Italian for an alcoholic drink sipped before a meal to stimulate the appetite) to experience its full effect.

$23.99

Red Wine

Unprecedented

We’d love to introduce you to our old friend: Unprecedented Red Wine. She’s a 2019 blend that has been with us through it all and grown to be one of our more popular wines. She’s a mix of all the best Italian grapes: Barbera, Sangiovese, and Tempranillo with a splash of Mourvèdre and a few others. They’re all hanging out, having one big, juicy, delicious party! Tasting notes include a touch of spice, a hint of leather, and some of the best juicy fruits, including blackberries. She truly gets along with just about everybody!

$24.99

Côtes du Rhône White

Passport

This was one of our first French wines to join the Passport collection and one sip will explain why. Some background on the Rhône Valley in France: While this region is known for its dark, juicy reds, a very small amount of special white wines are made in the Rhône Valley. Our Côtes du Rhône is packed with French-perfected, floral flavor and Old-World charm. Its natural tang paired with the weighty Marsanne grape and aromatic Roussanne grape results in a crisp, savory sip that’ll transport you to a sunbathing chair by the Rhône itself.

$23.99

Bordeaux Rouge

Passport

When you picture medieval folk sitting around a feast with goblets of wine, chances are they were drinking Bordeaux. This wine has been made in France since forever and is arguably the most classic French wine out there. Bordeaux is known for its full body, smoky notes, and rich, oaky taste. If you love cabs, chances are you will adore Bordeaux. For our Passport wines, we had to include this classic French red for you to sip and enjoy to your heart’s content. Best savored over a rich meal like lamb ragu, ratatouille, or BBQ.

$21.99

Ventoux Rosé

Passport

You probably know that the Tour de France is held on Ventoux Mountain in France, but did you know that the same area is known for its high-altitude rosé? This is the kind of quintessential French rosé that you don’t need to spin your wheels over—it’s simply delicious, crisp, and perfect for warm weather. Despite its delicate, pale pink color, each sip is lush with flavor, from tropical passionfruit and zesty citrus to refreshing melon. This has the potential to be your new summer go-to, so we’d suggest stocking up.

$21.99

Tempranillo

Wild Child

Say “¡Hola!” to Spain’s main grape: Tempranillo. This red grape put Rioja wine on the map and is un vino tinto classico. It’s best compared to a classic cab, but with a bit more unique magic that’s hard to put your finger on, which is why it’s a part of our Wild Child line. This medium- to full-bodied wine with its relatively higher tannins usually offers complex notes of cherry, fig, cedar, tobacco, and dill. This is the type of red wine you want to buy and pour for a Latin-infused meal; think carne asada, tacos al carbon, or just perfectly cooked steak fajita meat.

$27.99

Grenache

La Pluma

We knew the only red in the La Pluma collection had to be exceptionally good and exceptionally light. That’s why including a Grenache was a no-brainer. If smooth, fruit-forward, light-bodied reds appeal to your tastebuds, this could be your new favorite. The grape itself is tricky; depending on the climate of where its grown, Grenache wines could be light, dense, or somewhere in the middle. La Pluma’s version has all the airiness and flavor notes we wanted in our Grenache, which is how we know you’ll love it. Get the most of this red by pairing it with roasted meats, spice-heavy vegetables, and Mexican-inspired dishes with lots of cumin.

$27.99

Barbera

Andiamo

We really try not to play favorites at In Good Taste, but there is just something about an Italian Barbera that hits different in the best way. Barberas are the perfect wine for pizza night; they're low in alcohol, and medium-bodied but taste super light, and their berry and plum flavors pair incredibly well with savory tomato sauce and cheese! Another fun thing about Barberas? They actually taste great when chilled, which is not something we're in the habit of suggesting for our red wines. Our Italian Barbera lies somewhere between the body of a cab and a pinot and is the ideal choice for a "ladies who lunch" kind of afternoon.

$21.99

Vermentino

Wild Child

We couldn't not have a weird white in the mix, right?! The Vermentino grape is native along the coast of Italy on the island of Sardinia (yeah, like the fish). Because of its origin, this grape offers a salty, crisp flavor that's incredibly easy to drink and enjoy. We say it's "weird" only because it's not widely known by name, but chances are you've probably had it before if you've ever ordered white wine in an Italian restaurant. If you love peaches and lemons and get a kick out of anything that reminds you of the sea, our Vermentino is the perfect Italian white to experience on a sunny day outside.

$23.99

Viognier

Unprecedented

For the Chardonnay lovers who are looking to dig a bit deeper in the world of bold whites, a Viognier (pronounced vee-own-yay) could be your next big adventure. Viogniers tend to have more range; while they can be creamy with hints of vanilla like their Chardonnay counterpart, they also offer lighter, fruitier flavors like tangerine, mango, and honeysuckle. It’s still a more full-bodied white wine, but unlike Chardonnay, it’s softer on acidity and more perfumed. Spend an afternoon with a glass of Viognier amongst the flowers and it’ll all make sense.

$24.99

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