How to Host an In-Home Wine Tasting
Jun 18, 2019

If you’re thinking of hosting a wine tasting a great place to start is by enlisting a home catering service. Their sommeliers will bring their knowledge and skills to you so you and your guests can enjoy your tasting. Here are some ways to get started.

When you hire a chef they will most likely suggest that you keep the wine tasting to eight wines. This number gives enough wines for variety, but does not overwhelm the palate. Some tastings are offered in “flights” or groups of three.

Varietal Tasting

These tastings are set up to allow guests to sample wines fo the same varietal, that come from different areas. This is a great tasting for beginners as it allows people to learn about how different growing conditions and approaches affect wines.

Horizontal Tasting

This type of tasting sets up wines froma specific category and a specific vintage, say merlots from 1995, or pinot noirs from 1993. These tastings really reveala lot of the different complexities that exist in wines in a single year. Individual flavors can be more easily discerned and their impact on the overall wine can be understood in this type of tasting.

When your personal chef comes to your home to set up the tasting you can expect the following:

Setting the Scene

A white cloth to cover the table is preferred so the color of the wines can be seen accurately and guests can examine the differences and similarities of the varietals.

Glasses will depend upon the wines that are being tasted.

The room in which the tasting is held should be free from competing scents. If candles are being used be sure to use unscented varieties.


You will want to provide palate clearers for your guests at a wine tasting. A crusty baguette or light unflavored crackers work well , along with a bit of fresh mozzarella to get rid of flavors in the n=mouth between tastings.

Some people prefer not to swallow the wine they taste, so provide individual cups along with a larger spittoon bucket for guests of the tasting as well.

The Four Ways to Taste

During the wine guests will be asked to look at the wine for color and clarity. Next, they will swirl the wine to release the aromas and take a  deep sniff from the glass.  Then, guests will sip the wine. A healthy swig should be swished and held in the mouth to coat the palate and examined for taste and feel. Finally tasters should savor the wine. Thisis done by bringing in a bit of air into the mouthful of wine. This vaporizes the wine, allowing all of the elements of the wine to be experienced. Wine tasting must go beyond the four basic tastes of the tongue and involve the nasal passage to get the complete profile of a specific wine.

What to Note

Tasting guests will want to note flavors and aromas, weight, acididty, texture, color, and the length that a wine stays on the palate. All of these things can be reviewed and discussed with your in home chef and sommelier.

Finishing the Tasting

At the end of the tasting you’ll want to compare and contrast what you tasted. This is a great time to really get social see what others liked and why they liked it.  You can go in for a second tasting at this point of your favorites and taste certain wines with a selection of foods.

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