Wine Tasting Party

Mo Wine Please

Once a year we host a wine tasting party.

It’s like second Christmas for Peter.

The idea for this party originated six years ago as a cover for a surprise birthday party.  The birthday boy never suspected a thing!  He just thought it was a party to help Peter and I with inventory reduction.

(At this year’s party we will be raising a glass to toast that very same birthday boy and his brand new, spectacularly wonderful fiancée.)

Once the date is set we go into full planning mode.

Usually I draft an adorable, themed invitation either printing it myself or using a site like Zazzle.  (Note: if you have never visited Zazzle, you have no idea what you are missing. We ordered piles of things from that site for Annie and Jerry’s semi-DIY wedding. AWESOME! But I digress…)

This year, because we had to scramble for a date and it is only 4 weeks away, I am using Evite.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

Peter is, of course, in charge of choosing the wines.  He scours our wine inventory list and tries to get a nice array of whites and reds so there is something for everyone.  Usually he makes a visit to one of the local wine stores to round out the selection.

Cakebread Cab

In addition to a variety of wines from different parts of the world, each year Peter likes to present an opportunity to compare similar wines. Sometimes he will do a horizontal tasting, serving, for example, a cabernet sauvignon of the same vintage but from four different wineries to highlight the difference in the soil at each winery or a vertical tasting, pouring three different vintages of say a Pinot Noir from the same vineyard to show the effect of each year’s climate on the wine.

Peter gets all wine geeky, puts together an incredible array of wines to try and everyone loves it!

We set up stations in the kitchen, dining room and family room to try to help spread out the crowd. At each station we have wines (complete with tasting notes) and finger foods that pair well with each particular wine. We invested in sets of small buffet plates (pretty cheap at World Market) because they are easier to carry around from station to station and we wanted to be “green”.   Each station also has score sheets with pens so our guests can record their notes .

We encourage our guests to takes tastes – rather than glassfuls – and to be sure to have a designated driver.  This is a very responsible crowd.

Our friends are very appreciative of the labor of love that goes into planning the annual wine tasting party. And they are very generous folks who hate coming to a party empty-handed.  We didn’t want anyone to feel that they needed to bring a hostess gift (especially not a bottle of wine!) so we came up with an alternative.

At our church there is a truly saint-like nun who started a program for needy families in the area.  Sister Paulanne’s Needy Family Fund has helped literally thousands of families with food, clothing, and emergency living expenses since its start over 20 years ago.

On our invitation we say, “In lieu of a hostess gift, please bring a non-perishable food donation to benefit Sister Paulanne’s Needy Family Fund.”  The response from our guests is always amazing. The day after our party we deliver bags and bags of canned foods, grocery store gift cards and cash donations to a very grateful Sister. We are so happy to help this very worthy cause.

At the end of the night the designated drivers take their passengers home and we start dreaming about next year’s party.

We are always looking for new ideas to incorporate into our party. Have any suggestions?



This post joined the Hump Day Hook Up Party!

A Mother Life

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  1. What a great party!!! Sounds like so much fun. Great idea about the hostess gifts. You’ve got some very lucky friends!!

  2. What a fun party. Can’t go wrong with Cakebread! You know what I’ve always wanted to do. It’s kind of a trickster thing to do, but I’ve always wanted to put mediocre wine (i.e., Two Buck Chuck) into an empty bottle of say Cakebread and see what people say. We have some pretty snobby wine friends and I’ve always wondered what they would say if they thought they were drinking really good wine, but it was a totally a mundane brand.

  3. Sounds like a fabulous time! I love your idea of bringing a donation in lieu of a hostess gift. I struggle with what to bring to a party, and this would take the pressure off and help a very worthy cause. You should do a wine review post, Mo – I bet it would be very popular!

  4. How fun is that!? Love it! Adore Zazzle and have come to love Evite…everyone is using it around here! :)-Ashley

  5. What a wonderful idea! Sounds like such a fun party. And the thought of benefiting a great cause is icing on the cake. I hope you will share a glimpse of the event here after it’s all said and done.

  6. I love your idea of guests bringing a gift for charity rather than a hostess gift. Sweet!

  7. Wine parties are awesome! And fundraising is truly the icing on the cake, well done. Thanks for hooking up to the Hump Day Hook Up!

  8. i just loved this post.
    sounds like a lot of fun! what a great party!

    and thanks for your wonderful comment.

    have a great week ahead~


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