How to Host a Blind Wine Tasting Party
Everyone loves a good cocktail party, but sometimes they can get a bit redundant if you don’t switch things up every now and then. If you’re looking for a new way to spice up your events, hosting a blind wine tasting party is the perfect option. This twist on wine tasting is a great way to socialize while drinking good wine and adding a bit of competitive flare to the occasion.
I recently attended a friend's blind wine tasting party, and it was such a great success that I knew I needed to share it. Adding themes and activities to, what would be, just standard cocktail parties, really makes the experience a memorable one and this wine party was a blast - great friends, great conversations, and great wine - a definite winner in my book!
In this article, you'll learn everything you need to know about throwing your very own wine soirée! Here's what we'll cover:
Blind wine tasting basics
How to do it yourself at home (including the setup, suggested rules, prizes, and more!)
Plus, a blind tasting card game that is a fun alternative to a traditional wine tasting.
And, of course, we'll let you know how Gold Medal Wine Club can help you each step of the way.
So, let's get started!
What is Blind Wine Tasting?
Blind wine tasting is similar to traditional wine tasting in that participants are offered a variety of wines to taste. The twist of blind tasting comes in the fact that the tasters are not given any information about the wines they are sampling. After tasting each wine, participants are asked to try to make an informed guess about the varietal, region, vintage, and any other information they can decipher using only the flavor, aromas, color, and any other features of the wine that can be determined without seeing the bottle or label.
At the end of the tasting, the details of each wine is unveiled so people can see whether or not they were able to successfully identify the wines.
How well do you think you'd do when put up to the challenge?
Depending on the wine knowledge (and sobriety) of your group, additional competitive elements can be added to spice things up a bit!
It doesn't have to be difficult, but something as simple as asking participants to rate or rank the wines and rewarding those with the closest or most accurate guesses an extra bonus prize. (I say "bonus" because, let's face it...you're already throwing them an awesome wine tasting party, so anything more is just the cherry on top.)
This subtle twist on wine tasting is a great chance for wine lovers like yourself to be challenged and improve on your wine knowledge while also trying wines that may become new favorites!
And it's a fun excuse to grab some friends and drink some amazing wine.
How to Host a Blind Wine Tasting Party at Home
As I mentioned, my friend Erin recently hosted her own take on blind wine tasting, and it was such a success that I had to share the experience with you and our other fantastic wine club members!
For starters, she asked all of us to bring a bottle of wine to her house - any price, any varietal - she just asked that we do three things:
Take note of the retail price
Place the bottle in a brown bag
Tie a ribbon at the top (to keep cheating to a minimum!)
When hosting your own blind tasting party, it is up to you whether you want to do it potluck-style or if you would rather provide all of the wine for your guests. Keep in mind, the first method allows you to get in on the fun (and saves you some money so you can go buy your favorite bottles after the party).
Whatever you decide, Gold Medal has you set with our wine combo cases that give you the best bang for your buck (but don’t be surprised if it’s all gone by the end of the night!)
When we arrived at Erin's party, she lined up the bagged wines and wrote a number on each. She had already cut up lots of scorecards with corresponding numbers and placed them in a stack in front of each bottle. An empty cup was placed behind each wine bottle to hold the completed scorecards.
Then came the fun part - tasting!
We had about 15 wines at the party, so it was perhaps a bit ambitious to taste through all of them, but we were good sports and didn't complain (she also provided spit cups for the designated drivers). The rules were simple: taste each wine and score it from 1-5, writing your score and name on one of the scorecards provided, and then placing it in the empty cup behind the bottle. We also took a guess on the varietal and wrote it on the scorecard as well.
When hosting your own blind wine tasting party, you can decide what elements of the wine you want your guests to predict! The important thing is that you establish the rules before starting the tasting and make sure everyone writes their name on their cards so you know who guessed what for each wine!
As we all know, the more wine everyone tastes, the more they tend to forget (or disregard) the rules. Patience is an important feature of any gathering when wine is involved!
Erin gave us a couple hours to taste through the wines - which was great because it gave us plenty of time to socialize and go back to re-taste some of our favorites.
(I have to admit that I parked myself in front of my favorite bottle and "re-tasted" it a few times... just to make sure that it was indeed that good. It was.)
Erin also had some tasty crackers, appetizers, and waters on the table to keep us hydrated. If you need any help sorting out what snacks to serve at your blind tasting event, check out our suggestions on how to make the perfect charcuterie board that would complement your wine tasting flawlessly.
What comes after the tasting?
After everyone is done tasting the wine, it's time for the judging! If you possess a fiery competitive spirit, or even if you just feel like your wine IQ is unmatched, this is the moment where you get to prove yourself to all of your friends.
By looking through the cards that all of the participants had been filling out for each wine along the way, the host determines who was able to guess the varietals most accurately. If, like at Erin’s party, people are also asked to rate the wines, the most popular wine can also be determined at this time.
My wine was scored the 2nd highest! Which might not be too surprising since it was a 90+ rated Cabernet Sauvignon featured in the Platinum Wine Club.
If you are a member or have received these wines before...you know what I mean. They're hard to beat. And apparently lots of my friends think so too!
(Thankfully I also ordered more bottles of this wine from the online wine store for my personal wine fridge.)
Erin gave out prizes to those who brought the three best wines, one to the person who correctly guessed the most varietals, and one to the person who brought the worst wine (he received a 'Wine for Dummies' book, which seemed quite appropriate!). Us top wine winners received nice Riedel wine glasses, a classy wine opener, and wine glass charms, respectively.
Giving out prizes is a great way to ensure that people are engaged and having fun with the process of the tasting. Even the smallest of prizes can encourage people to participate and put their best effort forth.
Wine Tasting Basics
Before we send you on your way to host a blind wine tasting party of your own, you may need to brush up on your own wine tasting skills so you can impress (and beat) your friends. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with this article that covers everything you need to know about wine tasting!
Blind Wine Tasting Game
Looking for an additional fun twist on blind wine tasting? Check out the Somm Blind Wine Tasting Game! The game blends a card game with wine tasting, making it a bit more challenging and unique from other forms of blind tasting.
Rather than facing a blind array of wines and taking guesses each time, in this game you are dealt a hand of cards with various wine elements on them. One secret bottle is poured for all of the players to blindly taste, and through a series of drawing and discarding, each players’ goal is to assemble a hand that they think fits the wine. The first player to assemble a hand that guesses the wine correctly wins the round and a new bottle is poured, starting a new round of guessing.
Need the cards? No problem! You can get the cards and 4 wine bottles in secret packaging sleeves at Gold Medal Wine Club! Got the cards, but need more wine? You know we have you covered there, as well! You can even get a package of four wines in secret sleeves so nobody knows what they are!
Next time you're looking to spice up drinking with your friends, try out one of these events as it's sure to be a hit with your guests… And if you want to increase your chances of winning, check out www.GoldMedalWineClub.com for a great wine selection with top ratings and multi-medal winners. If you need accessories for the prizes, they have those as well! Have fun and good tasting!