There are a few different ways to stage a wine tasting at home - vertical tastings, horizontal tastings, general tastings - but there's one particular way we like to host a sampling that's always a ton of fun for guests.
Blind wine tastings are always the most informative, the most engaging and the most enjoyable because they break the sampling steps down in an activity-like way. You and your guests needn't be wine connoisseurs to see, swirl, sniff, sip and savor! (Those are the 5 simple steps to tasting.)
Here's the simple breakdown on how to play. You can always purchase a kit to do this, but we prefer the DIY route - check out our simple craft how-to after you've learned how to play and get this game going at home sooner rather than later!
How to Host a Blind Wine Tasting
Step 1: Determine what wines you and your guests will sample. Craft as many bags as you will need to hide each of the bottles.
Step 2: Before guests arrive, cover the wine bottles and set up the station(s) you're planning to use. You can designate a table for reds and another for whites, or mix as we did.
Step 3: Pass out score sheets to your guests. This will be a grid with the corresponding wine bottle numbers on top (1, 2, 3, etc.) and the criteria you will measure on the far right (aroma, color, body, taste, etc.). Leave enough space so guests can jot down points and notes in each field.
If you want, feel free to use the tasting card we passed around - it's available for free download!
Before sampling each of the wines, read a short description of the particular bottle out loud. The idea here is to provide enough information to inform your guests about the wine they're going to sip, without revealing so much that they know exactly what wine they're sipping. So, don't say whether or not a wine is a Merlot or Pinot Grigio. Rather, hint at the flavors of the wine, whether or not it pairs well with chocolate or if it comes from a particular region.
Step 4: After you've sampled each of the wines, have guests tally up the points to determine which of the wines they enjoyed and liked most.
Then, pass around a list of the wine bottle names and the type of wine each is to your guests. Ask them to guess which wine is hidden in which bag. If they've taken good notes and paid attention to the sampling they should be able to guess!