Make Your Next Wine Tasting A Hit

Happy Weekend,

This past Monday, my worlds collided. I hosted a wine tasting for my colleagues at my 9-to-5.

While I was nervous to start, it went surprisingly well.

What I realized is that the best wine tastings have a few core things in common.

  1. Point of view – you need to say something about the wine world
  2. Progression – work from lightest to heaviest wines
  3. Variation/Range – everyone should experience differences, either wide or subtle
  4. 6 wines – it accommodate many group sizes and doesn’t overwhelm on tastes or information

Given these rules, let me illustrate two great examples of wine tastings.

Example Wine Tasting 1: All Reds

Listen, the vast majority of non-wine drinkers don’t drink white wine. And I know there’s a few of you here, who don’t enjoy whites either.

So, instead of bending people to your will, play the hits. Give the people red wine.

This is exactly the type of tasting I hosted for my team. Here is the lineup I shared:

  • 2020 Meinklang Burgenland Red
  • 2016 Pescina Rioja Crianza
  • 2016 Usseglio Chateauneuf-du-pape
  • 2016 One and Done Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2018 Ridge Three Valleys Red Blend
  • 2014 Pangloss Monte Rosso Zinfandel

An extension of this theme would be doing a horizontal (all wines from the same year) or vertical (same wine throughout many vintages). You could also pick one grape variety to feature.

It can also help to split your wines into two groups of threes. In the example above, I had three old world wines, and three new world wines.

Example Wine Tasting 2: The Whole Wine Spectrum

Another great way to do 6 bottles is to throw the kitchen sink at people. With the mixed bag approach, you can appease to everyone and offer the opportunity to break out of their comfort zone.

A classic lineup would look like:

  • Bubbles/High Acid White
  • Rosé
  • Bigger White
  • Light Red
  • Medium Red
  • Big Red

There is truly something for everyone. And we used this type of tasting often on weekends at the wine shop. People would often leave with one of the bottles they tried.

If I were to enhance this tasting, I would find all the wines of the different categories at the same price point.

Even as I type this, I think about how fun it would be to put something together in the under $10, $15-20 range, the $35-50 range. the $51-80 range, or the $81+.

For me, I can’t help but fantasy book a tasting in the $50-80 range, where you could put Domaine Tempier (arguably the world’s best rose) against other higher quality wines. I have to think it could shock the hell out of some people, especially if it was one that was aged.

So are you going to host a tasting of 6 wines soon?

Let me know, I’d be happy to help you coordinate the wine.

Your friendly wine tutor,


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