I just had the most fantastic time celebrating my birthday with some pretty great friends!
This year I decided to have a Wine & Cheese Theme.
DIY: At Home Wine Tasting Party
I wanted to host a wine tasting party this year, so I made sure to create a fabulous wine-themed event on facebook to send to the guests. For this type of party, I wanted to keep the guest list small, between 6 and 12 people. On the invitation I ask each guest to bring one of their favorite wines to the party.
Here is a little creative wording that I used:
Raise your glass
and join in the cheers
Melissa has survived 32 years!
First we’ll try some new wine
and maybe some cheese,
then we’ll have cake
that’ll be sure to please!
A gathering with good friends
for a kind-hearted birthday toast,
so come out and discover which wines
you enjoy the most!
There’s a wine out there for everybody. So whether you love wine, or still unsure what you like… come out and try something new on my birthday!
Everyone should bring over there favorite bottle to share & sample. There will be a contest (details to follow) and games during the evening! Everyone welcome… even non wine drinkers!!
The great thing about wine tasting parties is that they can be pretty easy to organize. In fact, I kept the food selection simple and allowed the wines to be the focus of the evening. I served light pastry hors d’oeuvres and veggies. I was also sure to include “palate cleansers,” including fresh breads, artisan cheeses and crackers to help clean the palate between wines.
I used a plastic table cloth for this event so I was able to write on it with a metallic Sharpie. I drew labels and lines with arrows from the bottles to the cheese plates! It was a fun way to help pair the wines with cheese plates and other pairings!
For this party I paired: Brie & grapes with Chardonnay, Swiss with Gewurztraminer, Havarti & Dark Chocolate with Pinot Noir, Cheddar & Walnuts with Riesling
Cheese & Wine Paring Options:
Soft Cheese: Blue Castello, Boursin, Brie, Bucheron, buffalo mozzarella, Camembert, feta, goat cheese, Gorgonzola, Limburger, Mascarpone, Muenster, Neufchatel, Pave Affinois, Teleme
Hard Cheese: Asiago, Blue, Derby, Edam, Emmentaler, Grana Padano, Gruyere, Jarlsberg, Manchego, Parmigiano, Pecorino Romano, Raclette, Reggiano, Swiss, Wensleydale, Zamarano
Semi-Soft Cheese: Bel Paese, Baby Swiss, Colby, Fontina, Havarti, Kasseri, Madrigal Baby Swiss, Morbier, Port Salut
Semi-Hard Cheese: Cheddar, Chesire, Cotija, Danish Blue, Double Gloucester, Gouda, Graddost, Panela, Provolone, Roquefort, Sonoma Jack, Stilton
Soft Cheese: Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Champagne, Cabernet, White Zinfandel, Vidal, Beaujolais, Bordeaux, Chianti, Sancerre
Hard Cheese: Bardolino, Tawny Port, Madeira, Sherry, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Sancerre, Côtes du Rhône, Rioja, Cabernet, Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello di Montalcino, Ribera del Duero, Chardonnay, Chianti Riserva, Beaujolais, Dark Beer, Sangria, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir
Semi-Soft Cheese: Chardonnay, Champagne, Riesling, Barolo, Barbaresco, Gattinara, Bordeaux, Rioja, Fleurie, Beaujolais, Chinon, Bourgueil
Semi-Hard Cheese: Chardonnay, Champagne, Riesling, Cabernet, Sancerre, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chianti Riserva, Barolo, Tawny Port
Every guest had brought a bottle of wine to share with everyone. These were located all together on the table and guests were encouraged to sample all them. The key to the evening was to try something new without having to commit to an entire bottle or entire glass. The goal was for everyone to learn something new about wine, while having fun with friends and hopefully finding a new favorite wine! Everyone was given their own wine glass when they arrived, but I also supplied extra little plastic wine glasses for sampling (if needed) purchased at the dollarstore.
Show guests how to taste their wine.
Step 1: Look at it. Is the wine bright (light-bodied) or dark (full-bodied)? Clear (drink up) or cloudy (toss it)?
Step 2: Swirl your glass gently to release the wine’s aromas. Then put your nose deep into the glass (don’t be shy). Is it fruity? Floral? Herbal? Earthy?
Step 3: Hold the wine in your mouth while slowly inhaling air (you’ll make a slurping sound). It may feel odd, but the process aerates the wine and opens up your olfactory sense to enhance its flavors.
This game was for all the wine my friends brought to sample. I asked each guest to sign their initials (using a metallic Sharpie) on which was his or her favorite wine of the night. At the end of the evening I gave a small gift to the guest who brought the evening’s favorite wine!
The blind taste test. Before the party I had covered 4 bottles of wine with construction paper and numbered them 1-4. I handed out a sheet of paper to everyone and told them to read the descriptions of 4 different wines and then try to match them after they sampled the wine! The key is to make note if the wine was an ‘oaky’ Chardonnay, ‘sweet&fruity’ Riesling, ‘berry and full body’ Pinot Noir, or a ‘really sweet’ Gewurztraminer.
The game sheet is available to download. Click the link below.
Wine Tasting Game
Once all of your wines was sampled, it was time to reveal what each one is! A small little prize was awarded to the winner with the perfect score.
Door Prize & Gift Ideas:
- Fun Corkscrew
- Wine Glass Charms
- Cute Bottle Stoppers
- Cute Wine Glass