Holiday Wine Tasting Party
Uncork a festive spirit at your holiday party with a wine tasting theme. Create a lush Cabernet and rose pink centerpiece as a simple, yet elegant way to decorate the table and choose from this list of 8 great holiday wines or invite guests to bring their favorite vintage for a fabulous soiree.
Holiday Wine Tasting Party: Decor and Set Up
A lush holiday palette of Cabernet and rose will pair beautifully as the color scheme for your wine tasting.
Before anything else, be sure to send out your invitations with plenty of notice. Check out these DIY wine bottle holiday invitations for a unique take on the standard invitation.
Generally, wine tastings are conducted on a white-clothed table; the thought being that a pristine cloth will not interfere with color of the wine. But it's the holidays! Set up your party tables based on the colors of wine for a festive, fruitful feel.
- Choose a deep red-toned tablecloth.
- Go with grapes! One of the most ornamental fruits, a cluster of purple grapes in a footed urn, bowl, or vase is an instant centerpiece.
- Add light pink roses in groupings nestled among the grapes and alongside the vase. Just trim the stems to a few inches and insert them into the grape bunch.
- Ideally, a pair of matching footed urns or bowls on either end of the wine tasting tabletop elements will create a lovely balanced design.
- Fill in the around the base of the centerpiece with votive candles or to get in the mood, some cork candles to provide the mood lighting. Be sure to add more complementary colored fruit if you so desire.
- If you have the budget and resources place both red and white wine glasses on the table for guests to taste from or go the extra step and place personalized wine glasses at each person's spot to guarantee that nobody will lose their glass and for guests to take home as party favors! You can also set wine cork place card holders in each person's spot to continue with the wine theme.
- Decide the order in which the wine will be tasted and line up the bottles accordingly.
- Place a pitcher of water and a spittoon on the table for guests to sip and discard if they wish. Guests can also use the water to rinse their glasses after enjoying each pour.
- A basket of water crackers is always a good idea for those who may want to nibble as they taste along with a stack of personalized napkins.
- Finally, include a wine menu or tasting notes so guests know what they are tasting and can identify characteristics in the wine from a pro's point of view.
8 Great Holiday Wines
Viognier (Vee-OHN-yeah), a white wine, and Malbec, a red wine, are a nice alternative to the traditional Cab and Chard for a holiday wine tasting party. Go rogue and serve a selection of unique varietals along with some classics to expand guests' wine tasting palates and spark conversation.
2004 Ignis, Mendoza Malbec, Argentina (around $15.00)
- A highly rated wine at 90 points, this juicy and affordable Malbec from Argentina is a lovely blend of dark cherry, licorice and espresso.
2004 Arcadian Westerly Vineyard, Syrah, Central Coast, California (around $20.00)
- Black fruit and earth notes will be the first scents you experience with this Syrah from Arcadian Westerly Vineyards. A medium to full-bodied wine with a gorgeous texture and ruby color could be the MVP (most popular varietal) in your tasting line-up.
2005 Camellia Cellars, "Bountiful" Zinfandel, Sonoma County, California (around $25.00)
- This gorgeously ruby red Zinfandel from Camelia Cellars in Sonoma, California is full of seductive scents of dark fruit, vanilla, and briar followed by flavors of raspberry and spice.
2005 Rubicon Estate, CASK Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California (around $50.00)
- Layers of ripe red cherries, plum, vanilla, cocoa, and toast are only a few of the gems found in this prized Cabernet Sauvignon from the Rubicon Estate (a.k.a. Francis Ford Coppola's wine Mecca in Napa). An excellent choice for a holiday dinner and a real treat for guests at a wine tasting.
2008 Zaca Mesa, Viognier, Estate Bottled Santa Ynez Valley, California (around $20.00)
- Uncorking this Viognier from Zaca Mesa fills the nose with honeysuckle and sweet peaches. However, this wine is dry on the palate with notes of ripe apricot, lemon-lime, melon and lychee.
2008 V. Sattui, Anderson Valley Riesling, Napa Valley, California (around $20.00)
- Jasime and pears are the predominate flavors in this light, sweet Riesling from V. Sattui. Enjoy this varietal with opening appetizers or as one of the first selections at a wine tasting.
2006 Davis Family Vineyards, Russian River Chardonnay, Sonoma County, California (around $35.00)
- This award-winning Chardonnay from the Davis Family Vineyards is ripe with peaches and smoked up with toasted oak and spice.
2008 Rombauer Vineyards, Chardonnay, Carneros, California (around $35.00)
- A benchmark Chardonnay, this bottle of Rombauer gold bathes one's senses in oak, toast, and creamy butter along with deliciously intense pear, pineapple, and tropical fruits that epitomize what the perfect glass of Chardonnay should be. If you haven't indulged, take the plunge this holiday season and buy it.
Holiday Wine Tasting Party: Food
As wine tasting parties require a bit more organization than the usual fete, an easy menu featuring the classic "wine and cheese" is a great way to go.
Pick up a selection of gourmet cheese and crackers at a local store or shop online and have the food delivered to your door.
If you're in the mood to make some tasty cheese appetizers, try these recipes:
- Cranberry Rosemary Chutney on White Chocolate-Covered Brie
- Harvest Fruit and Nut Pesto on Cream Cheese and Leaf Shaped Toast
- Butterscotch Apple Cream Cheese Nut Ball
- Artichoke and Sun-dried Tomato Nut Ball